Van Halen Brings The “Truth” On 2012 Tour – Philadelphia Concert Review

March 07, 2012 By: Category: Entertainment, Videos

Van Halen PhiladelphiaAs fans of certain things in entertainment, we are at times found waiting for moments which may never occur, and at times left grasping at rumors to fill the void for what we badly yearn for. Without being in the industry, we can’t possibly understand the creative differences, or ego-fueled split ups that come to be between musicians, actors or even athletes.

Many times we don’t see a resolution, and our “what-ifs” stick with us for the rest of our lives. We may never see Charlie Sheen on “Two and a Half Men” again, we also may never see Peyton Manning wear number 18 for the Indianapolis Colts, but sometimes, as rock groups like The Eagles have shown us, hell can freeze over. Yes, for all of us who swore it could never happen, mega-rock band Van Halen continue on with David Lee Roth, and here in 2012, they are out to prove that they are stronger than ever!

Some 27 years after one of their best works, the album 1984, Van Halen found themselves back with lead singer David Lee Roth and releasing the new album titled “A Different Kind Of Truth”, and truth be told, it brings many of us back to the days of Van Halen being more of an instrument crashing rock band than a pop band singing radio friendly hits. The band has come back to its old roots, despite having Eddie’s son Wolfgang taking over at bass in place of former bassist Michael Anthony.

In the opinions of many, this is as real a Van Halen piece as ever since the carousel of lead singers went round and round. Roth comes back as if he never missed a day, or lost years to the likes of Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone. No, this is not an article being used to debate who was who but just to welcome back the original core to Van Halen.

So there I was, March 5th, 2012 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, waiting to judge for myself just what kind of band VH had become. Yes, I saw many of the YouTube clips from the bands tour in 2007/ 2008, which was stopped at times and re-started, and led in with no new album to support. Nothing can really do proper justice like sitting in an arena yourself and feeling the energy of the crowd, the sound, and the value of entertainment in which a band can produce. Here was the test for a band of 50-somethings and one 20 year old kid with legendary genes.

On this night the show was kicked off by an unusual choice of lead in acts, the 70’s R&B/ Funk producing Kool and the Gang. While the choice seemed strange to many rock purist, or plain ol’ rockers, Gang had the crowd jumping, and dancing through well-known hits such as ” Ladies Night “, “Get Down On It” and of course ” Celebration”. By the end of their set, the crowd seemed to go back in the time machine to the 1970’s, and it was as if the clock never moved, and we were all exactly where we wanted to be.

Within the crowd were plenty of 40+ year olds, partying and laughing and going back to a time when life was more simple. There was also many different age groups, even young kids who said they were there to hear “Tattoo”, one of the bands newest songs, which shows that generations of all sorts feel the magic behind the famous music family, and their ultimate showman lead singer. Males and females, young and old, Van Halen had a wide audience ready to be taken over by the force that their stage presence brings.

As the time finally came, Alex Van Halen made his way out first, sitting upon his drum set and softly pounding upon cymbals as Eddie and Wolfgang made their way to the stage. With just a few warm up chords under their belt, the band worked into a classic tune “Unchained “, and with Roth joining them on stage, with his usual flare, and flash, the show was under way. Another classic hit “Runnin With The Devil” came next before a new song ” She’s The Woman”.

After those 3, Roth took his turn at speaking to the crowd, being the entertainer and crowd friendly leader, almost like the ring leader of an amazing rock and roll circus. Roth gave a clever intro into the song “Tattoo” by showing risky body parts which were covered by the same type of artwork that was described in the song. The crowd by this time was in full throat, standing and cheering as the music played on. It was all too amazing to see how despite many years apart and leaving us wanting so much more, that we could easily forgive our favorites once they embrace us and each other again.

The show moved forward with more crowd-pleasing hits such as “Everybody Wants Some” and ” Somebody Get Me A Doctor” in which Roth claimed ” I’ll be ok, as long as some one gets me a shot!”, referring from his matters to either give him some women or a nice drink. In fact Roth made reference to the Kool and the Gang hit by declaring it “Ladies Night” in Philly, sparking the screams and groovy dance moves of pretty much every woman in attendance, as the band worked its way to the female homage paying number ” Oh, Pretty Woman”.

