Metal Alliance Tour featuring Anthrax @ First Avenue 4/4/13 - Review

11:35 AM

Review by Justin Mishler

Among the top thrash albums of all time firmly sits Anthrax’s Among the Living; the album that is the band's focus on this spring’s Metal Alliance tour. Performing the album for the first time in its entirety, the guys in Anthrax don’t show their age at all.  When I first picked up Among the Living in 1989, critics raved about the energy the Rolling Stones had on their Steel Wheels tour (Jaggar was 45 in 1989). Now, 20-some years later, Scott Ian has surpassed the age of the Jaggar of  ’89, and the Thrash Masters’energy hasn't waned.  This is the new standard of Rock and Roll stamina!

Bassist Frank Bello is the under-appreciated hype man of Anthrax – he’s constantly running from one side of the stage to the other, stopping only to encourage the crowd to have as much fun as he’s having.  The show was phenomenal – unfortunately the crowd started out somewhat subdued. A fact not lost on Joey Belladonna early in the set when he was trying to get them to chat ‘I….Am….The…Law`.  Referring to the crowd as ‘too stoned’ to keep up, it took him three tries to get the audience on the same page.

The performance of the album was broken up into side 1 and side 2 – kudos to Anthrax for making their own rules; however, I’m conflicted with this approach. Side 1 ends with Skeletons in the Closet, while side 2 begins with Indians – this has the potential for a non-stop assault. Instead, Anthrax approached this as an opportunity to promote its latest EP (Anthems) as well as its last LP (Worship Music) by breaking up these two sides.  As I said, I’m conflicted.  I've seen other performers do entire albums (Primus, Roger Waters, Dream Theater) and I love that Anthrax did it on their own terms by breaking up the album and inserting new material, especially since Anthems was released a mere 2 weeks ago.  But the crowd seemed confused and lost when Indians wasn't played immediately following Skeletons.

The ‘intermission’ contained Worship Music’s  In the End, a tribute to Pantera’s Dimebag Darrel and the late metal icon Ronnie James Dio with banners of each of these performers hung over the amps – a very tasteful tribute to the bands friends and heroes.  Bands should promote new albums, so performing ‘TNT’ (an AC/DC cover) off of Anthems was a smart business move.  The fact that Indians is the first track on the second side really did bring the band and crowd back together.  As expected, the WarDance did not disappoint – Scott Ian addressed the crowd after the song stating that typically, if the crowd isn't into it, the band has no problem stopping the song until everyone is "having as much fun as we are and we didn't stop you" – good job Minneapolis.

The encore kept the fun going with I’m The Man and Antisocial, with admitted Vikings super fan, Joey, performing in a Favre Vikings jersey. Metal and its followers are not gone and Anthrax is more than happy to be there to remind us!

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