Metal Hammer (UK)
The BIG 4 Unite (June 2010)
After years of rumours, thrash’s greatest celebration finally happened
Few events in metal history have felt more monumental than the final coming together of thrash metal’s Big 4. Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax had crossed paths on countless occasions over the decades, but it wasn’t until June 16, 2010 that the four bands performed on the same stage. The seeds for this glorious reunion were arguably sown when Metallica began to patch things up with former guitarist Dave Mustaine around the time of the otherwise questionable Some Kind Of Monster movie. Setting aside decades of sniping in favour of a forgive-and-forget approach, this healing of old wounds immediately suggested that Big 4 gigs were a real possibility. In December 2009, it was confirmed by Sonisphere Festival: it was on!
In the end, it was as brilliant as we all expected. The first ever Big 4 show took place at Bemowo Airport in Warsaw, Poland, in front of 81,000 lucky metalheads. Anthrax kicked things off with a fiery set, featuring a cover of Black Sabbath’s Heaven And Hell in tribute to Ronnie James Dio.
The original Slayer line-up of Tom Araya, Kerry King, Jeff Hanneman and Dave Lombardo came next, followed by Megadeth pummelling their way through classic album Rust In Peace in its entirety and a typically towering Metallica set that ended with a celebratory Seek And Destroy. Metal history was being made… oh, and broadcast to cinemas around the world, including at the Odeon in London’s Leicester Square, where moshpits and stage invasions broke out. And quite right, too.