With a crowd still more than satisfied to remain standing, the hits continued, and the music was right on. Eddie was doing his usual running across stage, Roth was displaying his athletic kicks and shuffling dance moves. Alex blasted through his drum solo, and the young kid, Wolfgang, was claiming his spot in the band, strumming with a nice dose of confidence upon his bass guitar and singing his background vocals. Father and son shared the microphone at times, with Eddie messing with his sons hair, and even planting a kiss upon his sons face. Roth was seen giving the “OK” sign with his hand and Eddie the thumbs up as if they were pleased with all the goings-on with the band on stage.

Roth took a few minutes to own the stage solo, grabbing a guitar and playing a few notes while directing everyone’s attention to a video playing in the background of Roth’s dogs playing in a field. At this point you can see more of a fun-loving human being getting in touch with life and his fans, rather than a bickering, cocky ” rock-star” like Roth was believed to be in the late 70’s and 80’s. With some clever stories and well timed punch-lines mixed in, Roth then showed his range by playing and singing his blues-driven song “Ice Cream Man”. As the song ended, and the rest of the band came back out to join on the harder rock portion of the song, Roth smoothly played some scat singing, and ending with the lyrics “all my flavors are guaranteed to satisfy”, and satisfied we all were.

The highlight was clearly near the end, when after some more hits from the “1984” album Eddie Van Halen took center stage, all lights focused on him as he prepared for one of his legendary, Earth-shattering solos. Taking a seat on the steps set up on stage, Eddie held his guitar in his lap, almost like his baby, and made it speak to the crowd in a way that would fill everyone with chills. He tapped through strings and made sounds distinctive to only himself.

The crowd roared on, and Eddie kept going, faster and stronger than ever, screeching notes and smiling as if it was so very simple. From there he took everyone back down with his slower peaceful piece known as “Cathedral”, a solo piece that brought hand-clapping in sync with its notes, before sliding in to his most popular solo piece, the dazzling “Eruption”. The “Eruption” piece was always the measuring stick as to how “on” Eddie was, and if that was the case, you would have to put him at 100 percent!

With full momentum and power positive they raged through one of their very best hits “Ain’t Talkin Bout Love” which Roth claimed would be the last song of the night. Of course, always ready to please, Roth said after ” Alright, who wants one more song?” and after all the screams shook the ceiling, the band went into its closer, the “1984” hit “Jump”, which many say was the bands most popular song of that era, and one that put them clearly on the map as one of the most popular bands in rock music history. As the song came to an end, the band had showered the stage and the audience with tri-colored confetti, and Roth came out and waved his white and black checkered flag as if to say the race had ended, at least on this night.

In all it was an electric show, pacing itself properly, and giving the fans most of what it wanted, if not everything it wanted. The band showed that they were back, and that there is no question that they still know how to work their way through the tunes. From Dave to Sammy, from Gary back to Sammy, and eventually back to Dave, the band has survived its fall outs, its critics, and a host of real life problems to find themselves back on top again.

Some say they have aged and the style will never be quite the same, and to them I say that I wish I could age so well. Sure, there will be some nay-sayers, but for the true Van Halen fans this was a night they have waited decades for, and there was nothing to disappoint them. So for me and as for many I danced the night away with a warm feeling of an excellent show with one of my all time favorite bands!

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The Big 4 Indio Am I Evil Jam Videos

April 24, 2011 By: Category: Entertainment, Videos

The Big 4 concert videos in Indio, CAThe Big 4 America show featuring thrash pioneers Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth invaded Indio, CA. The show featured a reprisal of the Big Four jam on Am I Evil from the 2010 concert. Check out the Big 4 jam video featuring members of all bands from the California gig & bang your head!

