But this was different. This was special! All the musings about who would WE want to put on a festival and sit around and watch or if we're lucky, go and see live?
So it is written, so it shall be done. Last nights show (June 22) in Sophia Bulgaria was a wet dream come true for many metal heads. If you didn't make the trek to beautiful Sophia to party it up with the Harvester of Sophia crowd, you could toddle off to your local movie megaplex, grab some pop corn, and sit in a large comfy chair and watch some of the most blistering performances ever.
I saw the Big 4 at Desert Ridge AMC in Phoenix Arizona. It started promptly at 1930 hours PST. At the time, the theatre was about 1/2 full. Not bad. We were worried we'd be the only two people there. It hadn't been promoted much outside of Metclub channels. We "ran" to the "barricade" as it would be unseemly for us NOT to be front and center for a Metallica show. LOL The "barricade" in this case being a rail along the front row of seats separating the seats from the "pit" in front of the screen. It was a lively crowd with many strains of "SLAYER" ringing out at irregular intervals. They opened with several web cam shots of The stadium in Sophia filling up and people milling about.
This was inter-cut with mini interviews of Dave, Lars, and Scott. At some points, Dave looked like he was shaking. Don't know if that was camera shake or suppressed rage. Discussing getting all four bands together on the same bill and playing dates together he remarked "The only thing that's missing is cake right there in the middle of the stage." Lars likened "... the vibe is like ... little kids in a toy store." An understatement on both their parts. The fact that they were in the same room at the same time and Dave wasn't being a passive aggressive whingy bitch was cause for celebration. Even if Scott Ian was in between them, mediating and soothing as it seemed.
Lars said he didn't think the Euro shows would be the last time the Big 4 play together. From his lips to the gods ears.
At 1945 hours Anthrax hit the big screen with "Caught in a Mosh". The audience in my theatre sang along. They followed up with classics such as "Got the Time" and "I am the Law". Joey Belladonna sang "Heaven and Hell" inside "Indians". A phenomenal tribute to Ronnie James Dio - as Heaven and Hell were supposed to be on some of the Sonisphere dates. His voice sounded much stronger singing the song tonite than it did at Dio's funeral. Understandable. Belladonna hit it out of the ball park and it was easily the strongest vocals for him of the night. 45 minutes later they were off the screen to be replaced by Megadeth.
Megadeth had a solid 45 minutes of screen time too. They played in the pissing rain. Although the band was tight as fuck - totally nailing it, Dave's voice was quite atrocious. I'm sure he missed a good 80% of the notes. It sounded as if he was singing from his throat, totally forcing it. But it's easy to be an armchair lead singer. I was sitting in a plush red faux velvet over sized chair with my feet up, a bottle of iced green tea at my side, blackberry at the ready - texting and facebooking mates in San Jose, Jersey, Scotland and even Sofia where some of my mates had braved the cold rain and wind to end up front and center on the barricade and taking face time in my theatre! I think they were having a more fun time. Megadeth blistered thru "Holy Wars", "Skin O' My Teeth", "In My Darkest Hour" (which I sang quite loudly and as off key as Dave), "Hook in Mouth" with it's dated PMRC message. Most of the people in the theatre and I'm sure in Sophia weren't alive for Tipper's assault on metal music. I found it hilariously ironic that Tipper Gore and the PMRC is long gone and DAVE and MEGADETH are still going strong! They went on to crush "Symphony of Destruction" (with audience sing along) and a very loud and raucous "Peace Sells".
I guess I got lucky. The crowd in Phoenix appreciated all the bands thus far. They sang along to the songs they liked and whooped and hollared. I did get a text that a mosh/circle pit broke out.... in a JERSEY theatre! of course! And another text from the opposite end of the country saying the crowd was pretty lame and downright rude towards Megadeth's awesome guitar power. But that melted away at 2116 hours PST.......
OK - this needs to be LOUDER!!! it's FOKKING SLAYER!!!!!!!!!!!!! They opened with "World Painted Blood" then crushed thru "War Ensemble". OMG.... "Angel of Death" was sick!!! F.O.K.K.I.N.G.S.L.A.Y.E.R. The theatre roared!!! If you've had the misfortune to miss some years worth of Slayer shows you have done yourself a disservice. Get thee quick to a record shoppe and buyeth the SLAYER!!!!!!! The last song played was "Reign in Blood". Need I say more?? Yesh??
FUCKING SLAYER !!!!!!!!!!
At this point I'm sure you are waiting eagerly for Louis to take the stage. . . erm, I mean Metallica (same thing really). LOL But as Heaven and Hell were supposed to play the Sonisphere dates, the producer of this fine epic in conjunction with the bands inserted a very nice tribute to the voice of metal, RONNIE JAMES DIO. Lars gushed about meeting Dio in Copenhagen when he was a 10 or 11 year old kid. Scott Ian said... " I feel better about myself as a hum being after talking to Ronnie James Dio."
2210 hours PST
The beginning of the most important hour and 24 minutes of your life........
Yesh, they played it!!! And Metallica blasted onto full screen with "Creeping Death"! It was amazing. Almost but not quite totally unlike being there! All the memories of 48 past Metallica shows. The anticipation of the four horsemen hitting the stage. The build up! The explosion! METALLICA !!!!!! They careened into "Bells" with reckless abandon taking all of us with them. They teased us with the pre intro to "Fuel", but it was cut out :( "Fade" and "Cyanide" were kept in the movie. But it jumped to "ONE". Not bad. Pyro cues memorized and could be appreciated on the big screen. For the first time in since I left my 30s in the rear view mirror the flash pots didn't hurt my eyes. LOL The theatre erupted for "Master" but "Blackened" fell to languish on the cutting room floor. A rousing sing along ensued for "Enter Sandman" that was spliced to what everyone wanted to see, but didn't dare hope for !
As we all know Metallica shows end thus: cover song, old song, Seek. That is the way. The cover song had a nice surprise. "Am I Evil" by the Big 4! Amazing and Astounding it was! Mustaine, Hetfield, Ulrich all playing on the same stage. together. sober. smiling.... oh, yeh, you read that right! SMILING!!!!!!! Dave.Smiled. and HUGGED Lars and James. Yes, Hugged! on film. We have proof! A happy hugging Dave!!!! They were joined onstage by Frankie, Rob C, Charlie and Dave Lombardo, Scott, Ellefson, Shawn and Belladonna.
And of course, the night ended with a very loud but ball-less "Seek".
June 22, 2010 was an ace night out at the movies. If anyone could hand pick a date night or a date movie - this one was it! It is being replayed in theatres on June 24, so if you've missed it, go see it! Or better yet - catch these bands on tour!! As Slayer and Megadeth have American tour dates this year.