The Big 4: Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax on the Big Screen!
Review: The Big 4 Movie: Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax on the Big Screen!
By Larry West
I was a teenager again.
In 2002, I was an oddity in my high school. I, unlike 99% of the other students, listened to metal. Not only that, but I was still just getting into the genre. By the time I graduated, I had gone from listing to Winger’s Seventeen, to listening to Slayer’s Reign in Blood. That was truly a magical time, and I had one simple vision of all these guys just getting together and playing at each others’ shows. This was already occuring to some regard; Anthrax let Metallica share its space, Dave Mustaine formed Megadeth after getting kicked out of Metallica, and Kerry King of Slayer played rhythm guitar for Megadeth. All of these bands helped each other out at one point in time during the formative stages. The dream of everyone in the metal world was to finally, after 25 years, see all of these legendary bands play the same concert; To see the Big Four in the single greatest concert ever!
Last night, we all got to be kids again.
At movie theaters across the Globe, The Big Four: Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, and Metallica were unleashed, causing not devastation, but the rarest joy you could ever see at a metal concert. It was, in and of itself, a different experience than any concert any of us had been to. You’re in an air-condition movie theater with a ton of people. Do you mosh? Do you sing along? Do you act like you do at a show?
As the show started, we were treated with the opening riff of Metallica’s “The End of the Line”, awesome graphics, and there they were: Lars Ulrich of Metallica, Scott Ian of Anthrax, and Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. Before the gravity of the situation finally dawned upon me, they all said their hello’s and said, “The concert starts in 30 minutes.” Then they cut to Sonisphere, just filling up with people, just like at any other show. It was an act worthy of Monty Python.
After a few minutes, they cut back to these 3 metal gods, 50 feet tall on a massive screen, discussing how the festival was put together. Lars talked about how great it was to finally do something like this, Scott Ian simply sitting there, nodding politely from time to time in agreement. Cut to Dave Mustaine’s reaction; stone silence. More than worth the price of admission!
Anthrax started the show, and the electricity was flying through the air! Joey Belladonna, long time and returning front man, came out and started the night of with “Caught in a Mosh”. They were playing the concert of their lives, and every note, every second of it proved just that! Half-way into “Indians”, the band broke tempo and went into a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell” in tribute to the late Ronnie James Dio who first sung and wrote the lyrics. Hearing Joey belt out the classic with Anthrax in top form… it warmed your heart.
Then came Dave Mustaine’s Megadeth armed with the potentially deadly, yet life nourishing nectar of the gods in both their music and in the rain that came down upon the crowd. Is there anything better than seeing a guitarist so on fire that even the heavens see fit to cool him down with some water? Going straight into “Holy Wars”, there were very few words needed between songs, and barely any were given. Instead, Dave Mustaine went through hit after hit, including “Hangar 18”, “Sweating Bullets”, “Symphony of Destruction”, “Headcrusher”, and closing it with “Peace Sells”.
Up next was Slayer, opening with the title track of the new album World Painted Blood, only to blast you back to 1990 with “War Ensemble”. Now, at this point, you may be wondering how your humble narrator and the others in the theater were acting. Well, we were pretty insane! Chanting along to our favorite songs, getting into the experience as if we were right there… it was magic! Then they played “Angel of Death”. I think it’s simple enough to say that, no matter what, no matter where you are, if you are at a Slayer concert and they play “Angel of Death”, you get off your ass and MOSH! So I got up, and god damn it, I had a one-man pit in the handicapped section!
There was a small break, about the first one in 3 hours, from all the action where all the guys talked about how cool it was to meet and know Ronnie James Dio, who was scheduled to play at this year’s Sonisphere. Despite his age, the man could still sing like he did 40 years ago, and Scott Ian asked him once in 2004 when they toured together how he did it. “Smoke a joint and drink a beer.” God bless him!
The lights then went dark, and then music swelled. A scene from “The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly” came on screen along with “The Ecstasy of Gold”. It was then that the all-mighty Metallica came on stage, and blasted through their set like pros! Seeing a Metallica concert has been like being in a time warp, where time has no meaning at all, and they played at virtually 1000mph! They may have slowed their tempos on later albums, but they were playing at double-speed tonight! If you’re like me and seen then about a dozen or so times live, the highlight would have been them playing “Cyanide”, the only new song in the set.
It would have been, was it not for the encore.
“For this next song, I want to bring out a few friends”, remarked James Hetfield. And out they came; Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer. Almost all the guys all out on the same stage! Dave Mustaine next to James Hetfield next to Scott Ian… Charlie Benante, Dave Lombardo, Lars Ulrich, and Shawn Drover all playing drums together! James Hetfield, Joey Belladonna, AND Dave Mustaine sung “Am I Evil?” by Diamond Head together on stage, each one taking a certain section. It was better than Christmas! It was better than Halloween! It was, in short, the ULTIMATE metal head fantasy! Seeing all of them, these gods and legends of metal, all together, on the same stage, performing the same song together… it was magic. It was astounding. It was, simply put, once in a lifetime.
It was, without a doubt, the single greatest concert ever.
The Big Four will be shown again at theaters nationwide June 24th at 7:30pm your local time. Get 10 friends and go out for the night! Go to Fathom Events for more details and a theater near you.
Editor’s Note: Larry West is the main graphic artist and illustrator of Blow The Scene. Our multi-talented friend will be posting from time to time, so you will not only get to see his work, but you will be able to read into his mind!
All photos below courtesy of MetOnTour.com
Tags: Anthrax, Anthrax, Black Sabbath, Charlie Benante, Dave Lombardo, Dave Mustaine, Diamond Head, James Hetfield, Joey Belladonna, Kerry King, Larry West, Lars Ulrich, Megadeth, Megadeth, Metallica, Metallica, Movies, Ronnie James Dio, Scott Ian, Shawn Drover, Slayer, Slayer, The Big Four