One year later and the Big Four US tour continues to be in great demand by the heavy metal community. A mini version of the tour ripped through America last year as Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer teamed up for the American Carnage tour. I saw the Carnage show before Anthrax joined the tour with Testament and it was unbelievable. However, as much as I love those bands they aren’t going to get that big crossover crowd to their shows without Metallica on the bill.

I am starting to feel sorry for the guys in Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax. I haven’t seen or read an interview with any of those guys in the last twelve months which didn’t include a question about a Big 4 America tour. They all give the same answer and continue to tell metal fans that the ball is in Metallica’s court. So what are they waiting for?

Ironically the Big Four will tour again this summer overseas. The Indigo Big 4 show will be the only show on American soil this year. Most of the bands continue to say that they think America will get a full tour but nothing has been agreed upon or at least released to the public. With Metallica and Megadeth talking about recording new records in the near future and Anthrax getting to release new music, a 2012 summer tour to promote everyone’s new projects makes a ton of sense to me.

America will get a few nibbles of the heavy metal big four this summer. Megadeth will tour the country as part of the Rockstar Mayhem Festival. Slayer will tour with Rob Zombie and Exodus for a handful of dates in the United States this summer. Unfortunately Metallica and Anthrax have nothing booked in America this summer. I’ll be checking out the Slayer and Zombie show in Reading, PA so check back this summer for a full review.

So in the meantime enjoy the jam and continue to get excited and angry at the same time with the real possibility that the closest you will ever get to seeing a Big 4 concert in your lifetime is through videos. Although Metallica will have their entire show from the Indio Big 4 concert available for purchase on the Metallica website which is actually pretty cool.

And yes, only Dave Lombardo could get away with wearing a Hawaiian shirt to a thrash jam.

Megadeth: Rust in Peace Live

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The Big 4: Live From Sofia Bulgaria DVD

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Megadeth considering a 25th Anniversary Peace Sells tour

February 17, 2011 By: Category: Entertainment

Megadeth may celebrate 25 years of Peace Sells with a tourOne of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time, Megadeth – Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying turns 25 this year. Following in the trend of performing full classic albums on tour, Dave Mustaine has revealed plans to play the entire Peace Sells album live in 2011. Oh hell yeah!

Megadeth front man Dave Mustaine revealed the news to Dave Basner from VH1’s radio network.

“We’ve already had people talk to us about doing that, and I told our Manager that I’m totally interested in doing ‘Peace Sells’ for a 25th anniversary, but I don’t want to do it all year like we did with ‘Rust in Peace’.

“I want to do it towards the end of the year. So we’ll do the whole year doing our thing and then come around October, where the end of the year is, you’ve got a quarter of the year left, October, November and December, where we can do the ‘Peace Sells’ thing. You know, when you tour you’ve got to really be creative nowadays and when we tour, we like to tour-tour and then when we do special shows, which are called one-offs, we like to do real key one-offs. And I think it would be really cool to do a hard tour where you’re canvassing all the areas that you need to hit, and then if you do something symbolic like the ‘Peace Sells’ anniversary tour, just do like The Rolling Stones do, do 12 cities around the world.”

I caught Megadeth last year on the American Carnage Tour and they were phenomenal. Megadeth played the entire Rust in Peace album in addition to select favorites. Seeing Dave Mustaine shred those solos live from Rust was like watching Albert Einstein teach a science class. Even in his later years, Mustaine hasn’t lost one step and seeing him perform this album in its entirety is probably the most excited I have been for a tour since Slayer performed the entire Reign in Blood album several years ago.

Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir

As much as I loved seeing Dave Mustaine live for the first time in about 15 years the real bummer was the Megadeth  set list. Peace Sells is far and away my favorite Megadeth album so I was disappointed when only one song from the album appeared in his set. I have read interviews where Dave said he was dropping a lot of the old material from his set due to his new found religious interests. I get it but there are so many classic riffs on Peace Sells that only getting one song off the album on tour let me down a bit as a 25 year plus Megadeth fan. I have chills just thinking about seeing the entire album live.

