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Anthrax – February 3, 2023

Back in 2003 when I saw Anthrax in Providence, RI there were maybe a hundred people at a small club. John Bush was their singer at the time, and the show kicked ass for the few of us who were there to see it. But clearly, not a big draw in those days for some reason.

Fast forward to February 3, 2023 when I get to see them again at a sold out show at the Mohegan Sun arena in CT. Besides 20 years of time passing, what the hell happened!? How did it go from 100 people to a sold-out arena? Well, a few things happened. For one, their singer Joey Belladonna has been back in the band for a few years now. I’m a big fan of singer John Bush, but I guess the old hardcore fans prefer Joey. Two – this time around Exodus and Zakk Wylde were the opening acts instead of a shitty local band (I believe local band Imprint opened in 2003).

In 2003 a good group of us went to the show, but 20 years later, it was just me and my buddy Ryan. Exodus opened and they’re not my cup of tea. Yes I was familiar with them, have heard some of their stuff throughout the years, used to play them on the Sunday night radio show I did with my buddy Dan, but still not my cup of tea. They were cool though, and their fans were into it, and that’s all that matters.

Zakk Wylde was next, wearing his kilt. And to be clear, it was billed as Black Label Society, not Zakk Wylde. But really…same thing. Wylde is a great guitar player who has played with lots of big acts including Ozzy. It was awesome to just watch him shred all night. As an added bonus, he’s also the lead singer and plays the piano just to show off his talents. One thing I noticed after hearing him live (my first time! – what a loser) is that he has an Alice In Chains sound with Ozzy mixed in. It was quite cool. I’d gladly see Black Label again. He closed the show with their biggest song Stillborn, which if I’m not mistaken, features Ozzy on the album version.

Then it was time for Anthrax. One observation at this point is that a lot of people left after Black Label Society finished their set. I’m thinking it’s a different fanbase and a different draw because they didn’t go to the bathroom and come back, they just left.

Anyway, Scott Ian, founder of Anthrax, must have a deal with the devil because he really hasn’t aged. They’re calling this their 40th anniversary tour, though technically as Scott said, it’s really been 42 years since their first album. Yet, he’s not even 60 and still looks 40. Bastard!

As I said earlier, when it comes to the albums, I really like John Bush’s style of singing. I wasn’t sure what to expect with an aging Joey Belladonna and didn’t have the highest hopes. But holy shiz was I wrong. Joey can wail. I don’t know  how a 62 year old dude can hit and hold those high power metal notes. It was pretty awesome to see and hear!

They had a really cool opening video featuring a bunch of famous musicians (and Keanu Reeves) talking about the longevity and awesomeness of Anthrax. Then they opened with Among the Living.

Of course, they played two of my favorite Anthrax songs throughout the night: Metal Thrashing Mad and Only. I figured they would play both of these and both had me nervous since neither were originally recorded by Belladonna (though I think he’s since recorded both). Neil Turbin was the original singer for Metal Thrashing Mad but Joey didn’t disappoint. He nailed it! He can do the high notes so I shouldn’t have been surprised. But with Only, that was recorded with a much deeper tone by John Bush. Joey showed his versatility on this one. It was awesome!

They played all their hits (Anthrax hits, not radio hits because they maybe had 1 or 2 way back in the day) and it was a good show. The whole mosh/circle pit still happens at these shows apparently, though it was kind of pathetic to watch from our comfy seats overlooking the floor. Most of the dudes in the pit were either as old as the band, or just drunken douchebags. Yeah – I said it! They had two separate ones going until Scott told them to join into one. Why they couldn’t figure that at on their own, I don’t know. But I hate mosh pits anyway. I pay to watch the show and hear the band, not have some sweaty drunk a-hole slam into me all night.

Anyway! Great show, and here’s my recollection of the setlist:

  • Among the Living
  • Caught in a Mosh
  • Madhouse
  • Metal Thrashing Mad
  • Keep it in the Family
  • Antisocial
  • I Am the Law
  • In the End
  • Only
  • Got the Time
  • Bring the Noise (Scott IAM lead vocals)
  • Indians (Yup…at an Indian Casino)

No encore – they’re too metal I guess.

Metal Thrashing Mad

About Rob the Concert Guy

I love live music and will pretty much go to just about any concert. I've made a lot of friends because of my willingness to put that extra ticket to good use. I've been to hundreds of shows and finally I decided I should start writing about them. Better late than never I guess.


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