Food poisoning leaves Anthrax “Caught in a Mosh”

By on April 22, 2013

Joey Belladonna and Frank Bello (Photo by Travis Failey /RSEN)

Orlando, Fla.  4/12/2013 – The Metal Alliance Tour made it’s one and only Florida stop Friday night at the House of Blues in Downtown Disney. Originally scheduled to perform when the tour was first announced was Holy Grail, Municipal Waste, High on Fire, Exodus & Anthrax (in that order). A few weeks ago I had read that Exodus was just too metal for Disney and would not be performing at any shows on Disney properties, which was a huge disappointment for me. Exodus was one of the first bands I ever saw live. Many would argue that if the “Big Four,” Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax, were the “Big Five,” Exodus would be that fifth band. Around that same time it was announced that High on Fire would be leaving the second leg of the tour, and that Shadows Fall would be replacing them.

I have never seen High on Fire or Shadows Fall, so it didn’t bother me either way. When I arrived at the venue to pick up my tickets, I was surprised to see that there were only three bands listed at the box office. Apparently, neither High on Fire or Shadows Fall were making this tour stop.

Charlie Benante, Frank Bello

and  Joey Belladonna

 (Photo by Frank Colucci /RSEN)

Up first was Holy Grail, a power-metal group from Pasadena, California. Holy Grail formed in 2008 and released their first full-length album, Crises in Utopia, in 2010.   These guys had the look and sound of old school metal. Singer James Paul Luna’s melodic voice and screams, along with Alex Lee and Eli Satana’s guitar riffs, definitely took me back to early 80’s metal. Holy Grail’s set list included “Dark Passenger”,” Ride the Void,” and “Fight to Kill”.

Next to hit the stage was Municipal Waste: a crossover band from Richmond, Virginia, whose songs are about drinking, getting wasted and thrash metal. These guys were a lot of fun to see perform live. Municipal Waste’s thirty-minute set featured “Unleash the Bastards,” “Sadistic Magician,” “You’re Cut Off,” “Beer Pressure,” “Mind Eraser,” and “The Art of Partying.”  I wonder if Disney ever heard of the titles to some of these songs.

Finally thrash metal legends, Anthrax closed the show. Anthrax is my favorite band of all time. Anyone who knows me can attest to that. They are my Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, and Ozzy all rolled into one. With that being said, I am going to be brutally honest…

Joey Belladonna (Photo by Frank Colucci /RSEN)

Now I’ve seen Anthrax many times since 1989 but this tour was special. Metal Alliance features Anthrax playing their classic album from 1987, “Among the Living” in its entirety. Finally, songs that they haven’t played live in years like “Skeletons in the Closet”, “ADI/Horror Of It All”, “One World” and “Imitation Of Life”.

Approximately 20 minutes after Municipal Waste finished its set, I knew it was getting close. The “Among The Living” backdrop was in full view. The orange and black “Worship Music” logos were on each side of drummer’s, Charlie Benante’s, new “Forever Metal” drum kit. IT’S SHOW TIME!!! Out walks Charlie, Frank Bello, bassist, and Joey Belladonna, vocalist. I noticed Charlie was holding a mic. I said to my friend, “This doesn’t look good,” Charlie tells the crowd that Scott Ian, rhythm guitarist, was in the hospital with a severe case of food poisoning.  But that they didn’t want to cancel the show.  Charlie said, “We want to come out and play the greatest Anthrax show ever. Joey said, “We’re gonna do this for you guys.”  Charlie then stated,, “We will be back in two minutes to do “Among The Living” “Got the Time” and all that stuff. Again we apologize and this is going to be a killer show.”

 AWESOME! I didn’t take the day off of work and drive 90 miles for this show not to happen. But, wait …. Anthrax without Scott is like Judas Priest without KK… Ozzy without Zakk … How about GnR without Slash? Oh forget about it! You know what I’m saying. Scott is Anthrax. Who’s gonna play those monster riffs? (Keep in mind that Anthrax is already missing their lead guitarist Rob Caggiano who left the band four months ago. Shadows Fall axe man Jon Donais has been filling in since the tour started.) Who’s gonna get the pit into a moshing frenzy?  Who’s gonna scream WARDANCE during “Indians?” The answer is no one. They went on as a four-piece band. Now don’t get me wrong. I would rather see any version of Anthrax then drive home pissed off over a show being canceled.

In addition to the “Among the Living” minus one track (I’ll get to that in a minute) they ripped through “In The End” with a picture of the late Dimebag Darrel and Ronnie James Dio on both sides of the stage. “T.N.T.,” Got the Time,” “Madhouse,” “I’m the Man,” (first half only), and closing the show with “Antisocial.”

I was a little disappointed in the fact that Anthrax’s set list on this tour was a bit shorter than previous shows. Now I claim no expertise in being in a band, touring or having to deal with a sick band mate but if I were in a band with over thirty years experience and with a tremendous catalog of songs and I was headlining a major tour like this, I would probably call a band meeting and put together something special. Already two of the five bands were not performing and my guitar player was in the hospital, perhaps rehearse a new song. Instead they shortened their set list and took out one of the songs from an album that they were supposed to play in its entirety.  They skipped “Imitation of Life?”  What!? Are you kidding me?

“In the End,” the show must go on, and it did. Scott was definitely missed; Joey, Frank and Charlie were amazing as usual. Did I have a great time? Yes.  Was it the greatest Anthrax show ever? Not even close. Would I do it all over again? Absolutely!

(Photo by Frank Colucci /RSEN)

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