The classic album performance is becoming a real successful trend in heavy metal concerts. Both Megadeth and Slayer performed classic albums in their entirety on the American Carnage Tour. Testament generally plays one classic album in their entirety on tour. Several other bands have done the same thing. It is a brilliant move if you think about it as it exposes classic albums to younger audiences and brings back fans that probably stopped going to concerts years ago.

Megadeth have been touring machines since releasing Endgame in 2009. Endgame has seemed to really revitalize the band and open them up to new audiences. I think Endgame is great and arguably their best album since Rust. The lineup is awesome and they sound tight as ever live. You really have to take your hat off to Dave Mustaine for the commitment and preservation that he has for this band at age 49.

Megadeth will hit the United States this summer first for a one-off Big Four show and then as part of the summer long Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival with In Flames, Disturbed, Godsmack, and Machine Head. The tour ends August 14. So my guess is that any kind of a Peace Sells tour or mini-tour probably wouldn’t happen until October or November.

Or maybe they save it until 2011 and include it in their set as part of the Big Four U.S. Tour. Now that would be epic!

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The Big Four US Tour Announcement Coming Soon – Updated

January 24, 2011 By: Category: Entertainment, Miscellaneous

Slayer and The Big Four are coming to America to tourThe wait may be over. It looks like The Big Four US tour announcement is imminent. An image posted on the Metallica website of a guitar pick reads The Big 4 with an American flag behind it. The thrash tour will feature heavy metal legends Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax.

The four pioneers of thrash metal music united for one of the biggest tours of all time in 2010 across Europe. The closest America got to the tour was a delayed simulcast of the Sonishphere concert featuring edited performances of all four bands. Performances from The Big Four movie were later released in full on a Big Four DVD set last October. The Big Four DVD went  double platinum selling in excess of 200,000 copies. Now America will have their chance to experience this metal magic live in their country.

Dates have not been announced for the tour as of this writing. I would imagine that a tour of this magnitude would take place in the summer to take advantage of stadiums and outdoor venues. I took a quick look at Slayer and Megadeth’s 2011 tour schedule. Slayer will hit the road at the end of February in Australia. Megadeth and Slayer will reunite in March and tour through Europe until early April. The bands are then scheduled to hit some festivals in Europe in July including a return to Sonisphere. Both bands appear open from mid-April-July 06 which is plenty of time for a 20-30 major city tour.

My guess is that if The Big Four US tour does take place in 2011 it will begin somewhere around the end of April and go through the end of June. Those would give the bands ideal weather for outdoor touring and plenty of opportunity to hit a variety of cities before the bands head back to Europe with some going their separate ways.

The buzz for this tour is unbelievable and has not stopped since the union was first announced for last year. Between silly band wars and bad timing, the four had never toured together and 2010 was the first time many of these pioneers shared the stage for the first time in decades. It is ironic as to how much Megadeth and Slayer have toured together going back to last year considering the public verbal spats the bands have had with one another for years. All seems forgiven considering Kerry King took the stage with Megadeth in California reuniting with Dave Mustaine for the first time since the 80s playing classic Megadeth.

Megadeth: Rust in Peace Live

I saw The Big Four movie and caught The American Carnage tour live in New Jersey last year. Most of these guys are probably in or near 50 but believe it or not, they still have it. Megadeth blew me away live in New Jersey and Slayer haven’t slowed down a bit. I was pleasantly surprised as to how great Joey Belladonna still sounds and the high notes he can still hit years later. Metallica are Metallica and while they aren’t my cup of tea these days, they still put on a hell of a show at last year’s The Big Four. If you have any hesitations about seeing your Metal Gods in their 50s fearing seeing them past their prime, have no fear because these guys all can still shred better than best of them.

Slayer – Live Intrusion DVD

I am real curious to see how this thrash metal bill does with American audiences. Unfortunately these types of tours are always big business in Europe yet it has been years since the U.S. got a bill this good. Sure there have been some good Ozzfest lineups but nothing remotely close to The Big Four. The DVD sales show an obvious interest and resurgence in heavy metal and rightfully so considering most of the garbage on radio these days. An event like this on American soil could be enough to not only bring back some old metal heads but revitalize the genre and integrate it back into teenage and American pop culture.

