"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Report

The Big Four Rock by Satellite; Are as Good as Rumored

Photo of Metallica

Band Photo: Metallica (?)

Thrash veterans Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica have never before all played the same show or festival. This isn’t too surprising, as that is a lot of stars and egos to get into one place at one time – someone has to play first, and only one band can play last. But finally in summer of 2010 the Sonisphere Festivals wrangled all four together to play seven dates in Europe. Because there are no North American dates the bands arranged to have the show in Sofia, Bulgaria beamed by satellite to hundred of theaters back home. And while there are plenty of ways to nitpick the negatives, the end result is a hugely entertaining concert via video.

Anthrax kicked the show off, easily playing the part of happy puppy bounding about, full of energy and ready to play. Their energy was effusive and constant, and fan favorites like “Antisocial,” “Madhouse” and “I Am The Law” were well received by the already large crowd. Newly re-re-reunited vocalist Joey Belladona didn’t have much to say between songs, although he did manage to have a chat about the nice weather amid random expletives. The highlight of the set was easily “Indians” which included a “Heaven and Hell” cover during the bridge; the band was heartfelt for the Dio tribute, and Belladona did a surprisingly good Dio imitation. By the end of the 45-minute set, it was clear that Anthrax didn’t want to leave the stage.

Megadeth followed and after a simple “here we go” from Dave Mustaine they ripped off “Holy Wars” like a bandaid from a fatal wound. Midway through the song a pretty deep rain started despite Belladona’s earlier comments, which a moderately cynical Mustaine wouldn’t have been shocked at – “it always rains on Megadeth” – but he was in a good mood today, even breaking a genuine smile during his final farewell. Megadeth was easily the most businesslike of any of the four bands, polished and clean, with each soloist featured alone at the front of the stage and good spacing kept between players during the verses and choruses. “Sweating Bullets” was full of Mustaine’s sneer, and new sidekick Chris Broderick tore the solo on “Symphony of Destruction” completely open. The return of David Ellefson was a particular highlight, as was the previously mentioned true enjoyment by Mustaine.

Slayer was all business. Restricted to a 45 minute set (like everyone but Metallica, who got 75 minutes), they plowed straight ahead the whole time. Set opener “World Painted Blood” played really well live, and classics “South of Heaven” and “Raining Blood” got huge mosh pits roiling and rolling. Easily the most intense of the four bands, Slayer was the expected avalanche of brutality, with their speed and chords bordering on tremolo at times. Kerry King even wore the huge porcupine-spiked gauntlet for a while, adding to the brutal effect. Hanneman and King were always “this close” to completely flying off the rails and Dave Lombardo was a whirlwind on the skins. Ultimately with a straightforward set like this there isn’t much to say except “well done” and “ouch.”

Metallica closed the show and they were so jacked up set opener “Creeping Death” seemed to fly by in just seconds. Finding a better groove during “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” old favorites flowed from there: “Harvester of Sorrow,” “One,” “Enter Sandman” and “Master of Puppets” were competent and heavy, accompanied by pyrotechnics and fireworks when appropriate. The standout performance here was surprisingly from Lars – he pounded his kit with such ferocity and excitement that he was close to knocking the whole thing over numerous times, but he dominated a tentative Hammett and somewhat sloppy Hetfield.

Hetfield was easily the most effusive of any of the band leaders, and Metallica’s more epic songs and pyrotechnics at night made their set a much larger deal than any of the other bands’ sets. Accordingly Metallica acted like they were the biggest of the four, which they probably are. While the crowd in Sofia eagerly bopped and danced along to Anthrax’s fun grooves, played tons of reverent air guitar with Megadeth and snapped their necks head banging with Slayer, they absolutely and completely lost their shit while Metallica was on. The minute those four guys (horsemen?) stepped onstage every arm, leg, hand, foot, dick and boob was in the air, horns high.

The video show itself had a few surprises. Between Slayer and Metallica there was a ten minute Dio tribute that consisted of various band members telling stories and memories of and about Dio; it too was heartfelt, and some of the comments were quite moving. The break in Metallica’s set when all the bands came back our and jammed on “Am I Evil” (amid endless hugs and fist pounds) was phenomenal. Those chords never sounded so heavy as when Ian, Caggiano, Broderick, Mustaine, Hanneman, King, Hetfield and Hammett all fired away in unison. Easily the highlight of the entire show, it would have been great had they played more together, but Hetfield eventually shooed them off so Metallica could finish their business.

