Walking to the not-so-secret Anthrax show at Times Square’s Best Buy Theater last night, the feeling was electric. It was the eve of the release of the band’s eight years in the works album, Worship Music, and the majority of the crowd had gained admission to the free show from “Satan’s Lounge Band” by pre-purchasing the album. Add in the fact that it was the unofficial kickoff to tomorrow’s Big 4 show at Yankee Stadium, and there was a palpable excitement in the air. While the truly lucky had gone to the extremely under-publicized “Metal Masters 2” clinic and witnessed history, Anthrax’s 70minute set was a historic moment of its own.
Kicking off with “Fight ‘Em Till You Can’t,” Anthrax were tight and confident onstage. And really, there’s no reason they shouldn’t have been. With the exception of frontman Joey Belladonna, the band have been living with Worship Music for at least three years. Belladonna came off as the elder statesman of the band, with his Ronnie James Dio-esque crooning and stage moves unchanged from his prior tenures in the band. And it seemed like guitarists Rob Caggiano and Scott Ian were more comfortable onstage than they are in The Damned Things. But musically, the star of the band was drummer Charlie Benante. For a band that’s been around for 30 years (as of July 17, Belladonna noted), Benante drums circles around the likes of Lars Ulrich.
Apparently oblivious to the fact that the crowd gained admission to the show by purchasing Worship Music, Belladonna mentioned that the album was coming out today seemingly after every break (he also called Caggiano “Rob G” twice – maybe a nickname?). But the band only played three songs from the album, “Fight,” “The Devil You Know” and album opener “Earth On Hell,” which they closed with. Aside from that, the show was heavy on the hits, as it should have been. They even pulled out the John Bush-era song “Only,” which Belladonna spoke to us about when we interviewed him recently. It should be noted that for the band that popularized moshing, the pit was decidedly low impact, even during “Caught In A Mosh.” While there was one attendee bleeding from his chin, for the most part, the pit area was wide open with people pacing more than moshing.
If there was one minor gripe about the show, it was that anyone wishing for an all-star jam post-clinic was left empty handed. That was made even worse by the appearance of Slayer’s Kerry King and Philip Anselmo during the show. Before “The Devil You Know,” King came out and did a shot with the band, while Anselmo came out to hype up the crowd and band before “Madhouse.” So while expectations were high, Anthrax left an already satisfied audience wanting a bit more. And there’s nothing wrong with that, seeing that anyone that will be at the Big 4 show will get their all-star jam tomorrow, if they hadn’t already gotten it at the clinic. Set list after the jump:
Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t
Got The Time
Caught In A Mosh
The Devil You Know
Metal Thrashin’ Mad
I Am The Law
Earth On Hell