I certainly hope so.

Updated – The first Big Four America tour date has been announced. Big Four tickets for April 23 in Indio, California go on sale Friday January 28. For more information check out the Big Four website. The press release reads as if this will be the only show in the U.S. which contradicts a ton of earlier reports.

The Big 4: Live From Sofia Bulgaria DVD

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Full Details on the Big Four Concert DVD

August 31, 2010 By: Category: Entertainment

Big Four TourThe Big Four tour featured the four kings of thrash metal Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax. Metallica has confirmed that the show will be coming to DVD. The Big Four: Live From Sofia, Bulgaria will feature full sets and will crash into homes this October.

Metallica posted a message on their website confirming the release of the Big Four DVD.

“Here’s the scoop: The DVD hits the streets on October 15 in Northern Europe, October 18 in most of the rest of the world, October 19 in North America and the full shows from all four bands will be included in the two-disc set along with behind-the-scenes and interview footage. In addition to the two-DVD set and the corresponding Blu-ray, there will be a limited-edition ‘super deluxe’ box set including the DVD set, five CDs with ALL the music, a 24-page booklet, a poster, photos of each band, and a ‘Big Four’ guitar pick.”

The Big Four: Live From Sofia, Bulgaria” DVD and Blu-ray contains footage of the June 22, 2010 Sonisphere cinecast from the Sofia, Bulgaria leg of the touring rock festival featuring the “Big Four” of 1980s thrash metal — METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX.

I caught the Big Four in movie theaters and the show lived up to its billing. If you covered your eyes, you would think that you were listening to a metal bootleg from 1988. All four bands were on top of their game and I felt that the show was just as much a tribute to thrash fans like us who stayed true to our music as it was the bands themselves. It was really a surreal experience and if you missed out, now is your chance to see the historic metal concert.

Slayer – Live Intrusion

What I like most about The Big Four: Live From Sofia, Bulgaria DVD is that it will feature full sets from each band. The Big Four performances that were beamed to movie theaters were cut to about 45 minutes a band, leaving a good chunk material on the cutting room floor from all four bands. As great as the band sets were in the satellite broadcast, the full sets looked even better. Anthrax – Medusa, Megadeth – Wake up Dead, Slayer – Hell Awaits, as well as a few good Metallica tunes were just a few of the gems that never made it to the Big Four movie broadcast that will be included in the DVD.

Rust In Peace DVD (Live)

There are a lot of Big Four rumors about a summer 2011 or summer 2012 tour. Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth will be touring together for the second leg of the American Carnage Tour shortly, which probably doesn’t bode well for fans hoping for a Big Four tour. Then again what makes these bands so great are their unpredictability and you never know what these guys are all going to come up with next.

The Big Four: Live From Sofia, Bulgaria hits North America October 19, just in time for a heavy metal holiday.

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The Big Four Review – Holy Metal Mayhem!

June 28, 2010 By: Category: Entertainment

Tom ArayaFour names that bring metal fans into a frenzy would definitely be Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax and Metallica. Some of us have been lucky enough to see either one, or all of these bands.How many of us have seen all four at the same time? Thanks to technology these days, I was lucky enough to attend a viewing of The Big Four concert on June 22nd with my brother Eric. It’s because of him I have listened and loved these bands, and it is also because of him I was lucky enough to catch such an amazing piece of history.

When I was told about this concert coming to a local movie theater, I made sure I was there. Going to anything concert related gets the anxiousness brewing in me. So when time came to enter what was to be the sanctuary of metal for one night, I was pumped. I didn’t expect to see many people among us, but man was I wrong. There were old metal heads, father and son metal heads, boyfriend and girlfriend metal heads, and of course the brother metal heads. No matter the age, the theater was about 3/4ths full to see the legends tear up the silver screen.