It would be easy to critique the show for its faults: why would all the bands not finish the entire show together, instead letting Metallica close it out on a stage that seemed suddenly empty? Why did three all-time bands get only 45 minutes to play? Why is Hetfield so nice now? (The Black-era surly and sarcastic Hetfield was much more entertaining.) Why do Testament and Exodus always get left out? Why did the video broadcast not include Metallica’s entire set? (“Fuel,” “That Was Just Your Life,” “Sad But True,” “Welcome Home (Sanitarium),” “All Nightmare Long” and “Blackened” were all left out.)

But in the end this wasn’t a thrash documentary, an actual concert, an academic study or even an old-boys-club love-in. From the video of the pre-concert setup that was shown while the theater audience walked in to the end credits, this was a celebration of heavy metal music as played by four of the best heavy metal bands ever, and it absolutely, truly, and utterly rocked.

Sonisphere Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria Set Lists, June 22, 2010

Anthrax
1. Caught in a Mosh
2. Got the Time (Joe Jackson cover)
3. Madhouse
4. Be All, End All
5. Antisocial (Trust cover)
6. Indians
7. Medusa
8. Only
9. Metal Thrashing Mad
10. I Am The Law


Megadeth
1. Holy Wars
2. Hangar 18
3. Head Crusher
4. In My Darkest Hour
5. Skin of My Teeth
6. Hook In Mouth
7. Sweating Bullets
8. Symphony of Destruction
9. Peace Sells…

Slayer
1. World Painted Blood
2. War Ensemble
3. Hate Worldwide
4. Seasons in the Abyss
5. Angel of Death
6. Mandatory Suicide
7. Chemical Warfare
8. South of Heaven
9. Raining Blood


Metallica
1. Creeping Death
2. For Whom the Bell Tolls
3. Harvester of Sorrow
4. Fade to Black
5. Cyanide
6. One
7. Master of Puppets
8. Nothing Else Matters
9. Enter Sandman
10. Am I Evil? (featuring Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer)
11. Hit the Lights
12. Seek And Destroy

bloodofheroes's avatar

Joel is indebted to his high school friend Joe B. for giving him "Kill 'Em All," "Ride the Lightning" and "Master of Puppets" for his 16th birthday. Now that he works from home for his day job at a small ad agency in Chicago, he can play those albums, and Meshuggah, as much as he wants.

What's Next?

Please share this article if you found it interesting.


31 Comments on "The Big Four Rock by Satellite"

Post your comments and discuss the article below! (no login required)

Anonymous Reader
1. DR from CA writes:

After waiting three decades for this I wasn't disappointed. Hopefully the eventual DVD will include the complete sets. The only downside was Mustaine's voice. It had everyone talking outside after the show ended. I really can't describe what was going on with those falsettos; if you saw it you know what I'm referring to. Hopefully it can be blamed on a cold or just a really bad night. I know age can wreak havoc on a guy's voice, but if this is the case it's time to bow out gracefully. Megadeath is one of my favorite bands and their songs bring back some great memories, but the vocals at Sofia made watching uncomfortable. That said, I'd still recommend this show to anyone and I'll be there in person if this happens again on American soil.

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 3:44 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

2. Cynic writes:

Thanks for the review, very interesting occasion.

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 4:26 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
qaq0's avatar

Member

3. qaq0 writes:

My theator was crazy a bunch of us were moshing out at the front and smoking weed and drinking!

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 4:34 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
4. Rik writes:

I was at the show in Bulgeria and it was truely amazing. I even got to watch Anthrax from the side of the stage.
Everything got recorded and is coming out on DVD at some point.

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 6:26 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
5. PBT writes:

I was there and it was a great show!
I just want to point that there is some inaccuracy in this review! When "Am I Evil" was played, Kerry King, Jeff Hanneman, and Tom Araya weren't on the stage, but only Dave Lombardo!
After the song was finished, Tom Araya and Jeff Hanneman appeared, but again Kerry King was missing...

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 7:29 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
6. Scotl writes:

How many people showed up in Bulgeria?

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 8:47 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

Member

7. brandedcfh420 writes:

"Why do Testament and Exodus always get left out?"

Because we all know they are better than Anthrax, and if they were there they would have blown Metallica off the stage!!

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 8:52 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
8. hahaha writes:

@brandedcfh420 i think you're the only one who knows that...roflmao....

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 9:08 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
9. Ivan writes:

Yesterday was massive, cant wait fot Rammstein today....rock on ppl...

