The show itself, I finally found out, was played yesterday in Bulgaria around 3:00 PM local time, meaning around here it would have been early morning. Somehow between then and 7:00 PM local here it was edited and rebroadcast to theaters to hit timezones across the nation at 7:00 PM in each timezone.
Some of the editing was lackluster after the first act and really detracted from the feeling of being there, but you can't hold that against the bands. Some clip monkey got overzealous on a few places and took out the final fade or the first few notes of a song here or there. And they really took too many liberties with removing "dead space" that's actually a part of any metal show and necessary for breathers for the audience and bands. But we won't get into that.
There were several shots of the outdoor stadium filling before the show interspersed with videos and round table talks with Lars, Scott Ian, Dave Mustaine and Kerry King to start the night. Pretty interesting hearing how it all came together for them and how they managed to build the Big Four show into a Big Four tour and how they hope to be able to do more touring as a group either next summer or the following summer.
Anthrax was first on stage, and my word did they blow me away. General agreement from those who've seen it, they were the best of the night. I would say by far, but definitely they were the ones that clicked. They had a nice little Dio tribute in the midst of Indians, and they generally created chaos and rock through their entire set.
Megadeth had terrific guitar work, stellar rhythmic work, spectacular leads, and the worst vocals I've ever heard any performer attempt to pass off live. I understand the ego thing, but I think it's time for Dave to admit he needs help in the vocal department. To quote AFKS, "WTF? It's like someone is squeezing a cat's balls while strangling it." I'd actually say the cat would probably come across a little stronger.
Slayer disappointed me after the first two. I mean, it's Slayer so it's not like it was a huge let down, but I've seen a lot of shitty youtube clips of them performing much better. Not to mention the DVDs I've purchased of them performing better. I'd also like to say leather pants need to go away once you hit the three hundred pound mark. Hanneman, that means you. Rhythmically they had it, but their leads were way worse than I've ever heard them. Some of them were nothing more than random noises that could not be referred to as notes. Still, it was Slayer.
There was a little interlude interview where everybody talked about Dio and what a huge influence he'd been. It was a pretty cool little talk about how each of the four (Lars, Scotty, Dave and Kerry) had first met Dio and how their interactions had went with him. As most anybody, famous or not, will tell you, he was a cool, calm, kind dude. I was never the world's biggest Dio fan, but I could listen to the guy talk and listen to stories about him forever.
Then Metallica hit. Their biggest negative seemed to be that Lars could not hold a steady rhythm. Every time he'd cut in the song would pick up speed until it was at the point where the guitars simply couldn't play their full parts. I get speed and like it, but not every song needs to be that fast. Seek & Destroy? No.
Towards the end of their set they pulled the other three bands out and did a song with them. Strangest thing I've ever seen was Dave Mustaine hugging Kirk Hammet while Jame's stands literally inches away smiling like a proud papa. Eighteen year old me was looking out my face with the biggest WTF stinkeye evar. Then they played Am I Evil. Eight guitars live is just about enough. Sounded absolutely huge.
After Metallica finished up alone, they came out to announce that the big four show they were filming for broadcast was also going to be cut into a DVD release called simply THE BIG FOUR. Would buy for Anthrax alone. Possibly the best live set I've ever seen by any band via video of some type without actually being there. The rest could be considered interesting bonus material.
All in all, not a bad night. AFKS went all pouty, whiney bitch afterwards when we went for our customary post-show eats. His life sucks, those guys are older than him yet can do more, he hates everything, everything sucks, he's not having any fun at all, blah, blah, blah. He's in a bad place now, and I get that, but when you decide you're going to go out and have fun, let yourself. He shut down about halfway through Megamave's set and just sat down with his arms crossed and pouted the rest of the night. I could see it, but fuck it. He wanted to go to the show, he could sit there and watch it.
Still, a decent night of rock. I'll probably grab the DVD when it comes out. If you were ever a fan, you should at least rent and check out the Anthrax set. That's some good stuff.
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