Finally, us Chicagoans get a show that is taped for DVD right in our own backyard. The set is goes like this. The show was taped just this past December. It was on the 5th of 2003 to be exact and it was shot at one of the best venues on the planet called The Metro. You are always guaranteed a great sound and you will hear it here. Unlike other bands who a taping of a show and then release it some two or more years later, these guys do a bang up and professional job getting it released unto the masses in a mere four months.
Ok, with that said, let’s dive into the DVD, shall we? When you drop the piece of plastic into your player, you get the usual FBI warning of how it’s unlawful to copy and sell the product, blah, blah, blah. Now the twist to it is that the band puts up their own warning saying it’s retarded, but don’t copy for other reasons and other fun stuff. Once you get past that, it’s onto the show. This show was recorded in front of a sold out crowd that was rabid to hear this band play. Before the show even starts, the crowd cheers for them and once they take to the stage, we dive into “What Doesn’t Die” and the song, band and crowd are just going ape shit. The crowd sings the chorus along with John and this track is fuelled to the max with power and energy. You get awesome shots of everyone in the band and even some crowd shots and I must give the director some props because he adds a unique twist to his filmmaking. He makes some of his shots look like a live comic book by adding extra shots on the screen and they are all moving at the same time. It’s remarkable. The lighting is absolutely perfect here.
The best part about this DVD is that it’s recorded in widescreen for your enjoyment. I have always said this before and will go on record again. I think he is the world’s greatest drummer. That man is not only fast, but his timing is remarkable, he plays with fury and can match anyone in terms of style. Don’t believe me? Watch it! Right after the track, John starts to talk to the crowd quickly and asks how we are all doing and says that Chicago is the Heavy Metal capital of the world. Once again, don’t believe me? Watch it! We are then treated to the Joe Jackson classic “Got The Time”. I always loved this track because of the bass lines and Frankie does a phenomenal job. By the way, in case you don’t know this, this was Frankie’s last performance as he is now out of the bad. That sucks! I just hope that they get a more than suitable replacement. The crowd here once again are singing to the song and raising their fists high and it’s all caught on tape.
Once you hear the guitar strings and the walking bass line in the opening, you know we will all be “Caught In A Mosh”. That song was a classic then and even more so now. The song lives up to its name because you will see kids body surfing, jumping up and down and having a blast. Everyone still plays this song with plenty of fury. Damn, these guys are playing hit after hit. We now get to the newest track with “Safe Home” which has been somewhat of a radio hit here in the states. The crowd once again was singing with the band and everyone in the band is really getting into this one. Scott Ian with his trademark billy goat goat-tee and long shorts moshes all around while he plays his six stringer and Rob who has been in the band for a long while now looks very comfortable on stage. After the first four songs, we take a short break where you are now taken into the bar section of the club and you see fans profess their love for the band. Don’t worry, it’s only for about a minute and then we go back on stage with the band where you hear the crowd chant their name. We are a bunch of rabid fans here in Chicago.
Everyone loses it once again when it comes time to sing “Antisocial”. Everyone is singing along and moshing. The song sounds just as fresh yesteryear as it does today. That is the one thing about this band that really stands out. Even though some of the songs are more than ten plus years old, they don’t sound dated. The band does everything they can to keep them fresh and they still sound great. During “Nobody Knows Anything”, we are all treated to a tiny drum solo which is absolutely mind blowing. Charlie is such a talent. What he does to those skins is absolutely amazing. The only part of solo that sucked was that it was way too short and most fans will agree. Once the solo is over, the rabid fans chant his name. This DVD is absolutely nuts!
John Bush gives props to artist Alex Ross who drew the artwork for band’s latest release and dedicates the almighty and one and only track to him: “I Am The Law”. I don’t know about you, but this is my absolute favourite track. This one held up really well. Never mind Joey Belladonna who did the song originally because John does a bang up job on this cut and all of the classics. In fact, you will forget that Joey did all of the classics when you watch and hear this DVD. Yep! John does these songs justice and has done so for the past eleven years. The frenzy continues with “Only”. Not only was this released back in 1993, but also the CD that this song came from “The Sound Of White Noise” was the introduction of John Bush. This track has held up quite well and it seems like the band put more energy into this track live. It still sounds great and fresh.
