Earlier this year Anthrax reformed the classic lineup which was at the forefront of thrash metal for most of the 1980′s. This lineup has not existed since since 1992, when singer Joey Belladonna was asked to leave the band, due to their wanting to go in a different direction. Three years later, lead guitarist Danny Spitz departed. John Bush (formerly of Armored Saint) joined up as their vocalist for the next thirteen years, creating some great new Anthrax music. But, that era will never replace the Belladonna era in my heart as the Anthrax I love most. So, back to 2005, It is the 20th anniversary of the release of their seminal album Spreading the Disease and seemed like the perfect time to get together and see what would happen. This DVD, and subsequent tour are some of the results of that fateful moment.
This concert was recorded on June 3, 2005 at the Starland in Sayreville, NJ and is completely comprised of material from the first era of Anthrax. The band took to the stage, announcing that they were filming for the DVD, and started into “Among the Living.” They sounded very good, as if they had never parted ways so long ago.
Frank Bello was stomping back and forth across the stage, acting the madman. Scott Ian was jumping and stomping, while Danny Spitz played the straight man to his antics. Charlie Benante, steady as ever behind the drum kit, continuing to show his prowess, proving that he is one of the best in the business. Meanwhile, Joey Belladonna is like a kid in a candy store. He looked so happy to be back with his old crew, and still having a great voice. It may not be as strong as it was 15 years ago, but it is still great.
Each of their albums is represented here, from Spreading the Disease through Persistence of Time. We even get their crossover hit, “I’m the Man.” Old school thrashers “Deathrider” and “Medusa” mixed in with mainstays “Caught in a Mosh” and “Indians.” Their Joe Jackson cover, “Time,” is not to be left out.
It may not be the best performance they have ever had, but the energy and love was evident. It was easy to see that they were having a blast playing these songs again in their original arrangements. Some of them had been adapted to be performed live with John Bush, but it just wasn’t the same.
The show came to a close with their ode to Judge Dredd, “I am the Law.” They left the crowd spent, yet thirsting for more. Just they way they should, always leave them wanting more.
This DVD has something very cool hidden amongst the special features. Something that isn’t mentioned on the back of the case, but should be. There is a 50 minute documentary on the band and their reunion. It opens with video footage as they all arrive and see each other again for the first time since their long absence. It is a great scene, no animosity, no hard feelings, it was like a family reunion. The best being the comment about Joey’s hair, which seems virtually unchanged over all these years.
The documentary gets into why Joey was asked to leave, and the new direction they were heading in. We learn that Danny Spitz spent most of his absence in Switzerland becoming a master watchmaker, after losing his desire to play guitar. That’s right, Danny makes watches! Frank had left for awhile and had toured with Helmet. Each had their reasons for going the direction did, but through it all, Anthrax soldiered on.
There us information about each of the albums they did with the classic lineup. Crazy tour stories, including Danny getting knocked on the head with the clock arm during the Persistence of Time tour. All in all, it is a great little added bonus, that is rather extensive and making this disk all the more worth your time. Any Anthrax fan should add this to their collection.