Thursday, September 15, 2011

Anthrax/Megadeth/Slayer/Metallica – The Big Four at Yankee Stadium

(Note: I recorded the videos from the left of the stage, and the image quality isn't very good, but the audio quality really is. Enjoy).

Music often goes hand in hand with nostalgia – a song will immediately bring me back to an instant in time, sometime very powerfully, and for the space of a few minutes I will be back there, in the body of the person I was then. Often one song can take me back to multiple places, because the music I listen to often comes with me through everything. Sometimes it gets forgotten in a corner for a while, but always makes reappearance at some time or another.

I hesitated a few minutes when Dana asked me whether I wanted to go with her to see the big four a few months ago, mainly because the price of the ticket was a little extortionate. All I had to think about was that I was going to see two bands that I actually adored growing up, and who I had never had the chance to see before. Slayer and Metallica on the same day? I’m there.

I didn’t think it was such a big deal for a girl to be a Slayer fan, but from the amount of comments I got on my old ripped up Slayer shirt on my way to the GA area, I suppose it is here? I have never really hung out with any hardcore metallers in NY, not like I used to in France growing up, so I don’t really know what people listen to anymore. I’ve always loved Slayer, and still listen to them today. Best entrance ever into Santa Cruz with my sister Karli last year – blasting Dead Skin Mask from the car, playing air drums and head banging out the window. We like to do our road trips in style.

Metallica really remain in one pocket of time in my life though. I have never listened to an album of their released after 1991 (the album most commonly known as the “black album” was the last, and I LOVE this album). I have many a fond memory of singing (shouting?) along to Blackened in my friend Battle’s old Citroen, and moshing to Battery in the metal room at the Usine… I occasionally listen to Master of Puppets now and again, but my old Ride The Lightning shirt that was given to me by my cousin John in 1996 and which was a staple wardrobe item during the 90’s has long since disappeared.

So back to today. Or yesterday more accurately. I got a great spot against the barrier to the left of the stage and didn’t leave for the entire show (apart from the time that the lovely guy next to me saved my spot so I could go to the loo). I was never really into Anthrax, but they put on an excellent show, and it was a really big deal for them that they were playing there, as they all come from the Bronx. I really enjoyed the energy, even though I actually didn’t know a single song. It’s really hard to play so early in the day (4pm!), in the daylight, but they already had a good crowd who was there just for them, and I think they did a great job.

Then came Megadeth. They were good, but Dave Mustaine was obviously in pain – he actually said that he was going to have surgery/or had just had surgery on his neck, so I guess he shouldn’t really have been there in the first place. I was never a huge Megadeth fan, but in 1996 Youthanasia was on repeat in my room, and there are two songs on that album that mean an awful lot to me for many personal reasons, so when they played A Tout le Monde I was SO HAPPY. Brought back a lot of memories of walking around Grenoble, being a high-school drop-out, smoking hash in the park, hanging out with friends for hours on end just talking about music and books and drinking beer. You know, universal teenage stuff.

I was so excited for Slayer to come on! I had a conversation with a group of guys who were next to me about how I was there for Slayer and not Metallica, as were some of them. Slayer really have this group of hardcore fans, people who have followed them for a long time. Their set was GREAT, not long enough for me, and maybe a little too obvious, as they played all the favourites, but still GREAT. I recorded Dead Skin Mask for my sister on my phone, so she was able to hear them play it live just a few minutes after it was over too (modern technology has it’s pros in these types of moments!). If I figure out how to stream audio from a blog post one day I will post it, but until then you will just have to make do with the videos I have posted. That cry of “War Ensemble!!” just made my day, seriously. I really really REALLY wanted to abandon my handbag and jump in the mosh pit, but restrained myself. Now I regret it a little… Jeff Hanneman was still absent from the stage, I hope he’s doing better and will be able to start touring with them again. And Tom Araya is just one nice-looking devilish person man. So much charisma. It really made my day to actually see them live for the first time in my life!

Slayer - War Ensemble:

Honestly, once Slayer were done, I wasn’t too bothered about the Metallica show, I really just hoped they would play songs that I actually knew. So as I wasn’t expecting anything special I was completely blown away. They seriously, as James Hetfield accurately put it at the beginning of their set, “took it to another level”. I always find stadium shows hit or miss, but they really made this into a hit, into a real show. The music! The energy! The fireworks! The show!! And they only played two “new” songs, everything else came from all of the older albums. I am pretty sure the set lasted about two hours, and they never let up, even on the “slower” stuff, like Nothing Else Matters, was so powerful. I had actually forgotten that song even existed, and now have been listening to it on a loop all day today, nothing wrong with going back to that place again! By the way, how did I never realize how hot James Hetfield was? Yeah, sorry, I’m a girl, can’t help inserting this type of comment in here. There was a girl in the pit in front of me who was completely into the show, dancing like she was all alone in her room, and she was totally reenacting the way I felt inside – I wish I had got a picture of her, she was awesome! I love seeing people become one with music, it’s such a wonderful feeling…

Metallica - Ride The Lightning:

At the end of the Metallica set, all of the other bands came on stage (except Dave Mustaine, which I think was due to the fact that he was in pain, not because he had some kind of beef with the other guys), and they all jammed to Motorhead’s Overkill. So good. SO GOOD. I’m glad we got a different song than they have done on other Big Four dates. Makes you feel kind of special…

The Big Four - Overkill:

Anyway, all in all, a really great day for me, in all aspects. Brilliant show, many a nostalgic moment, and a LOT of fun. Nothing else really matters right now anyway…

Metallica - Welcome Home (Sanitarium):

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