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Anthrax in Long Beach, CA With Photos!

By Charlie Steffens aka Gnarly Charlie, Writer/Photographer
Wednesday, November 9, 2005 @ 12:20 AM


Long Beach Arena 10/30/05

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Los Angeles has been Thraxinated!

Anthrax, the ever so excellent thrash-metal band that less than a year ago reunited to become the “Among the Living” line-up again. The Anthrax lineup is Charlie Benante, Dan Spitz, Scott Ian, Joey Belladonna and Frankie Bello.

The Long Beach Arena and fucked up hearing have been known to go together. Iron Maiden’s frequent flyer and very vocal frontman Bruce Dickinson (the guy’s really yoked, get it?) once told a Long Beach Arena audience a prophetic statement between the verses of “Running Free.” Dickinson declared that he would be telling his doctor that Long Beach fucked up his hearing all the while encouraging the fans to repeat after him “I’m running free, yeah!” That performance at the very metal Long Beach Arena was immortalized to Live After Death back in 1985. That’s for the record, kids. And back then it was the vinyl record. Anthrax was blasting back then in those beloved ‘80’s, bringing music of mass destruction into speakers, headphones and concert halls, creating and holding a huge fan base that’s still holding and growing over two decades later. And like Iron Maiden, Anthrax takes care of its own. When someone leaves a show that one of these giants played, quite possibly with a case of temporary otic tinnitus, he or she is sure to be wearing a big smile. The ringing in the ears is kind of cool. And sooo metal.

The crowd who attended the band’s final show of the Priest Feast (Judas Priest w/Rob Zombie) show at the Long Beach Arena were part of the metal thrashing mad celebration of old Anthrax songs that hold up very well today and were performed as good as they were yesterday. That’s not sticking my neck out on the block …it’s a fact. There’s been a buzz going on around LA on how well they played that night, and Anthrax’s performance is sure to be an indelible audio vision in the melon of every deafened attendee of the show.

Their set was too short, yet it was a killer compilation of the classics and they drew first blood with “Among the Living” and took control right then. I bet Joey Belladonna might have sold his soul (like the other Anthrax members alluded to during the commentary of their ”Anthrology: No Hit Wonders “DVD) to be so youthful, both in appearance and in vocal vitality. His range and unwavering power that he displayed singing “Madhouse” made it hard to believe that twenty years have passed, yet this man’s energy and voice are defying his age, or vice-versa. It took him being gone to really love him being back. I speak for me and a fistful of others, to be sure. The ever energetic bassist Frankie Bello and guitarist Scott Ian ruled the stage, not letting one fan down and surely garnering new Anthrax freaks; jumping, yelling and throwing fists and horns in the air and out to the crowd in classic Anthrax tradition. These two madmen, combined with drummer Charlie Benante (whose drumming is sure to snare you), make heavy music’s quintessential rhythm section. Benante’s playing was clean, ferocious, and as expected, highly audible, yet he was barely visible behind the drum kit. As lucky as I was to be positioned right in front of the stage to shoot photos, I failed deliver the goods photographically -- at least in capturing the man with fast moving shins, who was beating the fuck right out of those skins.

Lead guitarist Dan Spitz may be diminutive in stature, but his guitar playing is God size. He was throwing down leads that were fast, clean and super mean, with lavish riffs all over and in between. Spitz didn’t run around too much, but played with noticeable zeal and power, characteristically nailing notes that would synch with Belladonna’s high notes. A highpoint in the highpoint laden Anthrax show was when guitarist Scott Ian sang a song that did Dimebag Darrell proud. It was a shortened, but searing version of Pantera’s “A New Level”, a heartfelt and heavy tribute to the guitar great, and to the brother who is sorely missed.

Anthrax will be taking a well-deserved break for a couple months. What a slammin’ way to end this leg of their touring; kicking Long Beach Arena’s ass and fucking up their hearing, too.

Stay tuned for the Joey Belladonna interview coming soon, exclusively on KNAC.COM. Huh?

SET LIST

  • Among the Living
  • Got the Time
  • Caught in a Mosh
  • Madhouse
  • Antisocial
  • N.F.L.
  • Indians
  • Medusa
  • I am the Law
* * * * *

Click on the thumbnail shots for large pictures.












Photos by Charlie Steffens, aka Gnarly Charlie


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