Welcome back….my finger tips and eyeballs needed a little breather before continuing on. And so this raging review continues with Anthrax. Yesssssssssssssssssssssssss! One of the bands that transformed the thrash metal world by bringing us albums like Spreading the Disease, State of Euphoria, Among the Living and Sound of White Noise. I highly recommend checking out one of their live recorded albums. For the 3rd time in my life I got to see these thrash legends play on stage.
As I said in Part 1 of this magical adventure, I was not expecting to see them play this show. I am never EVER disappointed with Scott Ian and the gents. To me Scott IS the very heart and soul of Anthrax. A lot of people will argue with me on this but we can save that for another day. They are hands down one of the fucking best thrash metal bands to see live. If you don’t love some Anthrax you are dead inside.
Along with some honorable mentions Among The Living, Evil Twin, Madhouse, Indians and more. It was the point in the show where if you were close to the front the force from the pit pressed you into everyone else around you like an ingredient in a human burrito recipe. If you wanted personal space you would need to brave the edge of the pit and weed through the packed crowd to go to the back of the floor. Otherwise you had to be prepared for your bubble to be burst and violated by elbows, hands, hair and sweat.
Throughout the show Bruce and Dan stuck around raging with me. Bruce kept an eye on me for remainder of the show after a crowd surfer landed on me. It was not a pleasant experience, but nothing too bad that I couldn’t suck it up for the moment and keep raging.
The pit was right behind me surging so I periodically had to turn around when the blockade of Bruce had been moved by the brutality to make sure I didn’t get blindsided by some kind of elbows or firsts or more crowd surfers coming overhead, although I’m pretty sure this was the set where he accidentally headbutted me.
Soaking every second of it all in as I was being squished and elbowed and sweating out the cheap pizza I had earlier that day. And then the State of Euphoria set in. That feeling of “I am home” that really hits you. You can’t help but smile and laugh and just embrace it. Sure there is that overwhelming smell of spilled beer, sweat, body odor, Axe body spray and, in some cases, puke… but the pit on that floor in front of the stage, THAT is where I belong. It is the most free and gratifying place on the planet.
At this point I am fucking DYING from the collective body heat. But now it’s time for Lamb of God to unleash that heavy groove metal sound into the crowd . Randy Blythe’s voice echoes throughout the stadium with theintro words to Omerta from Ashes Of The Wake. The lights go up. BOOM!!! The music hits you in the chest like a brick got thrown at it.
I don’t know why but they are always phenomenally ruthless. Perhaps its the industrial metal twists to some of their music in comparison to that of their counterparts on the bill or maybe it’s just the crowd. The pit is always circling faster and getting wider and wider as they play. I had my phone out for all of 2 minutes because of the amount of people pushing on and around me. I simply was not going to be able to keep my phone steady or in my hand for video or photos. They closed out with Redneck from one of MY favorite LoG albums Sacrament. It drove the crowd into a madness. The pit just CONSUMED the floor again.
After LoG I found Ivan and climbed the stairs up to the concessions area to find direly needed water while the adrenaline wore off and the pain started to rush in. It was going to be a hot minute for the stage to be set up for the final part of the show with all of the pyrotechnics and changing backdrops.
Finally it’s time for SLAYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!! Ivan and I headed back to the arena doors as soon as we heard the guitars start for Repentless. Descending the steps from the bleachers to the floor to witness these gods among men burn the stage to the ground. Tom Araya taking the stage with his salt and pepper locks and raspy slaytanic voice. This would be my second time seeing them live and sadly , never with Jeff before his passing.
One of my favorite moments was when Tom asked the crowd to scream at the count of 3. To take the deepest breath they could and scream WARRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!! Of course, the scream machine obliged this request. I took my stance inhaled to fill my lungs even though I was in pain and let out a glorious scream. Ivan laughed and exclaimed how this show was made for me. The lady next to me complimented me on the scream and my impressive set of lungs before we continued to rage to War Ensemble from behind the sound booth.
During the 2nd half of their set everything hurt enough I needed to sit down. I was so happy to see them again before they quit touring. To share in that moment again with so many people. And feel the wave of energy when Tom just stands on stage and looks out into the crowd and says nothing and then everyone just starts to cheer and chants “SLAYER! SLAYER! SLAYER!.” It’s that moment at shows that you think of periodically after the fact and it makes you tear up because it’s that happy of a memory. Just that little taste of what you felt in that exact moment during a rough day at the office or when you are feeling down and out in general makes all the difference in the world.
Song after song they played from the album that started it all for me, Reign in Blood through Seasons in the Abyss , Diabolus in Musica, World Painted Blood and Repentless the hit all the crowd favorites: Jihad, Black Magic , Dead Skin Mask, the only song non-fans know when you ask them their favorite Slayer song Raining Blood, Chemical Warfare. And then of course to close out the night with the Song that has survived the ages having been played live for over 30 years Angel of Death. This song this song had caused so much controversy initially and is on small sliver of the vast works that memorialize the artist Jeff Hanneman was.
During Angel of Death, Ivan and I decided we would get a jump start on getting an Uber back to the hotel before it got too crazy. Across the street waiting for hungry fans to exit the arena were hot dog cart circles on each street corner for the next 3 blocks. I know this because we had to walk/ limp all that way to our Uber due to streets being blocked off.
At the end it was a highly memorable and satisfying night. I was struck by feelings of sadness that I would not get that opportunity again with this band…but then the following Monday I get this bad boy article thanks to Metal Injection in my email. I just MIGHT get to see them again after all.