Opening day today. Baseball. College baseball.

Purists might turn up their nose at the game, with schools using cost-cutting measures like metal bats and pretty much only playing teams in the same region until tournament time. However, these people have to realize that baseball is the only sport in which colleges compete directly with the professional leagues in obtaining players.

Here in Bootleg City, our community college has a pretty good team. (Go, Fighting Acetates!) Like any self-respecting school, it pays for its players — but only through scholarships, of course (wink wink) — and over the years we’ve had some pretty good athletes who’ve gone on to greater glory in the pros.

(Recognize the guy on the left? He pitched for Bootleg City Community College for a few years. Cost a fortune, but totally worth it.)

To add to the magic, today will be the first game in the Acetates’ new stadium, a 100,000-seat monster with hundreds of luxury boxes, and each seat comes equipped with its own Internet-connected monitor so fans can watch replays at their convenience and even check their Twitter feeds.

Jerry Jones, you’re an amateur. (I thought this city was broke. Nobody tells me anything! —Mayor Cass, via prison)

For us baseball fans, opening day is a special time. Green grass, red-brick clay, hot dogs, and adult beverages. Peace on earth seems possible, and for a few hours all is right with the world.

And baseball ties into this week’s concert how, you ask? Simple — only on opening day can miraculous events occur, such as the one witnessed by myself, a semi-recognizable ’80s glam-metal guitarist, and Megadeth.

In Bootleg City we have several thousand ROIOs, or recordings of independent origin (wink wink again), stored in the archives, an underground climate-controlled vault with reinforced concrete. It’s a good system: any citizen can bring their MP3 player to the library and “check out” what they want.

And so, last Monday, seeing as how I was in the mood to get the blood flowing for the festivities to come, I put Megadeth’s May 29, 1995, gig from Kanagawa Kenmin Hall in Yokohama, Japan, on my iPod. Little did I know that the universe was about to bestow something special on me: a companion piece to my boot-listening pleasure appeared out of nowhere, a testament to this week’s serenity.

See, earlier this week Popdose contributor Chris Holmes took time out from his lucrative career as a swimming-pool-based motivational speaker to write part one of a Megadeth career overview. He does a kick-ass job covering Megadeth’s life span up through ’95, so this Yokohama concert pretty much ties a bow on where part one ends. Dude, it’s like he somehow knew what I was listening to! Sometimes the universe is in harmony and ends up making everybody happy.

A few notes about the show: This being a Megadeth concert, Dave Mustaine is front, center, and all points in between. Then again, you can’t really argue with his approach — he’s the group’s frontman, after all. Besides Mustaine, the other founding member of Megadeth, bassist Dave Ellefson, is here, as is drummer Nick Menza, and the Yokohama show features one of the greatest guitarists ever in the realm of metal, Marty Friedman.

“Angry Again,” from 1993’s Last Action Hero soundtrack, gets a workout here, and I’m surprised Mr. Holmes didn’t mention it in his Megadeth guide when talking about their Hidden Treasures EP. As far as I can ascertain, it was the most popular of all the soundtrack contributions the band recorded in the ’90s.

“Tornado of Souls” showcases Friedman’s patented reverse string picking; one can assume he really liked this song. He isn’t credited as one of its writers, but he later covered “Tornado” on his 2008 solo album Future Addict.

Ellefson’s killer bass solo that opens “Train of Consequences” gets a lot of help from the crowd. Japanese audiences are the best, especially on bootleg fan recordings like this one: they’re quiet when they need to be, and they sing along only when requested, unlike American crowds, who never seem to shut the fuck up. Plus, they clap on the beat, as opposed to UK crowds, who annoyingly find the backbeat oh-so-interesting.

Another quick note: The usual set closer at the time, a controversial cover of the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the U.K.,” gets a little twist, with Mustaine and the boys breaking out “Crown of Worms” in the middle. Originally released as the B-side of the “Train of Consequences” single — it later appeared as a bonus track on the remastered reissue of Countdown to Extinction (1992) — the rare “Crown” makes its live debut in Yokohama, almost as if it were a gift being handed to the crowd. It’s kinda obvious they aren’t too familiar with the tune, but it’s also kinda obvious they don’t give a crap.

Skin o’ My Teeth
Hangar 18
Wake Up Dead
Reckoning Day
This Was My Life
Countdown to Extinction
Angry Again
Foreclosure of a Dream
A Tout le Monde
In My Darkest Hour
Train of Consequences
The Killing Road
Tornado of Souls
Holy Wars … the Punishment Due
Sweating Bullets
Symphony of Destruction
Peace Sells
Crown of Worms
Anarchy in the U.K.

Bonus time!!!!

In his Megadeth guide Mr. Holmes brought up Metallica’s 1982 demo tape No Life ‘Til Leather, which includes the Megadeth classic “Mechanix” in its first incarnation, then titled “The Mechanics,” with Mustaine singing lead. The original lineup of Metallica as well as their fans sold this demo all by themselves. (Cliff Burton wasn’t in the picture yet — Ron McGovney was the band’s bassist.)

The above photo is the cover of the No Life cassette. (Kids, ask your parents what a cassette was.) It makes you wonder what this version of Metallica would have done, although two huge egos in the band was more than enough. The third — Mustaine’s — became expendable.

Hit the Lights
The Mechanics
Seek & Destroy
Metal Militia
Jump in the Fire
Phantom Lord

And for a double bonus, here’s “The Mechanix” (final spelling, if not the final title) performed live by the No Life ‘Til Leather lineup at the Stone in San Francisco on August 9, 1982. Mustaine screams his throat out, then kicks ass with a solo. The sound quality is iffy, but hey, it’s a historical document. Do you bitch that the Constitution is written on paper that’s yellowed over the years? Of course not.

The Mechanix [Live: 8/9/82]

College baseball’s opening day. Two like minds independently reach across the ether and jam to some Megadeth. It can be a special time. Enjoy.

Mr. Holmes, I’m looking forward to your opinion of “Breadline,” not to mention a reunion with Blackie. The world cries out for “The Headless Children Volume 2.”

Play ball!