- Posted March 25, 2013 by
Caught In A Mosh - Anthrax at the House of Blues Anaheim
I have lost track of the number of times that I have seen Anthrax live. I have seen them on both coasts in venues ranging from intimate clubs to a field in Indio, California where 50,000 people attended the Big Four show. A seemingly constantly revolving lineup, along with temporary substitutions due to family and other personal issues, has meant the band is usually never exactly the same as the last time I saw them, but their energy and level of performance never seems to waiver. Their show on Friday night at the House of Blues in Anaheim was no exception.
I was unfamiliar with the three opening acts on this first night of the Metal Alliance Tour. Holy Grail did not seem to me like they had matured completely as musicians or as a band. There were a lot of mastabatory harmanized guitar solos. Municipal Waste showed their experience and definitely amped up the crowd. I just did not get High on Fire.
Exodus is also on the tour but was not on Friday night’s bill. Allegations were made from the stage and on Facebook that this was due to a prohibition from the Disney corporation. If this was the case, it is disappointing that they are censoring bands from venues that are on their property.
The advertising for the show states that Anthrax would be playing their album Among the Living in it’s entirety and they jumped right in as they took the stage to an enthusiastic crowd. However, after completing the first side a pre recorded version of “Hymn 1” from their last album, Worship Music played from the PA. Followed by “In the End” from the same album, which included a seemingly heartfelt tribute to Dimebag Darrell and Ronnie James Dio. This added an emotional dimension that is not usually present at these types of shows.
I usually do not like the format of playing albums live, which removes edginess that comes from not knowing the order of the songs. It also means that weaker songs are not evolved out of the set. Anthrax removed the first problem by breaking the album into its two sides. They solved the second by bringing their A game to the second side of the album.
After playing their cover of “TNT” from their brand new album, Anthems, and another song from Worship Music, they headed back into Among the Living with “Indians.” For anyone who has been to a Anthrax show before, it was no surprise that the pit became the focus of the show as the band got to the “war dance” portion of the song. Despite a couple of unneeded apologies that they were headed into songs that they did not usually perform, they finished out the album on a strong note and left the stage.
The calls back to the stage were answered with “I’m the Man,” which I have not seen them perform in several years. They ended the night with a highly energetic performance of “Anti-Social.”
As the lights came back on I could not help but to think of the adage of “always leave them wanting more.” The band had definitely delivered, and the crowd seemed to agree as we mixed in with the tourists leaving Disney’s Magic Kingdom. However, they had missed playing favorites such as “Got the Time,” “Only” and my personal favorite “Finale.” Ironically, it is Walt Disney who is credited by some with this advice.