Big 4 Dominate Yankee Stadium in Show of Epic Proportions
Band Photo: Metallica (?)
Never in my life have I been so eager to make the 3½ hour drive from Boston to Manhattan. And as a lifelong Red Sox fan, Yankee Stadium is not a place I like. But to catch one of just two Big 4 shows in the U.S., I would have worn a Yankees jersey if I had to. Well maybe that’s going a little too far.
Me and two comrades in metal piled into my Toyota Matrix at 8 a.m. Wednesday and sped toward what we knew was going to be heavy metal nirvana. We checked into our hotel, grabbed a quick bite and hopped the D train from mid-town up to the Bronx where we were greeted by a glorious scene: a sea of black T-shirt clad warriors filing toward metal mecca. Thousands unfortunately missed Anthrax as they were stuck outside the security gates in massive lines that moved at a snail’s pace.
Too bad because the native New Yorkers set it off proper.
“It’s a beautiful day for metal,” Anthrax vocalist Joey Belladonna boomed, welcoming the crowd to the historic day. “I can’t believe we made it into this building. They never let metal in here.” Well they sure did this day.
From “Indians” to “Antisocial” to “The Devil You Know” from the band’s new disc, “Worship Music,” Anthrax was a thundering force.
Next up was Megadeth. Dave Mustaine nearly backed out of the show because of a serious neck injury but soldiered on against doctor’s orders like the warrior that he’s been for decades. “This song is about putting someone’s head in a vice,” he said before blasting through “Headcrusher.”
Slayer completely dominated. There are few bands that play as hard or fast and the guys put everything they had into this once-in-a-lifetime show. Drummer Dave Lombardo at one point buried his head in his hands in between songs, appearing near exhaustion. Gary Holt of Exodus filled in for Jeff Hanneman, who’s on leave due to illness, and tore off riff after mind-blowing riff, showing why many headbangers argue that it should be the Big 5, with Exodus.
After unleashing a tsunami of punishment that included “Mandatory Suicide,” “Hate Worldwide,” “War Ensemble” and “Angel of Death,” it was Metallica’s turn.
And the platinum-draped metal kings wasted no time in getting back to their Bay Area 80s roots, tearing into “Creeping Death,” “Fade to Black,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “Battery.” All the obligatory hits were sprinkled in, but so were some gems, including the instrumental “Orion” from “Master of Puppets.”
All the other bands joined Metallica for a jam on Motorhead’s “Overkill” before James Hetfield et. al. ended with an absolutely blistering version of “Seek and Destroy.” Every band on the bill was worthy of headlining. The sound system was incredible and all the bands sounded amazing. Truthfully, it may have been the best sound I’ve ever heard at a huge outdoor show.
Drained and exhausted, me and my friends grabbed an after-show beer, overwhelmed by the metal history we had just witnessed. It didn’t matter anymore that I was deep in the heart of Yankee country.
All that mattered was that we and 40,000 other lunatics had just soaked in one of the greatest metal bills ever assembled.
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