The Big 4 ‘Bring the Noise’ in the Bronx
It was the East Coast’s turn to witness the thrash-metal legends playing the Big 4 show, as Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica took the stage at Yankees Stadium in the Bronx for an astounding seven hour show.
As an army of speakers towered over fans at first base, third base and home plate, the massive stage took over most of the outfield as New Yorkers Anthrax had a warm welcome from fans. The band earlier had an honorable welcome as Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. dubbed Sept. 14 as 'Anthrax Day.'
The band members all donned Anthrax baseball jerseys with Yankees pinstripes to represent their home team. They repeatedly asked fans “Are we ready for a war dance?” and they definitely got what they asked for. It was difficult to decipher where the first mosh pit began and where the other one ended, at one point there were four mosh pits only about five feet away from each other.
Anthrax opened up with ‘Fight ‘Em Till You Can’t’ from their new album ‘Worship Music.’ (Check out Loudwire's review of the album here.) The band also performed classics such as ‘Metal Thrashing Mad’ and ‘Indians,’ during which frontman Joey Belladonna traded in the NYPD hat he was wearing for a Native American head piece.
Guitarist Scott Ian teased fans that there was a possibility for the Big 4 concert to take place at Citi Field, home of the Mets, and then humorously stated, “You can’t put the Big 4 where a losing team plays.” Anthrax ended their set with ‘I Am the Law’ and gracefully walked off stage to ‘New York, New York’ sung by Frank Sinatra.
As a side note, former Yankees pitcher Randy Johnson was on the field for a very different reason. The renowned pitcher turned photographer was in the photo pit shooting all of the bands.
Next up were the West Coasters of Megadeth, who opened up with ‘Trust.’ The band also played classics like ‘Hangar 18,’ ‘Head Crusher’ and fans were getting their French on as they sang ‘A tout Le Monde.' They also performed ‘Public Enemy No. 1,' the first single from their upcoming album 'TH1RT3EN,' which is due out in November.
Their performance as a whole was somewhat mellow as frontman Dave Mustaine told fans, “I shouldn’t be playing right now, but I’m doing this for you.’ There was brief buzz days before the show that the Big 4 might turn into the Big 3, since there was some uncertainty if Megadeth could play the massive show for fans because of a neck injury Mustaine suffered.
Mustaine is due in the hospital for neck surgery, but luckily Megadeth were able to be a part of the experience. One of the highlights of the set was one loyal fan in a wheelchair was being hoisted up by fellow Megadeth fans in an attempt to crowed surf.
At this point in the show, there were at least five separate mosh pits going. Megadeth closed the set with their 1990 classic ‘Holy Wars…The Punishmen Due’ and humbly thanked fans.
More moshers then invaded the general admission area as they knew Slayer were set to play. When the band did hit the stage, they hit it loud as they opened up with 2001’s ‘Disciple.’
Fans who had seats did not utilize them, and as mosh pits grew in size, frontman Tom Araya told fans, “I feel the love.” Slayer performed a wide array of tracks such as ‘Raining Blood,’ ‘Hate Worldwide’ and ‘South of Heaven,’ among others.
The band played with much force, it seemed as if Slayer’s set could be heard through all five boroughs. Stickman Dave Lombardo was a sight to see as he performed with so much intensity to the point of exhaustion.
The last song of their set was the classic ‘Angel of Death.' As Slayer left their fans with bleeding ears, sweaty foreheads and (possibly) broken bones, they rocked the stadium as the loudest band of the night so far.
Finally, the moment many fans had been waiting for arrived, as Metallica took the stage by opening with ‘Creeping Death’ followed by an explosive version (literally) of ‘Fuel’ which included some serious pyro.
Drummer Lars Ulrich was animated and amusing to watch as always; guitarist Kirk Hammett used and abused his wah wah pedal (in a good way); and bassist Robert Trujillo tied with Tom Arraya for loudest bass playing of the night. Frontman James Hetfield told fans that Metallica have been “alive and well for 30 years” and that this was just “the first 30.”
In the crowd of over 40,000 people, everyone was on their feet, head banging with fists in the air from the front row of general admission to the last row in the top mezzanine. Metallica dedicated “Sad But True” to all of the bands who rocked the stage that night and there was a heartwarming tribute to their late bassist Cliff Burton. There was also an abundance of fireworks that introduced ‘One’ and if that wasn’t enough there was a full on laser light while they performed ‘Blackened.’
At this point in the night there was no way to keep track of mosh pits. Metallica’s set was almost complete with echoing performances of ‘Master of Puppets’ and ’Enter Sandman’ and tens of thousands of voices serving as back up vocals. Hetfield was right when he told the crowd “There’s a lot of metal fans here tonight, it’s good to be with family.”
Metallica’s encore included Motorhead’s ‘Overkill’ which produced a metal frenzy onstage as members of Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth joined 'Tallica to rock out to the influential tune. ‘Battery’ was also part of the encore but it was their 1983 epic tune ‘Seek and Destroy’ that was the final song of the night. Metallica turned on the house lights and paid homage to the fans on what was a night metal heads will never forget.