Anthrax opened the set and really set the bar. I found myself sitting in my seat, shaking my head with how heavy and fast they came out. Joey Belladonna surprisingly kept his signature voice and high notes in tact the entire set. In the middle of Indians, Anthrax went into a quick rendition of Heaven and Hell. They really shined on this rendition, and everyone quickly applauded their show of respect to fallen singer Ronnie James Dio. After they finished the set, my brother looked at me and said, “How can you top that?” I really didn’t know the answer, and had to find out for myself.

I am lucky enough to get to see Megadeth and Slayer this summer, so getting to see the two this night was quite exciting. Dave Mustaine and company ripped it to shreds! Since Dave has gotten sober, he can shred an axe like I have never seen. I found myself playing air guitar a bunch during this set, and it was well deserved. I kept thinking how it really felt like I was a part of the show and I had this incredible urge to just get up and mosh. It was also really cool to watch Megadeth play their set while it down poured. I have always been a fan of Megadeth, but watching them really drew me back in to listening to them. I personally can’t wait to see them on the American Carnage tour.

Did I mention Slayer was playing on this bill? When they flashed those six letters across the screen, everyone got psyched. There were quite a few Slayer bellows, myself included. Slayer brought out the moshing in the movie theater. They started with World Painted Blood, which was an interesting choice to kick off a set with. They, like the other two bands, covered all the classics. The only complaint Eric and I had was that it seemed like they were just starting to really fire up, and then they ended. Despite that, Tom Araya played solid for just having neck surgery six months back. After all these years, they still kill it. If you get a chance, go see them. I’m going to see them for the 10th time live this summer, and I am very excited about it.

The night capped with a rocking performance by Metallica. I always liked how they start off a set with Ennio Morricone blaring over the PA, getting the crowd psyched. I felt like I was watching the old Metallica play, and also seeing flashes of Cliff and Jason on bass throughout the set. My only complaint was that they played The Unforgiven at the most wrong time. You should never play a slow song in the middle of a killer set. For an encore, they brought out every band to play Am I Evil, minus 3/4ths of Slayer. How chilling was it watching Dave Mustaine singing with the same band that axed him many years back? Get the DVD to see. Metallica closing out an amazing night was the right move for sure. This was one night Bulgarian’s will not soon forget.

This concert was so worth the price of tickets, and the twenty two dollars for two sodas and two pretzel pieces with cheese. The tribute they did for Dio was cool, and some of the stories told were pretty funny. The Big Four was so good, I went to the encore two nights later with my best friend. He also thought the show was awesome, and also rocked out the most during Slayer’s set. When the DVD comes out, go buy it. If they tour here in the States, go see them. I witnessed history June 22nd, 2010. The smile and memories will not, and cannot be erased. I left the movie theater all smiles, a little more deaf, and ready for this summer. If you missed out, you should hang your head in shame. The Big Four was awesome, and I know about 100,000 people who can back me up on that one.

Josh Usher has been a fan of music, and heavy metal in general, for over 20 years.

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The Big Four Concert: Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth Videos

June 27, 2010 By: Category: Entertainment, Videos

Big Four TourThe Big Four concert may be out of movie theaters but you can still catch the performances online in HD. Sonishphere performances from Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax have made their way to the Internet. Watch the Big Four concert videos and relive one of the greatest nights in metal music history.

The Big Four Concert: Slayer

Watch the rest of the Big Four Slayer here.

The Big Four Concert: Megadeth

Watch the Big Four Megadeth here.

The Big Four Concert: Anthrax

Watch the rest of the Big Four Anthrax here.

The Big Four Concert: Metallica

Watch the rest of the Big Four Metallica here.

The entire Big Four Concert DVD with bonus footage and interviews will be released later this year.

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The Big Four Tour Coming To US Movie Theaters

June 09, 2010 By: Category: Entertainment, Miscellaneous

Big Four TourMetal fans went nuts with the announcement of the Big Four Tour featuring Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, and Metallica. Joy soon turned to anger for Americans when it was announced that this was a Europe-only tour. Metal heads fear not as the Big Four Tour is coming to a movie theater near you.

