Rude Awakening is the first official live album by American heavy metal legends Megadeth and was released on CD and DVD by Sanctuary Records on March 19, and April 9, 2002, respectively. All tracks were recorded at Rialto Theatre in Tucson, Arizona on November 16, 2001, and at the Web Theater in Phoenix, Arizona on November 17, 2001.
The album saw the line-up including Dave Mustaine (vocals, guitar), Dave Ellefson (bass), Al Pitrelli (guitar), and Jimmy DeGrasso (drums) for the last time appearing together on a Megadeth.
Rude Awakening might not be the ‘greatest Megadeth live album’, but it definitely includes live versions of certain songs that have become legendary. For instance, the guitar solos of Dave and Al on She-Wolf are like on no other Megadeth live album. Also, the back-to-back Hangar 18-to-Return to Hangar suite has never sounded better.
The arrangements to Symphony of Destruction are for once closer to the remix version with the alternate drumming of Jimmy DeGrasso, which is refreshing. The guitar solo’s are, again, different from the original and some parts of the song come unexpected. Definitely the most alternative version of the song presented by Megadeth. I truly love it!
Another highlight of the record is the most honest version of A tout Le Monde. Not that it is necessarily the best played version in the history of the band, but the feel it radiates is truly heartfelt – at least from where I sit. That said, the same is true for In My Darkest Hour.
Okay, so this is the deal: There are a handful of Megadeth album by now and many of them might sound better in regard to performance, mix, or stadium atmosphere, maybe even all of them. Nevertheless, Rude Awakening is my favourite live album by Megadeth because of it’s raw character. This specific Megadeth line-up might not have always been smiles and caresses with each other, but musically it was a strong entity with edges and freckles that exemplified the metal-ness of that time. I might change my mind somewhen, but for now this album has been the most played of all Megadeth live records… by far.