Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Anthrax + More Emerge Victorious at 2013 Battle of San Bernardino
For one night, the California city of San Bernardino was the center of the metal universe as Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Anthrax, Testament and Sabaton headed up the Battle of San Bernardino at the San Manuel Amphitheatre.
After early sets from Warbringer and Overkill at an offstage concourse, fans were treated to a highly entertaining set from main stage openers Sabaton. The Swedes proved to be the perfect opening act, rushing the stage in their matching camouflage fatigues while engaging the audience through such standout tracks as 'Carolus Rex,' 'Swedish Pagans' and 'Metal Crue.' Frontman Joakim Broden teased that the band may have been out of their element in the near 100 degree temps, but that didn't seem to matter as they kept the energy high throughout.
Iconic thrash metal outfit Testament got a bit of a late start, but didn't take long to get things rolling as the first major circle pit of the day began with 'Rise Up.' As the group performed against a stone wall backdrop, they rocked out to such favorites as 'Practice What You Preach,' 'Into the Pit,' 'Native Blood' and set closer '3 Days in Darkness' among others.
For Anthrax, the Friday the 13th performance was a key milestone. It was the two-year anniversary of their 'Worship Music' album and also the final performance supporting the disc. Given the occasion, Anthrax made sure not to disappoint and provided a set that left fans truly rocked. It's hard to go wrong with a set that opens with 'Caught in a Mosh' and 'Indians,' and the group paid homage to two fallen heroes donning flags featuring images of Dimebag Darrell and Ronnie James Dio during their set. They also paid tribute to AC/DC with their fist-pumping cover of 'T.N.T.,' before finishing out with 'I Am the Law' and 'Anti-Social.' Taking a bow and bringing out family at the end of their set, this truly was a celebration for the Anthrax crew.
Megadeth's performance added a visual assault to join their blistering set. They became the first band of the day to truly employ a light show as San Bernardino sun had finally set. Their set consisted of tried and true standards like 'Hangar 18,' 'Sweating Bullets,' and 'Symphony of Destruction' along with the 'Super Collider' favorite 'Kingmaker,' before wrapping up with 'Peace Sells.' After a breather, Megadeth returned for an encore, as Dave Mustaine was first serenaded by the crowd on his birthday. They finished out their performance with 'Holy Wars … The Punishment Due.'
If the night stopped there, it would still be a great metal show, but Iron Maiden proved why they were the show's headliners. Opening to video of ice caps melting, the band emerged with an impressive light and stage show filled with costume changes, multiple "Eddie" appearances and a hits-filled performance. 'Moonchild' opened the night, but the middle of their set featured the impressive string of 'The Trooper,' 'The Number of the Beast,' 'Phantom of the Opera,' 'Run to the Hills,' 'Wasted Years' and 'Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.'
From a theatrical standpoint, the ball of energy known as Bruce Dickinson donned his military uniform, slicked back his hair while wearing a leather jacket and bounded from platform to platform. Meanwhile, several "Eddie" set pieces (fortune teller, holding a beating heart and an actual live action "Eddie" in a soldier uniform chasing Janick Gers around the stage) added to the overall production. Iron Maiden finished out a great night of metal with an encore that included 'Aces High,' The Evil That Men Do' and 'Running Free.' If the 'Battle of San Bernardino' was truly a battle, Maiden would likely reign, but in all honesty this event was a celebration of metal more than anything.
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