As Anthrax kicked off their tour with fellow thrashers Slayer and Death Angel, they managed to make not one but two quick appearances in Brooklyn, New York at St. Vitus. For those who are not familiar with this venue, it’s quite small and fits less than 300 people. With that said, the tickets sold out practically immediately for the first show on September 16. It was at that point when I believed that this event would not happen for me at all. However, good things do happen for those that wait. It is unheard of for a band to play not one but two shows in one day, let alone backtrack to a previous location. Well, it happened, and on Friday, September 16 the announcement was made for the second show for September 17 (well 18) at midnight. It was a crazy weekend for Anthrax where after their first night in Brooklyn, they went to the Revolution Rock festival out in Connecticut for a 1:30 PM performance, just to head back for a near 1:30 AM show followed by heading out again for the Rock Allegiance festival in Pennsylvania. Anthrax pushed their limits for a significant benefit, which was for the cancer support group, Gilda’s Club.
The evening began quite early for the fans, as a handful were eagerly and impatiently waiting to get inside the venue three hours before their scheduled performance time. The moment Anthrax pulled up in their tour bus that was decorated in support of the latest album For All Kings, quite a few gathered near to take a few snapshots of this surreal night. When I saw the bus unload the gear, my first thought was, “how the hell is this all going to fit on that small stage?” Sure enough, they managed to fit it all including the For All Kings backdrop that looked bigger than the stage itself.
The place was a “madhouse” that night, as fans rushed to the front in a kill or be killed way (well, sort of). No one had any care in the world, as it was a huge race. I ended up being shoved to the side, where these fans were no joke. The moment Anthrax went on the platform, it was odd to see them in such a small amount of space. At one point I forgot what year it was since, well unless it was the early eighties, I don’t think anyone expected to see one of the big four thrash metal bands perform inside one of the smallest venues.
The setlist was a bit different, where classics such as “Metal Thrashing Mad,” “Antisocial,” and “Madhouse” were not on the list. They played a bit from 1985’s Spreading the Disease such as “Lone Justice,” “Aftershock,” and “Medusa.” I’m sure the first night had a few more surprises and bursts of energy, however, they were performing until close to 3’oclock in the morning so, how much can one expect? There wasn’t as much moshing as I anticipated, yet there were several fist pumps and endless singing. It was evident that Scott Ian wanted to move around more, but there was only so much room. Joey Belladonna, on the other hand, did what he does best, made sure he interacted with everyone. He moved all across the stage, hung out in the back to tease Charlie Benante a bit, and gave it everything he had at that late hour. On the other side of the stage, which felt like miles away from me due to the minimal space we had, I noticed Frank Bello from afar as he would not stop smiling during his performance. It was hard to see Jonathan Donais, but I managed to get a glimpse and from what I could tell he had quite a bit of energy as well.
Belladonna mentioned to all how they were honored to be there for the good cause as they continued with their set. It was a throwback evening, where everyone let loose and enjoyed the craziness. Belladonna convinced many to form a mosh pit during the classic, “Caught in a Mosh.” The new songs “Monster At The End” and “Breathing Lightning” fit well mixed with the older tunes. I don’t think there’s much room for disappointment with anything from their catalog, as Anthrax is one of the few bands that have been persistent regarding their style.
I enjoyed seeing them close out with “Indians” as everyone either raised their phone for a last minute video or fist for a final scream along. It was intense, and Scott Ian promised that they would be back during the Spring for a headlining tour. I can never get tired of seeing Anthrax live, as they are possibly one of the best live acts. It was strange seeing them in such a tight-knit situation, but in the end, it was a once in a lifetime experience to be that close. All I have is gratitude for Anthrax; they pushed themselves with determination and devotion to their fans. It is something that many should take note of, despite how late that night ended they still managed to sign autographs at Rock Allegiance the next day. I don’t even think I have that energy as I spent most of that time sleeping. Thank you Anthrax for being simply put, awesome.
Here is the setlist from that night:
“I Am The Law”
“Monster At the End”
“Caught in a Mosh”
“March of the S.O.D.”
“Be All, End All”
“I’m the Man”