|Oh yes, it's Anthrax|
Thanks to Mr Jon Whitehead lending me Master Of Puppets back in 87, I have been a convert to what is known as THRASH METAL. So back then I was able to see many of the major names of the scene, Metallica, Megadeth, Testament, Slayer, but one band eluded me, that being Anthrax. With their punky approach to thrash and a love of Judge Dredd, they soon became one of my fave metal bands, but in 92 Mr Belladonna left the band and replaced by a number of competent singers. None of these had what Joey had, that Dickinsonesque/Dio power vocal, and so my chances of seeing Anthrax disappeared.
BUT in 2005, Joey was invited back to tour with the band, along with John Bush their current singer. This tour was short lived and Joey went back to whatever he was doing before and Anthrax continued with John Bush. My hopes where raised and dashed simultaneously, as I had missed the tour, but a DVD was available, purchases made, viewing commenced and enjoyment followed.
Fast forward to 2010, and the grand reunion and magnificent new album with the wonderful Mr Belladonna on vocals, and a big four tour with Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer. Again getting to these gigs became problematic as most of them were in Europe until they played at Knebworth as part of Sonisphere and a weekend ticket was a little expensive.
So here we are in 2012, noodling on Facebook and a tour has been proposed, Anthrax and Motorhead, with the existing line up. So that means it's Mr Belladonna doing his stuff, time to buy a ticket.
Rob CaggianoWhy is it that no matter how well planned, or careful I am to get somewhere or see something, situations arise to foil it. A wet evenings drive to Manchester eventually led to a huge tailback on the motorway into the city. My sat nav is showing me I have around a mile before I get to the Apollo, but all I can see are brake lights into the distance. Anthrax are the support band for tonight and so will be on stage quite soon. Time ticks on, slowly crawling to my destination, that destination I can now see on the other side of the roundabout. Eventually I am able to park on the spare land round the back of the venue, gathering up my ticket I speedily rush around and enter the Apollo.
A quick look up at the t-shirts and I want one, but the band will be on too soon for me to fight through the queue, that will have to be later, I have a band to see.
Worming my way through the crown I find a nice spot behind the mixing desk, obviously it's the best position for the best sound. A grin is forming on my face, finally I am here.
What can I say, apart from it was quite emotional, they are there, I am here, and playing many of my fave tracks, both old and new.
Set List : Worship, Caught In A Mosh, Fight 'Em Til You Can't, Antisocial, Indians, Hymn 1, In The End, Madhouse, Got The Time and I Am The Law.
The sound is perfect, not the usual bassy throb you get these days, but a nicely focused, well rounded, crisp mix. All the band are pumped up, the replacement drummer Jon Dette fills in for Benante due to some personal reasons. All the while Scott Ian whips up the crowd with his enthusiasm, even stopping Indians part way through to make sure the balcony dwellers are having a good time. Joey runs around the stage possessed and rejuvinated with his trademark microphone stand, his voice cutting through the immense sonic assault. At one point just before the start of Indians he spots that someone has a Native American Headress for him, of course he cannot pass this opportunity, makes his way to the fan and commences to wear it for the entire song, running from fellow Anthraxian to Anthraxian what he has on his head. The band love it, and you feel the intensity rise to a Spinal Tap 11. Frankie Bello blitzes through the set, singing along every lyric, stomping from left to right, showing off his skills during Got The Time and its subsequent solo. Rob Caggiano provides a counter point to Scott Ian, widdling when widdling is needed and chugging under his beany hat.
There is an atmosphere here right now that you cannot fully explain, apart from actually being here, tonight there is a connectivity between the band and audience that I have not experienced that often at gigs, apart from at a Cardiacs gig where you feel you are part of an extended family.
Anthrax end their set with I Am The Law, and we feel it, tonight WE ARE THE LAW, DROKK IT.
Eventually all must come to an end and Motorhead take over the stage, somehow the electricity that charged the room during Anthrax's set has dissapated, well this is Motorhead and they play rock n roll, Lemmy by numbers and all that. I stay to watch their set, I like a few songs, but they do tend to blend into each other after a while. Ah well.
Until next time, maybe a headline tour for Anthrax in 2013, that would be something to look forward to.......
...... and yes I did get myself a t-shirt, nicely emblazoned on the front is Judge Death, with dates on the back. I don't usually buy t-shirts at gigs, but tonight has been a special night, treated myself I did.