Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
The most anticipated concert on the east coast in quite some time took place Wednesday, September 13th in the most unlikely of places. The newly built Yankee Stadium located in The Bronx borough of New York City played host to an announced crowd of 41,454 rabid metal fans who turned out to see The Big 4 which consists of Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica. The concert was a one off show put on by the New York Yankees organization and for each band it was the first time the 4 legends of thrash had shared a stage on the east coast and, only the 2nd time the bands have played together in the United States. The Big 4 had previously played several large shows overseas in the spring of 2010 before rejoining on April 23rd 2001 for a performance in Indio, California. That concert marked the first time the 4 had ever played together in the U.S. In July of 2011 the 4 bands once again flew overseas to perform 5 shows that included a stop at the famous Knebworth Sonisphere festival in the UK.
Growing up with these 4 bands on my bedroom walls it was only natural that I immediately freak out when it was announced that they were touring together. Even though I would have to wait over a year before they reached a venue that was feasible for me to attend it was worth the wait. Though the concert was held mid week it did not deter fans who like myself had waited so long for something like this. Anticipation was high as the thousands of fans waiting to get into the stadium at 2pm slowly made their way through the gates as security was fairly heightened due to the nature of the event. As fans were still filling the massive stadium Anthrax took the stage at 4pm capping off the bands 3 day world wind sweep of the NY area as the Bronx based band was honored with September 14th being marked as “Anthrax Day”. The announcement corresponded with the band’s latest studio release “Worship Music”. Clad in pinstriped Anthrax jerseys the band opened with their newest single titled “Fight ‘Em Till you Can’t” which led into classic tracks such as “Madhouse”, Anti-Social” and closing out with “I Am The Law”. The band was tighter than ever and each member was at the top of their game. After speculation and announcements related to Megadeth’s participation or lack thereof in the concert Dave Mustain and the rest of Megadeth took to the stage and unleashed a variety of classic tunes sprinkled with newer tracks. The set also featured the song “Public Enemy #1” a song that will be featured on the bands upcoming November 1st release titled “13”. Mustain did make a statement to the crowd that despite being advised by Doctors not to play because of a neck injury requiring surgery the band was going to perform at their fullest. As promised the band ripped through songs like “Symphony of Destruction”, “Sweating Bullets” and “Peace Sells”. Slayer would take the stage next featuring Exodus guitarist Gary Holt who is still filling in for Jeff Hanneman who was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis back in February. The band delivered their take no prisoner’s attitude and provided very little banter to the almost capacity crowd who was worked into a frenzy by songs such as “South of Heaven”, “Raining Blood” and “Angel of Death” which closed out the bands set. Metallica would take the stage next and delivered the only way Metallica knows how.
The set featured something off almost all of the bands releases. Songs like “Fuel”, Sad but True” and “Cyanide” kicked off the night while setting the stage for songs like “Orion”, “One” and Yankee closer Mariano Rivera’s entrance song “Enter Sandman”. The crowd was a captive audience and upon demand recited every word Metallica front man James Hetfield requested. As with previous Big 4 shows all of the bands who played returned to the stage for a jam session/song. This nights show featured the Motorhead classic “Overkill” and despite a few noted absences by Tom Araya of Slayer and Dave Mustain of Megadeth the jam was phenomenal and was highlighted buy each drummer taking a turn behind Lars Ulrich’s kit to play a verse of the song. Before leaving the stage for the final time Metallica belted out their classic song “Seek and Destroy” which brought a close to a night made in metal history.
Being at the Big 4 will definitely be a highlight of my concert going experiences. The lineup alone is one that probably won’t ever be topped for me. Though I felt that some of the performances were a touch bland and scripted the show was still great. I think the Yankees really made a great move bringing the Big 4 to the NY area and despite fears of riots the organization hung in there and did not pull out of the event. The stadium proved to be a great venue for a concert as it provided a variety of amenities your standard venues just do not have. Surprisingly the sound of the bands playing in a venue not designed for music in my opinion sounded amazing. Though the talks of there ever being another Big 4 event are almost non-existent the event held on September 14th 2011 would be a great one top of the touring history of the Big 4.