On This Day in Metal: April 23rd 2011 The Big 4 Concert Was Held In America For The First Time

On This Day in Metal: April 23rd 2011 The Big 4 Concert Was Held In America For The First Time

They said this would never happen. How could it? I mean the after all the bad stuff Dave Mustaine said about Metallica during the years you think this would be a no go.

But it did and thank fuck it did!! 50, 000 screaming metalheads all packed together to witness Heavy Metal history.

Lars was quoted in Rolling Stone...   “The camaraderie is real. There’s a segment of the metal community that would rather still have us feuding – it’s like, ‘It’s much more fun when Dave [Mustaine, who was kicked out of Metallica in 1983] and Lars hate each other, or when Kerry King talks shit about Metallica.’ Obviously, everybody was very competitive, but there’s nothing to be competitive about now.”

Anthrax ripped into their 1987 classic “Caught In A Mosh” to open the show, concertgoers rushed the stage pumping their fists and throwing up devil signs, and didn’t let up for the whole set despite the dusty desert heat.

“We had a lot of adrenaline, playing a new song in front of 50,000 people,” guitarist Scott Ian said moments after coming off stage. “It was pretty overwhelming – the emotion coming off the crowd was unlike any I’d felt in the United States before.”

Next onstage came Megadeth who performed an amazing set of 12 songs. The band played “Peace Sells” and “A Tout Le Monde” and all the other classics during their hour long set.

Introducing the final song, “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due,” Mustaine invoked recent global tragedies involving earthquakes and tsunamis, and railed against how we pit “nation against nation.”

Next up was Slayer who went through many of their classics including “War Ensemble,” “Raining Blood” and a killer version of “Seasons In The Abyss,” Slayer, who have been touring with Exodus guitarist Gary Holt filling in admirably for injured guitarist Jeff Hanneman.

Slayer actually provided the heaviest moment in the season’s heaviest concert: when Slayer co-founder/guitarist Jeff Hanneman came out for the group’s last two songs, “South Of Heaven” and “Angel of Death.” Hanneman’s appearance was unexpected: He hasn’t performed with Slayer for most of 2011 due to suffering from necrotic fasciitis.

Finally Metallica hit the stage blasting into “Creeping Death” the perfect opener. Singer James Hetfield was on a mission and delivered, smiling a huge grin throughout.

Guitarist Kirk Hammett was shredding above and beyond all night. He was on fire, and so was the crowd-literally, as bonfires erupted about halfway through the set.

Playing some songs from their last album Death Magnetic plus the classics, fans who stood there for over 7 hours got their money's worth.

For the encore, Metallica brought out nearly every member of the “Big 4” bands to play together on a raucous cover of “Am I Evil?” – a song originally by “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” band Diamond Head, and a key influence on this generation of headbangers. The crowd audibly gasped when Mustaine walked onstage – but the ensuing performance showed that the once infamous thrash-band rivalries were now a thing of the past.

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