METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX — the so-called "Big Four" of 1980s thrash metal — played together for the first time in history this past Wednesday night (June 16) in front of 81,000 fans at the Sonisphere festival at Bemowo Airport in Warsaw, Poland.
A video interview with ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante conducted by NME TV before the band performed in Warsaw can be viewed below.
"Last year, when METALLICA were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Scott [Ian, ANTHRAX guitarist] and I were invited by them to go," Charlie said. "And after, we were at a bar, and it was Scott and I and Lars [Ulrich, METALLICA drummer], and we were talking, and Lars just said to us, 'Wow, what about doing a 'Big Four?' Wouldn't that be cool?' And Scott and I looked at each other, like, 'Yeah, that would be great.' And maybe that was it. Maybe that's how it all happened. And it was all put together. And here we are."
"Joey Belladonna [vocals] is back with us, and we're very happy about that."
"We have a little thing we're gonna do as a tribute to Ronnie Dio that we're gonna incorporate into our show, because that was something that kind of hit us all a bit hard, because Dio is one of our... We looked up to him not only as a singer but just as a human being. He was just such an awesome person. So it's our little tribute to him."
"Last night [Tuesday, June 15] we hung out until, like, five in the morning. It was a dinner and it was just the four bands [METALLICA, ANTHRAX, SLAYER and MEGADETH], and it was awesome. We all just got together and it was like a high school reunion, and it was beautiful."
"Everybody's really stoked and pumped about this — meaning the bands are very excited about it, and that was a good thing to see. It was just real genuine, so I'm very happy about that."
"We never thought that far down the line at all. I mean, we've played shows together — ANTHRAX and METALLICA; or ANTHRAX, SLAYER and MEGADETH; but it's never been the four of us together, so I guess this is a metalhead's dream — to come and see this, and it's happening here first."
ANTHRAX's setlist was as follows:
01. Caught in a Mosh
02. Got the Time (JOE JACKSON cover)
04. Heaven and Hell (BLACK SABBATH cover)
05. Antisocial (TRUST cover)
08. Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
09. I Am The Law
ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian previously stated about the "Big Four" tour: "This is a metal fan's dream.
"Looking at this, not only as one of the bands playing on the show, which is fucking awesome, but from the point of view of a fan of SLAYER and MEGADETH and METALLICA, I just think it's the best show.
"The guys in the bands have all been talking about the possibility of this tour happening for probably 20 years.
"When we did Clash of the Titans in the states in 1991 with ANTHRAX, SLAYER and MEGADETH, we said, 'God, if only we had METALLICA on this, it would be the ultimate tour of all time.' And here we are in 2010 for what is for me the ultimate metal show.
"It's an unbelievable thing for someone to come see this and the fans should know that the bands are just as excited about it as they are.
"The idea of getting on that stage [Wednesday night] in front of the that giant crowd in Poland and representing the big four as the first one up, I feel we have a responsibility to be the best ANTHRAX we've ever been. I think all the bands feel that way and have a huge sense of gratitude to the audiences coming to see this.
"The bottom line is that a lot of genres of music come and go. We've seen a lot come and go over the past 27 years. But what we do, we keep doing because of the fans and that means so much to us that the music we make still means so much to so many people around the world.
"The rest of the world is clamoring for shows.
"Whether we do the U.S. is out of hands. That's a METALLICA question. For this [European run of dates], we kept hearing the rumors and I kept calling Kirk [Hammett, METALLICA guitarist] and he kept denying it and then one time he finally said, 'Yes, it's going to happen, but don't say anything.' I think it's going to be the same with other territories. We're already hearing rumors about other places in the world. And I think eventually it will be a worldwide adventure."
The "Big Four" concert on June 22 in Sofia, Bulgaria will find its way to the U.S. via a satellite broadcast. That day's show, as part of the Sonisphere festival, will be beamed to more than 450 movie theatres in more than 140 markets in the U.S., along with cities in Europe, Canada and Latin America.
The concert will be broadcast to theatres in high definition. Delayed screenings are planned for Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.