It was announced this week that the entire Big Four concert featuring Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Metallica will be simulcast on theaters across the UK and America. The Bulgarian leg of the tour will be beamed live on June 22 to a movie theater near you. The entire show will be broadcast live and in HD. The live movie simulcast for a heavy metal concert tour like this in America is truly unprecedented.

The Big Four tour website has links to movie theater locations in the UK and the USA. I was stunned to see how many places in America will be broadcasting the show. I expected a handful of independent movie theaters here and there to have it, but there are 8 full pages of listings on the website. As long as you live near a big city, you can see it. There are a few IMAX theaters listed, although that doesn’t necessarily mean the show will be on the IMAX screens but how cool would that be?

The Big Four Tour website reads, “The Big Four: Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, presented by NCM Fathom and BY Experience will feature nearly 4 hours of live performances and behind-the-scenes from the Sonisphere Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria.”

This is tremendous news for metal fans like me that grew up on these four thrash legends. I never expected this tour to ever take place, nor did I expect to see it in America. The sad news here is that this probably means the tour will never hit the states. Slayer and Megadeth will be playing the American Carnage Tour through September which eliminates this year. There is a possibility they could try this next summer. Yet anything can happen when you talk about these four bands and lineup changes in Megadeth and Anthrax so who knows what next year will bring. It is a nice thing to think about, but I don’t have a lot of hope that the tour hits the states.

It really amazes me that it took four decades to put a tour like this together. I was lucky enough to see three of the four bands together on the Clash of the Titans bill 20 years ago. Considering that it took 20 years to put together something like this, I hope the bands don’t waste time preparing for a US swing. Some people say that metal is dead in America as a live show. I disagree. Give us tours like this and you will be turning thousands away.

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Click here to see if the Big Four Tour is playing live at a movie theater near you.

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Metal Bands Setting a New Trend in Music and Social Media

May 07, 2009 By: Category: Entertainment

I wrote a blog a few weeks ago about Megadeth’s recent set at the Revolver Gods award show. Megadeth gave fans an opportunity to pick their set list. Following in the trend, are fellow thrash legends Testament. Could this be the new trend in resurrecting the concert business?

I was intrigued when I first saw Megadeth do this. There is nothing worse than getting a horrible set list from your favorite band. Iron Maiden did this a few years ago when they played mostly new songs with a few classics on tour. It can be a tricky thing when you talk about bands with deep catalogs. One of my all-time favorite bands, Testament is taking this to a whole new level for their upcoming North American tour.

Testament have embraced the Internet and social media like no other band that I know of. Testament posted three different set lists for their upcoming tour on their My Space page. To make things even more interactive, Testament are allowing fans to pick lists per city. This goes way beyond Megadeth and other bands who have dabbled in this but only allowed fans to pick one set list for the entire tour. I think this is brilliant.

On a marketing level alone, it is pure genius and I am surprised other bands haven’t done this. Testament have a loyal fan following going back over twenty years. For those fans, these polls allow fans to pick their favorite songs that may not have heard since they were teenagers. At the same time, this gives fans an incentive to see the band more than once on tour. If you know you will see two completely different set lists, why not travel an extra hour or two to check out your favorite band?

I remember seeing Metallica a few times when they came around on the Black tour. The incentive was the buzz that they would change their set lists if they played the same city twice. It was cool, but nothing really changed much other than one or two songs. If I knew I was going to see a completely different set list, I would have gladly went to see them numerous times. I did, but I didn’t get the promised variety that I had expected.

The music business is a dying business. The only way for these bands (especially the older ones) to make money anymore is by touring. Unfortunately most bands become stuck in the same rut and play the same five classics every tour. Metal fans are incredibly loyal to their favorite bands. As long as the bands give a little something back, metal fans will keep on coming and spread the word. I have a strong feeling that this is only the beginning of a new trend in social media and the music business.

Check out Testament’s newest CD, the Formation of Damnation by clicking here.

Order Testament – The New Order on CD by clicking here.

Order Testament – The Legacy on CD by clicking here.

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