Live Blog: The Big Four at Yankee Stadium
The Big Four. Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica.
Not only are they our November cover stars, but it just so happens that today, September 14, they're playing just their second-ever U.S. show at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NY.
After pulling together a historic Guitar World cover and dedicating an entire month of online coverage to the Big Four, I think it's a fitting closure point for the guys/girls at Guitar World and Revolver to make our way up to the Bronx to catch what is arguably the biggest metal concert ever for the East Coast.
Sadly, Yankee Stadium can't accommodate every metal head this side of the Mississippi who wanted to attend, so in case you can't make it today, tune in right here for live updates from the Big Four at Yankee Stadium throughout the day!
01:01 EST - Still at Guitar World HQ, but after some scary rumors floating around Monday night, I've got to assure everyone that yes, Megadeth IS in fact playing today. Relax.
03:08 EST - In the bowels of Yankee Stadium in the press conference room watching some early interviews going down. Seeing a metal crowd outside of this place was pretty amazing. I wonder what the Bronx residents think of all the long haired dudes in Slayer t-shirts wandering around?
3:10 EST - FYI: Most popular t-shirt outside: Metallica, Ride the Lightning.
03:50 EST - Caught Dave Mustaine in the press conference room. He's in a neck brace, but ready to go on! Anthrax going on in 10....
03:56 EST - First microphone of the night isn't working. Good thing it's just the guy introducing the show and not Joey...
04:00 EST - I wish all metal shows were at Yankee Stadium, I've never seen a show start this promptly before. Anthrax on, all wearing Yankees uniforms. Kicking things off with "Fight 'Em Til You Can't," a song off the band's new album, Worship Music. Joey Belladonna sounds dead on, and this is coming from a diehard John Bush fan!
Reminder: Photos Below!
04:04 EST - Only disappointment with the setup so far is that they're not allowing fans in the infield of the field. Upside: the sound is great all the way up in the press box. The kick drum is shaking the tables and I can't even see Scott's goatee from here...
04:07 EST - "Got the Time" is up next, from Anthrax's last album with Joey Belladonna, 1991's Persistence of Time. Frankie Bello killing it. Side note: after the Metal Masters Clinic 2, Frank is now among my top 10 favorite thrash vocalists. Watch it and you'll see what I mean.
04:08 EST - And the crowd erupts for "Madhouse"!
04:10 EST - The band's keeping the set tight, definitely want to pack the most songs into their opening slot. "Caught in a Mosh" is up next. I loved Greater of the Two Evils and all, but still kind of get goosebumps when I hear Joey sing this. Also, I'm being told that on the big screens, you can see Mike Portnoy hanging out behind the drum riser...
04:14 EST - Just sighted the first mosh pit of the night.
04:17 EST - For some reason, they're subtitling the show, including the lyrics and whatever Joey yells out.
04:19 EST - And of the course the band take off the jerseys, only to have on navy t-shirts with the Anthrax logo stylized to look like the Yankees'.
04:23 EST - I'm hearing the lines are still massive outside. This place is filling up quickly. Anthrax about to launch into another new track, the album's first single, "The Devil You Know."
04:28 EST - The new Anthrax album holds up amazingly well next to their classic material. Who's got their copy of Worship Music? What's your favorite song on the album? Tell us in the comments! I'll reply when I can...
04:36 EST - "Man, they never let metal in this place!" - Joey Belladonna. Band just finished "Indians."
04:40 EST - Joey at the end of "Indians": "Everybody remember Ronnie Dio." Agreed, Joey!
04:45 EST - I know Anthrax will kill this last song, but I've got to head downstairs to talk to Kerry King(!) I'll keep you guys posted...
05:48 EST - Sorry for the delay, was downstairs talking to Kerry King. The stadium definitely filled out a lot while I was gone, Megadeth already into a brand new song, "Public Enemy No. 1." Dave sounds great for a guy in a neck brace...
05:50 EST - Oh, and according to Kerry, Jeff is not in the building.
05:52 EST - "Headcrusher" is up next from 'deth. Did I mention that Dave is killing this show? Especially considering he'll likely be in surgery within the next week. Overheard someone ask him what caused the injury, and he replied, "Too much headbanging."
05:55 EST - A few people in the seats still trying to mosh. I think I just saw a guy repeatedly punching the ground. Metal!(?)
