This year at the Empire Polo Grounds of Indio, California, between the modern music weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and the country music weekend of the Stagecoach Festival, concert promoters Goldenvoice made history by putting on the first U.S. concert appearance of the Big 4 (of thrash metal) on the same stage. Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax have played in various smaller combinations throughout the years. Last year, the Big 4's first historic appearance took place at the Sonisphere Festival in Poland on June 16, 2010. They continued at other Sonisphere dates in Europe, but that didn’t diminish how special the event was to the tens of thousands who experienced it in the California desert.
Metal fans are frequently saddled with the stereotype of being dimwits like Beavis and Butthead, but anyone who has invested a little time learning about the genre knows that the songs aren't just about anger or the devil. Literature is a frequent subject of inspiration as evidenced by Iron Maiden's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem and Mastadon's Levithan based on Herman Melville novel Moby-Dick. Yet, the stereotypical fan is the first one to make an impression when a young man busted the parking ticket dispenser by jamming a credit card in the slot the ticket came out. Not sure if the cause was partying too early, but it caused everyone else to pay higher parking rates because we had to pay as if we lost our tickets.
A shuttle service was accessible through the event site, and it was a great value at $56 round trip from Anaheim, but there were some issues. Time was wasted as people had to check in to twice, first to get on the bus and then once on the bus. We sat around for a while after the first bus left leaving after 12:30 when we were supposed to depart by noon. Once on the crowded freeway, the driver wouldn't use the carpool lane. Considering we had about 50 people on the bus, it seemed like we were eligible. After a few shouts of "Carpool," he finally moved into it, but with traffic on the freeway and on the surface streets, we got off the bus as Anthrax began their four o'clock set.