MARTY FRIEDMAN On MEGADETH’s 2023 Budokan Performance: “It Was Wonderful Closure For Me And DAVE, And The Band Sounded Better Than It Did When I Was In It”

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Megadeth enthusiasts received a significant gift last year, with the legendary thrash band reuniting with their renowned classic-era guitarist, Marty Friedman, for two spectacular shows. Both the Budokan performance in Japan and the Wacken Open Air in Germany were monumental, but for Friedman, the Budokan show held a special place in his heart. In a recent chat with “THAT Rocks!” he revealed why this venue meant so much to him.

Having lived and worked in Japan for over twenty years, Friedman felt a unique connection to the iconic Tokyo venue. He explained that playing Budokan was a significant milestone for any rock artist. Reflecting on his departure from Megadeth, Friedman emphasized that there was no animosity between him and his former bandmates, but missing the chance to play Budokan together always felt like “unfinished business” until last year.

“That was just a wonderful bit of closure for me and Dave. We’ve always been on good terms, even since I left the band, there’s absolutely no bad blood between us. But the one bit of unfinished business we had was, when I was in the band, we had an opportunity to play Budokan, and it never happened. That was the one tiny thing that was left between myself and Dave,” he elaborated (as transcribed by Ultimate Guitar).

Friedman elaborated on the significance of the Budokan performance: “We’re both big rock fans. ‘Live at Budokan’ is a dream when you’re in a band; all the bands we’re fans of were playing at the Budokan — Cheap Trick, KISSDave and I really had that seed in our hearts ever since we were kids. And since we couldn’t make it happen when we first had been booked for Budokan, that little thing was always left.”

The reunion in 2023 carried the importance of a heartfelt gesture for Friedman, who described it as nostalgically comfortable yet enhanced by the present band’s chemistry.

“And so, when Dave asked me to play with him in 2023, I felt that was a very nice gesture on his part. I jumped at the chance to do it, I loved it. Playing together was as comfortable as it was back then. And, to be honest, I think the band sounded better than it did when I was originally in it. I don’t know if it was because there was three guitars on stage instead of two, but it just sounded wonderful. And it was kind of also a love letter to the Japanese fans who wanted to see this moment as much as the two of us.”

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