The Big Four featuring Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, Metallica Silver City Theatre, Victoria BC June 22

The Big Four featuring Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, Metallica Silver City Theatre, Victoria BC June 22
It's a strange proposition: a heavy metal concert filmed in Bulgaria to be shown at movie theatres around the world later that day. And not just any concert: it was thrash metal's Big Four — Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica — playing one of their first-ever shows together. But, somehow, this strange proposition worked.

Watching a metal concert film in a movie theatre with a pile of drunken bangers is an amazing experience, as it turns out (fave comment from a metalhead standing up to leave as headliners Metallica take the screen: "I don't like fucking country music!"; fave comment from a metalhead who thinks Slayer can hear him through the movie screen: "Play fucking 'Angel of Death'!").

Anthrax were as good of an opener as could be hoped for, showing a remarkable tightness in their instrumentation, to counteract returning vocalist Joey Belladonna's not-quite-there performance. Megadeth were on second and continued the poor vocals theme, Dave Mustaine sounding like an exhausted ghoul for most of the band's otherwise amazing set. Guitar solos rarely sound so good.

Slayer looked as if they didn't have much to prove; they know that of the Big Four, as they're the ones who have wavered the least and who still keep things extreme. Their high-energy set was also the only one that showcased newer material that stood up against their classics.

The night was Metallica's, though, as it always is. The band can control a crowd like the other three bands just can't, and even when their playing is sloppy and the vocals sound weak, it's still fucking Metallica, and they're still a great live band.

The highlight was when all four bands joined together on stage during Metallica's set for a rendition of Diamond Head's "Am I Evil?" It was such a historic metal moment that everyone in that theatre forgot about their popcorn and cramped seats for a few minutes while watching metal history unfold, in HD.