05:58 EST - Yankee Stadium singing along with "À Tout le Monde." Chills, man, chills...
06:02 EST - Funny seeing people who obviously just got out of the office headbanging in dress shirts and ties. "Sweating Bullets" up next.
06:09 EST - "Symphony of Destruction" done, now straight onto "Peace Sells...," which sounds just as great 25 years after it was first written...
06:13 EST - Last Megadeth song before I have to run back downstairs to talk to Anthrax, and it's "Holy Wars"! Anyone have anything they want me to ask Rob, Frank and Joey?
07:19 EST - Someone give Frank Bello his own TV show, please. Just got back to the press box, Slayer are on in full force. Gary Holt -- one of the true unsung heroes of metal -- just burned through the "War Ensemble" solo. It got dark since I was here last, and the lights really take the show to a new level. Hope Metallica brought the pyro!
07:21 EST - "Psychopathy Red" up next, from Slayer's last album, World Painted Blood. Speaking of, out all the Big Four bands' newest albums, which one is strongest? Endgame, Worship Music, World Painted Blood or Death Magnetic? Tell us in the comments!
07:23 EST - Tom Araya reminds us that "you don't need to wear a uniform to fight for your freedom," right before launching into "Mandatory Suicide."
07:28 EST - Props to Gary Holt for the Dead Kennedys t-shirt.
07:40 EST - "Dead Skin Mask." What more can I say? Gary and Kerry (hey, it rhymes!) are trading solos. Wish they would have made this day even better and let Exodus open. And Testament. And Overkill. And Sepultura. And Death Angel.
07:43 EST - And Munical Waste. And Skeletonwitch. And Iced Earth. And Lamb of God.
07:44 EST - Okay, I snapped out of it. Slayer playing "Snuff" right now. I might be away for a few, a little birdie tells me "South of Heaven" and "Raining Blood" are next....
07:49 EST - Dave Lombardo just made a very creative recovery from losing a drum stick in the middle of a fill. Well played, sir.
07:56 EST - If Megadeth won't play "The Conjuring," the next best thing is always Slayer playing "Black Magic." One more song left after this? Wonder what it will be...
07:59 EST - "Angel of Death," what else? Tom can still nail that scream...
08:05 EST - Three bands down, one to go. Metallica in Yankee Stadium. It's about to happen.
08:24 EST - Metallica scheduled to go on at 8:30, will it happen on time? My guess is yes. Say what you will about their baseball, but the Yankees know how to run a metal show.
08:26 EST - Just discussed the prospect of Lou Reed joining the bands for the Big Four jam and playing "Sweet Jane." Bets?
08:33 EST - Metallica not on yet. I'm disappointed, Yankees. But then again, they did trade Jay Buhner...
08:38 EST - "Run to the Hills" playing in the background. Stage is empty, waiting for "Ecstasy of Gold" to come on...
08:49 EST - Crowd starting to get bored. "Crazy Train" got a pretty big pop from -- wait. False alarm. The song stopped for a moment, but then AC/DC's "It's A Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll)" came on. Scott must be controlling the music...
08:53 EST - Also, there will definitely be a Big Four jam tonight. Any thoughts on song choice? Requests? Special guests?
08:54 EST - And the lights go down... "Ecstasy of Gold" starts up. Did I mention chills? Making last minute guesses about Metallica's opening song. Most favor "Creeping Death." I'm thinking "Battery." If I had my say? "Damage, Inc."
08:56 EST - And it's "Creeping Death." Everyone in here singing along...
08:58 EST - Guitar World's Mark Nunez would like me to acknowledge that he called "Creeping Death."
09:01 EST - "For Whom the Bell Tolls" is a great time to remind everyone that Robert Trujillo plays Metallica songs with his fingers. His fucking fingers!
09:04 EST - James can probably take the night off from singing, the crowd hasn't missed a word yet.
09:05 EST - If they asked, the crowd would probably just do "Battery" a cappella, Van Canto style.
09:06 EST - "Fuel" up next. Kinda surprised they played anything post-Black Album. Not that I don't like Load and Re-Load, just given how much this night is about the old-school thrash, seems an odd choice. Everyone still singing along though...
09:10 EST - I could feel the heat from the pryo during "Fuel" all the way up in the press box...
