Watch fan-shot footage of Marty Friedman performing live with Megadeth onstage at the Budokan

Marty Friedman, Dave Mustaine and Kiko Loureiro, who all joined each other onstage on 27 February for a special Megadeth one-off set
(Image credit: Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic; Joe Branston/Future)

Fan-shot footage has emerged of a truly historic moment for metal guitar when former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman rejoined Dave Mustaine and co for one night only in Tokyo. 

Despite leaving the band back in 1999, Friedman effortlessly rolled back the years, with Megadeth’s former shredder-in-chief tearing through a trio of classic tracks.

The simple electric guitar arithmetic of Mustaine, Friedman and current Megadeth lead guitarist Kiko Loureiro is enough to blow the minds of anyone whose appreciation of metal has been in any way calibrated by the studio recordings of Big Four alumni Megadeth.

Megadeth guitar lesson

After all this time, Friedman back onstage with Megadeth at Tokyo’s legendary Budokan did not disappoint, even if the lineup only played three songs together. 

Megadeth had already played a few tracks from Friedman’s time with the band before he joined in on the fun. After the likes of Rust In Piece-era classic Hangar 18, Angry Again from the Last Action Hero soundtrack, and Sweating Bullets peppered a set drawing widely from the catalogue, Friedman stepped onstage for the first performance of Countdown To Extinction in nearly a decade. 

Ordinarily, you might find Friedman onstage with his Jackson MF-1 signature guitar but here he left the single-cut at home in favour of a Jackson Kelly, the Floyd-equipped EX-style he favoured in Megadeth’s heyday at the dawn of the ‘90s.

Megadeth and Friedman then barrelled through a triumphant Tornado Of Souls, before finishing up with the band’s calling card, Symphony Of Destruction. 

This was a long-rumoured performance, confirmed by Megadeth and Friedman only two weeks before the performance, which took place on Saturday 27 February and was livestreamed for an international audience.

“It has been a really long time since I have been on a stage with Dave Mustaine, making music, and we have both taken severely different paths in our lives since then,” Friedman said on Instagram. “But that doesn’t change the fact that I am so extremely proud of the part that I have played in Megadeth’s history, Megadeth’s legacy, and I am also very, very proud of the achievements that the band has had in my absence. But right now, at this moment, I just feel immense joy and serious adrenaline to look forward to playing together at this very, very cool place.” 

When the news broke, Dave Mustaine described it as being like “a gigantic birthday and Christmas present”, telling Rolling Stone that Friedman and Loureiro were “geniuses”, and looking back on the moment when Friedman joined the band, he confessed that, initially he wasn’t so sure that Friedman had what it took.

“I know this sounds really stupid,” said Mustaine. “I thought he was like a glam guy or a rock guy; I didn’t think he was a metal guy. So one day, I was in our manager’s office, and we put the CD in and I went, ‘This guy wants to play with us? Fuck, call him up.’ And that was the beginning of a really magic period in heavy metal music.”

Friedman’s time in Megadeth could not have started any better, recording stone-cold thrash classic Rust In Peace in 1990, following it with the pristine aggro and box-office production of Countdown To Extinction. Youthanasia also scored Megadeth some hits, with Friedman going on to record Cryptic Writings in 1997 and Risk in 1999. 

After management persuaded Mustaine to rerecord one of Friedman’s leads on Risk’s Breadline, it was time to move on. Friedman moved to Japan soon after and has kept himself busy with his solo work, and TV appearances. He even played on Loureiro’s 2020 solo album, Open Source, lending his ridiculous chops to Imminent Threat.

Maybe one day Friedman’s Megadeth return will see a DVD/Blu-ray release for posterity. In the meantime, you can watch the full set, plus extras, on demand via Dreamstage. It’s £14 a ticket, and the on-demand stream closes at 7.30am UK time on Thursday 2 March.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.