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 9:37 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

10. hellrat writes:

nah #8....branded ain't the only one with the knowledge....

its a pretty easy to ascertain FACT of life....

ever seen TESTAMENT live? i think you haven't?

check it out

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 9:45 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
11. RTB writes:

They re doing a state tour next year...they gotta...RAT what up my brother...ive been drinking again, world cup, more bad posts to come...GO US F*CKIN A

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 11:09 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

12. hellrat writes:

actually in SB for a few days RT....its been good in the NM

had a record day last friday....found 54 bighorn rams, two of which are real pigs!!

found a dead head as well, but was just a little 4 year old...looks like a lion nailed him right at treeline

get that damn email goin brother!!!

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 11:25 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
13. Juliet writes:

I actually liked Megadeth's set best... I did notice a few moments when Mustaine's voice wasn't great, but I noticed that with every singer on the lineup aside from Araya. "Symphony of Destruction" was effing awesome and easily the best song of any band who played that night. The camera guys for this set did a great job of closeups during guitar solos so one could really see the craft in action. Just being there for Deth's set was totally worth the $22.50.

Anthrax was great, showing their usual down-to-earth Metalness by going first. I'm sure those guys have egos, but compared to Metallica, they're like the Dalai Lama. My favorite of their set was "Madhouse," though it made me a little sad because it was my one of now-deceased cat's favorite songs. (Yes, I had a cat who liked Anthrax.) As usual, they were also the most fun, too.

Slayer always scares me just a little, but they tore threw most of their set. I still can't believe how totally heavy they are even after all these years. "South of Heaven" was brilliant.

Metallica... Heavy sigh. To me, the fact that Metallica=Meh has been in force since the mid-1990's. I hate the way the band rushed through their oldest hits, though most of the other folks at the theatre were digging it. Their best song, hands down, was "Cyanide." I was actually glad I got to see & hear it, because it sort of redeemed their whole abysmally boring (at least to me) set. And, of course, if I'd left early, which I really wanted to do, I would've missed the massive "Am I Evil?"-fest. I, too, noticed most of Slayer's absence, especially since it would've been great to have all four lead singers sing a verse of the song. I really love Araya's singing style, so that was a fairly big bummer to me.

On the whole, I'm super glad I went, especially since the first 3 bands were so great. I promised the almost-13-year old who came with me that he was going to this show with me if it ever came to a town near us, whether he wanted to or not. He had two words: "Awe. Some."

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 11:33 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
14. RTB writes:

RAT...after saturday, start firing away....
82 min... stress 0-0...f*ck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 11:42 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
bloodofheroes's avatar

Senior Reviewer

15. bloodofheroes writes:

PBT - Good catch on the lack of Hanneman, Araya and King during "Am I Evil?" - it was tough to pick up on the video with so many folks out there. At any rate, the song still rocked, but I guess it could have been even heavier.

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 12:30 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

Member

16. brandedcfh420 writes:

$22.50?!?!?!?! I thought the $18 I paid was insane!

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 12:41 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
17. Groghunter writes:

Ya, if anybody didn't already know this, Dave's voice is GONE. watch any concert footage from the last 3 years or so as proof.

Also, i agree with a few of the other posts, instead of replacing the 'thrax tho, we need a "Big 6" tour...

but it'll never happen, cause Metallica's afraid of Testament. they should be though, best live shows i've ever been to.

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 12:57 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
bloodofheroes's avatar

Senior Reviewer

18. bloodofheroes writes:

agreed, I saw Testament open for Priest and Motorhead a couple summers ago and they stole the show

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 1:46 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
19. Johnny Crobs writes:

Anthrax did not play Medusa or Only on the broadcast I saw. I was really hoping to hear Joey sing Only.

I thought it was really classless of Slayer (except for Dave Lombardo) to skip out on the Am I Evil jam. This "Hell with you, we do what we want" attitude was inappropriate for a venue like this. EVERY metal fan would have appreciated it, even those who don't like Slayer.

Megadeth was hands down the best despite Dave's high notes sounding low and nasal. Anthrax by far the most fun. Their Heaven and Hell interlude was top notch. Slayer was Slayer, which means nothing new from the past 20 years ago. At least Tom Araya was having fun. Metallica performed well, but it just does not do it for me live anymore. They should have ended with Am I Evil, and not hog the final minutes.

Oh, and did Jeff Hanneman eat Crowbar or something? He is huge!!!