The one track that I didn’t expect on here, but has been making the rounds on the past few tours is “Be All End All”. It’s great to see that the band digs into their back catalogue and pull out a few songs that they normally wouldn’t play. This track has just as much energy as their other tunes. You can hear Frankie screaming his background vocals on this one. This was a fine choice to make by placing it in their playlist. The DVD finally comes to a close with what many consider the beginning of the end with the creation of the Rap-Metal movement: “Bring The Noise”. The band brought the noise alright. While the song doesn’t feature Chuck D from PUBLIC ENEMY who did the original with the band, John does a fine job and he rocks. You can see the fans doing the pit thing and body surf. The song is a bit faster than the original, but that is cool with me because after 85 minutes of show, the band still had a shit load of energy left and it shows on this closer.
When the song finishes, they go right into the METALLICA classic for a few riffs: “Whiplash”. The song is appropriate because that is what everyone probably had after the show. ANTHRAX does a better job of this than METALLICA. Sorry! The DVD finally comes to a close when John Bush does something that we all wish we could do and that’s climb on top of the stack of speakers and flip into the crowd. What a way to end the show. This DVD is so worth every penny. You get a DVD packed with a ton of energy. From top to bottom, the guys don’t let up for one minute. They play classic after classic. While the new songs are not old yet, they are classics already. John includes the audience in everything. The fans mosh, surf and jump for the whole show. The fans sing to every song and don’t give ANTHRAX a minute to breathe because they want more. You truly forget that Joey ever sang the originals unless you are old school like me. John does a superb job with the old tracks. While this was Frankie’s swan song, he went out with a bang. His bass playing is superb and will never be forgotten. Charlie is a first class drummer who plays like no one else and both Scott and Rob on the guitars just bring the house down.
The director and everyone involved must get props for the fantastic job they did with the shooting of the show. What they did with it was creative and not boring. The only downside to this concert is that some of the shots are edited way too fast in an MTV way. I hate that. That fast editing could give you a major seizure. Other than that, it was awesome and glad it was captured on celluloid. Anyone who says Metal is dead is full of shit. There was not one fan standing around with their arms folded. You can see that everyone was having a blast by dancing and singing. John is right; Chicago does have the best Metal fans around anywhere. To all of you who think you know metal, but really don’t: if you want to hear old school Metal…ANTHRAX. Do you want to hear what Metal sounds like today…ANTHRAX. These guys can do it all.
As far as the bonus things go, you get plenty. First up is the CD. You get a bonus CD of the very concert you just watched in case you want to carry it with you on the road. There are a few songs missing so they can fit on the CD, but what can you do. You also get two songs filmed in hyper-angle which was shot in Michigan. You are offered “Fueled” and “Metal Thrashing Mad” in which you can choose up to five different ways to view the specific song. Pretty cool. You want more bonus material? You get individual segments with the members of the band minus Frankie. There’s Charlie who we get to see go to Sideshow Collectables and buy toys galore because he is an avid toy collector.
We are taken to John’s house where he gives us a limited tour. The segment mainly focuses on his bar area which is quite nice. Small, but nice. Who would have ever thought that John would have a house? If you watch the old ARMORED SAINT DVDs you would see him with his long hair in an apartment. Times do change. Next up is Scotty. We see him getting a new tattoo and he talks about the various clips from all over the world. We go from Russia to Germany to Scotland. Lastly is Rob. We are on the bus with Rob and he is drunk while he babbles on about nothing. Pretty funny. The last bonus on here is an exclusive interview with Alex Ross. Alex gives us the details on how he got to do the band’s artwork. Alex along with Charlie goes into finer detail as to how they came up with the cover for this very DVD. The CD was appropriately titled. The band brought their best with them and they delivered. They truly brought the house down. Ladies and gentlemen…this is METAL!!! (Online August 10, 2004)