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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Show Review 4/23/2011: Big Four (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth & Anthrax) in Indio, CA

                Before you ask, yes I am aware of the date in the pictures being a day off. The camera is stupid and I was too lazy to fix it.
By far the biggest concert I’ve ever attended. And believe me when I say this, I’ve been to a lot. In the ticket line ahead of me, there were people from Japan that came out here for this event! That being said, I was forced to miss Anthrax’s set entirely due to a mix up with my tickets. After walking around the entire venue twice (before I actually got in) I watched as Dave Mustaine finished up “Sweating Bullets.” I got back some of my energy when they started playing “Head Crusher” but it didn’t kick in till my favorite Megadeth track “Symphony Of Destruction” was playing. By this time I downed the Red Bull I was sipping on and watched, transfixed at the perfection of how well they played. When “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due” was over the set abruptly ended with a final bow of the band. During the interlude I struggled to meet with my confidant’s that I was supposed to work with, but apparently they somehow thought I had VIP passes (which I didn’t) and tried to meet up with me there.

                Now, I’ve seen Slayer before. Back in 2007 when they toured with Unearth in Sacramento, CA. That went down as one of the all time wildest shows I’ve attended. Unfortunately, that same energy was not really intact here. Granted, there were some decent sized pits and people going nuts. But there wasn’t any of the blood-letting I witnessed years ago, at least from the vantage point where I observed the band and crowd. They blasted through “World Painted Blood” and “Hate Worldwide” without any warning, coming to a small rest before yelling out “WAR ENSEMBLE!!!!” The next three songs after that were a blur to me until Kerry King struck the all too familiar chords for “Dead Skin Mask.” The audience responded very well to “Dead Skin Mask” and caused a whole bunch of people jumping and moving around. Also, I suppose this was the perfect time to get the throwing up out of the way as a lot of people made beelines to the nearest garbage cans and coughed up delicious burgers from the Grill Em All truck and beer. Again the blur set in until the end of “Snuff”, with the band leaving the stage. I thought their set was all over until Jeff Hanneman  (!!!!!!) came out and played “South Of Heaven” and “Angel Of Death” before a well pleased audience roaring with approval. He played extremely well, despite his recent illness with necrotizing bacteria caused by a spider bite. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t play “Bloodline” but it’s ok J.

                I have saved all of my energy for this. Although anyone can say what they want about Metallica and their diva like attitude they’ve known to have, It’s still fucking Metallica! And to be able to witness them playing on a historic night like this as my first time, I was thrilled. “Creeping Death” and “For Whom The Bells Toll” were played right through without much interruption, then the crowd went apeshit for “Fuel.”

                Metallica was the only band to have any sort of pyrotechnics on their set. After fire was blown in the air, some kids near the front of the stage decided to start a fire using discarded beer cups and used water bottles and mosh around it. Being the kind of guy I am, I got into the middle of it and helped keep the fire going for the rest of the night. Who am I to not help towards a worthy cause? Another 4 songs were played (“Ride The Lightning,” “Fade To Black,” “Cyanide,” and “All Nightmare Long”) when James Hetfield asked the audience to help him out singing a few songs. That’s when “Sad But True” was started and the entire audience pitched in for that and “Welcome Home (Sanitarium).” I never witnessed how well the audience actually responded to singing the lyrics as well as they did. It was movie perfect (hears to hoping this concert will end up on DVD sometime). Songs such as “One,” “Blackened,” and “Master Of Puppets” went off without a hitch. Then, David Ellefson (Megadeth), Frank Bello (Anthrax), and Kerry King (Slayer) all joined Metallica on stage to perform a King Diamond cover “Am I Evil?” Such teamwork was unthinkable just about 5 years ago because of the beef going on between the bands at one point or another. “Seek And Destroy” and “Hit The Lights” were the last 2 songs of the night until Metallica took the final bow and Lars Ulrich said “I can’t think of any better place to play this first Big Four show!” to the audience’s approval. A night that will remain with me for the rest of my life. If you weren’t there, you definitely missed out big time.

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