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 2:19 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

Member

20. brandedcfh420 writes:

""Bay Area Thrash veterans Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica have never before all played the same show or festival.""


Anthrax is not from the Bay area!!!!!!!!!

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 2:22 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
21. Groghunter writes:

@Johnny Crobs: You think that's bad, Max Cavalera is starting to look like Dino Cazares.

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 2:55 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

Member

22. brandedcfh420 writes:

Yea, Jeff has ballooned out hasn't he. He also looked like he was p***ed about something.

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 3:20 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
dgoud's avatar

Member

23. dgoud writes:

This was not The Big Four but mainly a Metallica show with 3 opening bands. That is probably why Slayer's guys (mainly King and Hanneman) seemed p***ed off and decided not to participate in any mixed interviews with the 3 others and jam on Am I evil. Not cool of them at all.

Mustaine's voice sounded girly at certain levels.

Metallica had nothing to prove. They should have shared some of their budget (sound, stage, effects) with the others to make it equal. That also goes to show that it is a power trip in the end.

Anthrax was the best in the end because of overall attitude. If they would have had the same quality of sound they would have stolen the show.

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 4:59 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

24. Cynic writes:

Well, it's also possible that the Sonisphere organisers arranged the schedules and wouldn't let the bands play any different times in order to increase sales. Metallica could have refused, but no doubt it was a management decision.

# Jun 23, 2010 @ 7:43 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
xsrg13's avatar

Member

25. xsrg13 writes:

when slayer starting playing seat cushions started flying. it was a killer night. never thought a movie concert would be so great at the movies. Metal at the Theaters, Best idea. cant wait to be their in person when they bring this tour to the states. hopefully

# Jun 24, 2010 @ 12:59 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
26. PuckettJp2 writes:

i loved that they dedicated this show to Ronnie James Dio. that really made it all the better

i still miss u Ronnie \m/ RIP

# Jun 25, 2010 @ 12:58 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Toddinav's avatar

Member

27. Toddinav writes:

The Big FIVE!!! Pantera played a big roll in getting Hardcore Metal to the mainstreem!! R.I.P Dimebag!

# Jun 25, 2010 @ 11:54 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
28. Bloody Rotten Corpses writes:

Only 4 of the bands that played there were great

# Jun 25, 2010 @ 6:22 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

29. deathbringer writes:

Wow. Someone needs a history lesson and to figure out what the Big Four is actually about. Pantera was floundering as a hair metal band when thrash was in its prime.

# Jun 25, 2010 @ 6:37 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
30. metal fan writes:

I did see the show in theaters and I thought it was a great idea as well.....I do agree with Johnny Crobs, Henneman is HUGH , wow...Anthrax was really good , Joey is still Anthrax i dont care what anybody says, his voice is a little weaker but what do you expect . The whole surprise of the show for me was Megadeth, even though Dave's voice was shot, the band sounded awesome...Slayer, which is my favorite, played good, Tom recovering from back surgery looked great physically and sounded great as usual in concert...Metallica of course trying to steal the show with all the theatrics and pyro, sad thing is that they need that to be the show, Anthrax , Megadeth , and Slayer just came out and thrashed as usual. No staged b.s. to make the show all about them...Metallica stay mainstream, I will continue to enjoy my thrash the way it originated.

# Jun 26, 2010 @ 3:06 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
31. Cheesedick writes:

JOEY will sing is balls off!!! Remember Clash of the Titans? Metallica should piss off. This is why SLAYER is mad. Lombardo is probably on stage because he was the favored pick as musician. You guys who were there are lucky. I saw the Clash of the Titans Live in the 80's. Metallica wasn't there. It was the big 3 and Alice in Chains. Some of you will remember. It was supposed to be Death Angel or so RIP magazine said it was. When Alice showed up I was upset but oh well. Still the greatest case of violence in an arena I have SEEN EVER!!! I went to see Anthrax again with Joey when they did a co-headliner with Rob Zombie a few years back. I have also seen all of the big four in the last four years. ANTHRAX sounds the best to these old sore ears. SLAYER has always been my favorite and they just sound the same but Anthrax re-kindles some fire in my soul I just can't get anywhere else. I would love to see this live. Four bands that COMPLETELY blew the lid off of heavy metal and changed it FOREVER. Too bad a few of them have followed their egos instead of their fans pride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

# Jun 28, 2010 @ 8:36 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

To minimize comment spam/abuse, you cannot post comments on articles over a month old. Please check the sidebar to the right or the related band pages for recent related news articles.