09:11 EST - "Ride the Lightning" never disappoints. I'm sorry the entries are short, I just really love Metallica...
09:17 EST - Kirk guitar solo already? Little early for that, don't you think guys? Oh well, still awesome.
09:19 EST - That didn't last long. James on acoustic now for "Fade to Black." Hope he plays the intro to "Battery" on it too. No pre-recorded tapes, please.
09:20 EST - Glad to see the fans pull out real lighters for this one. There's something somewhat less romantic about holding your cell phone up to a song you really love.
9:25 EST - Metallica are as big as they are not just because of writing amazing songs, but because they know how to come out and kill it every single time.
09:27 EST - "Cyanide" not my first choice for a track of Death Magnetic to play, but still a pleasant surprise.
09:33 EST - "All Nightmare Long" up next. If I'm not mistaken, this is a tape. Sorry guys, but I have the CD at home... Much better, the full band just kicked in.
09:35 EST - A lot of kids here and, by proxy, a lot of really cool parents.
09:39 EST - Despite some snarky comments I'm reading elsewhere, "All Nightmare Long" ranks right up there with the best of Metallica. Can't believe Lars' snare sound on St. Anger scarred so many people so deeply...
09:41 EST - 41,451 in attendance tonight... comical because the announcement interrupted James in mid-sentence.
09:43 EST - "Sad But True." Once again, Mr. Nunez would like to point out that he called it. Maybe I should stop saying "Trapped Under Ice"...
09:48 EST - Only with Les Claypool and Robert Trujillo is there no sarcasm in my voice when I say, "Awesome, time for a bass solo!"
09:49 EST - And the first song from Master of Puppets for the night is "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)"...
09:56 EST - Band introductions happening now, and right into "Orion"! A nice surprise, indeed.
10:04 EST - "And in our hearts, the spirit of our bass player, Mr. Cliff Burton" - James
10:04 EST - I think the fireworks/gunshots at the start of "One" just scared the shit out of half the stadium, myself included.
10:10 EST - "Master of Puppets"! That's all you'll hear out me for the next seven minutes. Excuse me...
10:15 EST - Question of the night: before the solo, will James yell "pancakes"?
10:18 EST - "Pancakes!" I could swear most of the crowd yelled it too, but James definitely did!
10:21 EST - Time for "Blackened."
10:24 EST - Anyone else feel the lasers on this song are a bit much?
10:27 EST - A jam from James that leads into... wait for it... another solo from Kirk. Alright, I can dig it. Two in one night. It's the Big Four at Yankee Stadium. Indulge a bit.
10:29 EST - I love "Nothing Else Matters," but I feel like it kind of brings the mood down a bit. They can't play this right before the Big Four Jam, so I'm hoping they come with "Battery" or something like it. Fun fact: When I need to tune my guitar without a tuner nearby, I do it by hearing this song in my head.
10:34 EST - James shows off his Big Four pick on the big screen before kicking into "Enter Sandman."
10:42 EST - They're bringing a lot of amps onto the stage right now...let's see who's participating tonight.
10:43 EST - "Fuck you, Boston!" chant happening. Good thing I put away my Red Sox hat...
10:47 EST - So far I see: James Hetfield, Robert Trujillo, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich, Dave Ellefson, Frank Bello, Rob Caggiano, Scott Ian, Chris Broderick, Joey Belladonna... They promise a new song tonight...
10:48 EST - Motorhead! "Overkill"! Benante on stage too... think I see Lombardo. Gary Holt is up there! Yes!
10:49 EST - And there's Kerry King!
10:50 EST - Alright guys and gals, I'm signing off. For those of you here and those keeping track at home, thanks for hanging out with me for this historic night! Til tomorrow, folks...
11:50 EST - Last minute note: as I walked to the (Big) 4 Train to head home, I could clearly hear "Battery" coming from the stadium. I'm told the rest of the bands split and 'tallica closed out the show with "Battery" and "Seek and Destroy."
Revolver's Josh Bernstein asking Megadeth bassist Dave Ellefson the tough questions.
The view from the press box.
Dave Mustaine and Shawn Drover taking a few questions before the show kicks off.
A black-clad crowd gathers outside of Yankee Stadium.
Anthrax take the field -- er, stage -- as fans are still lined up outside waiting to get in.