Anthrax brings their 40th Anniversary Tour to the Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas, one of the most diverse and popular tours of the year.
It is a hot and humid night in Las Vegas and a rare night that is threatening thunderstorms, but that is not stopping the crowd. They are lining up by 5:00 PM to get into the venue when the doors open and it is no surprise. All the bands on the bill are hugely popular and it has been far too long since the fans have had a chance to see them. Judging by the line, this is not one of those shows where most of the crowd is going to trickle in later. They are all arriving now which is to be expected with hardcore powerhouse Hatebreed opening the night.
Hatebreed is playing on a small stage which suits them perfectly. This band thrives from the energy of the crowd and being up close with them. Right from the beginning, you can tell this is not going to be a traditional Hatebreed set in a good way. “Destroy Everything” is the second song in the set which is usually saved for later but tonight it is getting the circle pit going right from the start. Jamey Jasta is his energetic self that doesn’t stop moving and all the band is having a great time and you can tell. There is the traditional singalong battle between Frank and Wayne’s side to see which half of the crowd is more diehard and tonight it is pretty even. The setlist is a mix of the old and new with tracks from their catalog and their new album including “A Stroke of Red,” “Instinctive (Slaughterlust),” and “Driven by Suffering,” before closing out their set with “Live for This” and “I Will be Heard.”The crowd is definitely pumped up and when the curtain drops to reveal the wall of speakers on the stage for Black Label Society, they only get more excited. Obviously, everyone knows Zakk Wylde is an amazing guitar player and the fact that he was just announced as part of the Pantera reunion tour is only making people more excited, but the rest of the band is great as well. They perfectly complement Wylde including a moment where he and Dario Corina play back to back with their guitars behind their heads. The set opens with “Funeral Bell” but the second song “Destroy and Conquer” seems really telling for the night and what is to come.
The band isn’t big on speaking to the crowd, they prefer to play. The tender moment comes when Zakk takes to the piano to play “In This River” before the set continues with the fast heavy guitars and songs that are expected with the performance culminating with “Fire it Up,” “Suicide Messiah” and “Stillborn.” At this point, a massive thunderstorm has broken out outside and somehow it seems to fit perfectly with the night. The crowd is pumped up and there is still one more band.Before Anthrax plays, there is a short video where other musicians talk about the impact Anthrax has had in their 40 years. The curtain falls and the energy explodes. Joey Belladonna has one of the best voices around and is definitely the best in the thrash genre. He is met with equal intensity by Scott Ian, Charlie Benante, and Frank Bello. The set opens strong like the rest tonight with “Among the Living,” “Caught in a Mosh,” and Madhouse. Joey, Scott, and Frank are all over the stage and the level of crowd interaction Joey has is intense. It is energizing to watch the set which includes “Antisocial” and “I am the Law” before it closes with “Indians.”
With a band like Anthrax, you can sometimes forget how long they have been around and how important to thrash and metal they are but this set just reinforces it. It is hot and late but no one in the crowd seems to be slowing down and no one is leaving early. When you watch this band, their energy is intense and infectious and it keeps the crowd going through the night.
The 40th Anniversary Tour is just starting its run and if it is coming to your town do not miss it. You will not get a chance to see three bands this influential to their genres together again. Get there early and stay late because you will not be disappointed.ANTHRAX
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