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Friday, 25 June 2010

Guest Blog - The Red Wizard and The Big 4

This week, The Red Wizard provides us with the first guest blog in Metal Harmony history. Our resident guitar aficionado and Mikael Akerfeldt lookalike was at one of the screenings of the Big 4 thrash extravaganza, the lucky bastard. Here's how it went down...

I have MADman to thank for getting to the screening of the Big 4's performance at Sonisphere, Bulgaria as if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have even known anything about it. So with 2 tickets booked for me and the missus we hit the pub for a swift pint before going to the cinema just in time to grab another cold one in the bar. We found our seats as the warm up began.

This consisted mainly of motormouth Lars, Scott Ian and Dave Mustaine talking about how great they are and how Lars created the universe. Lots of back slapping etc. Naturally Lars was the only one that looked comfortable, with Dave hunched forward with his hair over his eyes. Nothing particularly interesting.

So onto the show…

With Anthrax drawing the short straw it’s their job to open and they come out all guns blazing with a true thrash anthem in Caught in a Mosh. Once again Joey Belladonna is back in the band (for what is the third time now) but he’s in good form and boy does he prove it when they play Indians. Halfway through the song we hear the familiar intro to Heaven And Hell and the cinema and crowd at Sofia go crazy as Anthrax pay tribute to the recently departed Ronnie James Dio. Joey manages all the high notes effortlessly and it’s a joy to watch. After Anthrax we decided to smash another beer but whilst we were at the bar we were told Megadeth had already started. So much for it being live. There was obviously a delay so as to skip the changeover between bands. Beers smashed we rushed back into the cinema to hear Hanger 18 played with ferocity by Mustaine and crew. It was so cool to see 'Baby Dave' David Ellefson back on bass especially as this occasion was so huge. With a set picked mostly from Rust In Piece they got a fantastic response.

"Slayer! Slayer! Slayer!" You’ve heard it so many times before they step out on stage and when they do, they're still one of the most formidable looking bands ever. Opening number Hate Worldwide saw the Slayer fans crying out to cinema staff to turn it up as it did sound far too quiet for Slayer, so sensibly the volume was increased. I have to say their set was a bit lacklustre; sure they played great and had tremendous power but something seemed to be missing.

It was no surprise that Metallica would headline this little jaunt and when the sound of Ennio Morricone’s the Ecstasy of Gold seeps out of the p.a. the crowd starts to go crazy. I could tell you all about their set but all you need to know is this. …

Their first encore was Am I Evil and they were joined onstage by Anthrax, Dave Lombardo AND MEGADETH! Yes thrash fans, you heard that right. James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine, whose bitter rivalry is almost as famous as the two bands themselves, were stood side by side onstage. I never thought I would ever see the day when they would play on stage together again.

And so to close.

This was a unique chance to see the four biggest thrash metal bands perform onstage together. I was surprised to discover the cinema wasn’t full and the crowd inside it seemed pretty tame. They needed a little encouragement from this Red Wizard to start throwing horns clapping and cheering. The fact we couldn’t take beer into the cinema sucked and I also learnt Sofia, Bulgaria has the lamest circle pits in the universe. We hit the local metal pub for another beer and reflection. Seeing metal bands in the cinema is certainly cheaper and closer than travelling to gigs but it’s no substitute to actually being there sitting in a field smashing beers and feeling the full force of metal hitting you like a sledgehammer.

So with this epic cinematic experience behind him, our man in Scotland hands back the reins. I truly wish I could have seen this show but I already had tickets for Sex & The City 2 that day.

Until next week,



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