Call me crazy if you will, but Tuesday night I ponied up my $18.00 to see the Big Four ( Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, & Metallica) in my local movie theater. The bands recorded their Sonisphere concert from Sofia, Bulgaria on June 22nd, and broadcast it in movie theaters across the United States. The bands are in talks to play together in the states, but it may not be until 2011 or 2012. Those talks and negotiations could easily stall, and I wanted my shot at seeing the bands play together! Obviously, I wasn’t going to spend the big bucks to fly overseas. After a scorching hot day at M3 on Saturday, getting to see four of the biggest Metal bands of all time in a reclining seat with air conditioning seemed like a pretty cool idea.
I guess they wanted to build up some anticipation for the live show, as the first half hour was taken up with a small round table discussion featuring Lars Ulrich, Scott Ian and Dave Mustaine. A variety of topics were covered but Dave Mustaine said it best that “Tonight we are making music history”!
Anthrax played first, and man they came out firing. I quickly came to realize that I have not ever seen Anthrax with Joey Belladonna. Joey Belladonna still sounds great singing those classic Anthrax tunes. The band covered all of the songs you would expect them to including (in no certain order) “Indians”, “Got the Time”, “Antisocial”, “Madhouse”, “Caught in A Mosh”, “Only”, “Metal Thrashing Mad”, & “I Am The Law”. Anthrax also did a pretty cool tribute to the late great Ronnie James Dio during the show. Joey Belladonna is the ageless wonder. He still pretty much looks exactly the same. Hopefully the band will record some new tunes with Joey. My only disappointment with the Anthrax set is, it was too short. They only played for 45 minutes at best.
Luckily, right after Anthrax was done, they immediately cut to Megadeth. No long delay between sets in this film. (Thank Goodness!)
With Megadeth’s set, the crowd began to swell at Sonisphere. As more and more people were pouring into the stadium, the sky cut loose, and it appeared to have poured a flood during their set. It was awesome to see Dave Ellefson up on the stage with Mustaine once more. I am glad the guys buried the hatchet. Over all Megadeth sounded great, although I thought the sound on Mustaine’s microphone was mixed too low at times. At least to me, it seemed like Dave ‘s vocals were hard to hear. It could have been the rain that was creating some issues. This wasn’t present throughout all of Megadeth’s set by any means, and it was only a small issue. I enjoyed Megadeth’s set quite a bit, and can’t wait to see them play again in the States.
I have to admit that I have never been a big Slayer fan, so seeing the band in a movie theater for the first time was pretty cool. I must admit, Slayer was pretty tight even if I didn’t know many of their songs. Much like Anthrax and Megadeth’s sets before them, Slayer’s set was fairly short, and it seemed like no time before the mighty Met hit the stage.
It hasn’t been that long since I have seen Metallica live. They played in Cincinnati last year, and were pretty awesome then. I don’t know if it was the energy of the packed house in Bulgaria, but Metallica seemed like they were on FIRE for this show. By the time Metallica took the stage, it appeared that there was well over fifty thousand people in the Sonisphere venue. It was a solid sea of metal fans, as far as the eye could see. Metallica had the biggest stage set up, including a huge video wall behind them, and plenty of pyro. None of that really mattered as the band sounded great. I wont even attempt to try to post the set list, but they played a great mix of songs from all stages of their career.
Towards the end of Metallica’s set, the brought out Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer to join them on stage to do their cover of the Diamondhead classic, “Am I Evil”. Man oh Man, even from a movie screen, it was AWESOME. I can’t even begin to say how cool it was to see Dave Mustaine performing on the same stage as Metallica after all of these years. Having all of those incredible guitar players on the stage at the same time was unbelievable. The clip below doesn’t really do it justice..
The entire show was over four hours long, and well worth the price of admission. Hearing this show in my theater’s surround sound and big screen was truly a cool experience. On a side note, my local theater catered to the Metal heads that packed the theater by bringing a portable beer both, to make the concert experience a little more authentic. It made me wonder, could this be a new way to experience concerts in the future? I would gladly pay my 20 bucks in my local theater if it meant getting to see some live shows like the Download festival, Sonisphere, Hard Rock Hell, or some of the bigger music festivals that happen over seas. Food for thought!!
Overall, The Big Four was a great experience even if it was in a movie theater. I hope they do more shows like this in the future!