Thrash metal titans Anthrax invaded the House of Blues in Orlando on Friday, August 12, 2022, their tour celebrating forty years of their music and as expected this show was jam packed sold out. Supporting these legends were Black Label Society and Hatebreed (a stacked lineup of three of my personal favorite bands!) so it was no surprise that the line to enter not only wrapped around the side of the venue but all the way down to the shopping area of Disney Springs. Thankfully the dreaded rush hour Friday traffic on I-4 for the drive was forgiving and we made the trip over in near record time arriving with enough time to lounge outside of the venue before the show with some fellow photographer and metalhead friends.
Entry into the venue was super easy and in no time I am joining my fellow brethren in the growing anticipation for Hatebreed to take the stage. I make my way down to the photo pit and am greeted by other fellow photographers who I have met at various shows and took a few moments of reflection as Hatebreed has always been my personal empowerment therapy. More than once in life their music and lyrical brilliance has helped me refocus through some personal issues and I knew tonight would be no different. As soon as the house lights went dark, the crowd roared our readiness and Hatebreed hit the stage.
Crushing through a thirteen song set list that ripped us apart from their musical ferocity yet brought us all together empowered as one. In between song banter had lead singer Jamey Jasta welcoming first timers seeing the band to the Hatebreed diehard family and reiterating that we were all there to have a good time, to keep each other safe and we all leave here with a smile – now open up that f*cking circle pit!!!! It was my eighth time seeing Hatebreed and this band delivers raw, in your face, brutal breakdowns, seriously crunchy riffs and the positive message to believe in yourself, to be the best person that you can be and that you can overcome any of life’s obstacles. Wow! What a great start to the evening.
Black Label Society was second to hit the stage and this was my third time seeing them although I had seen master axe man shredder extraordinaire Zakk Wylde once with his Zakk Sabbath project. The band is so f*cking awesome live words just do not do them justice, this is a band that if you are a heavy metal fan must be on your bucket list if you have not seen them. Mid way through their twelve song set, the band played a tribute to Dimebag and Vinnie (of Pantera) with artwork adorning each brother on the speaker stacks on both sides of the stage. Zakk mentioned how crazy and f*cked up the past couple of years have been for everyone and how good it was for the band to be able to celebrate with us, the fans, the friendship and contributions of these fallen brothers of theirs. Touching moments for sure before the volume cranked back up and our senses were back under attack from the visual and sound show before our eyes and ears. With a simple stage set up, room to roam, and small riser center stage for him to step up on and wail away for his solos, it was absolutely amazing to see this master of the guitar shred right before my eyes and lens.
Then it was time for the whole reason of the evening. Forty years of Anthrax. The lights went out as the moment arrived and from my vantage point awaiting to enter the photo pit I could see the band members at the ready while a metal celebrity tribute video played for the crowd of their four decade history that was about to be performed. This would be my fifteenth time seeing Anthrax over the years and that number gives you an indication of how much of a fan I am of theirs. I have seen them in multiple states and once on the high seas as they played on Motörhead’s Motörboat cruise a few years back.
Opening the show with Among the Living, I had to again remind myself you cannot headbang and take photos at the same time, although once that thought registered I could see that I was not alone in the photo pit waiting for a better lighting combination to start snapping away. Those first three songs that we are allowed up front always go by in the blink of any eye, much quicker when some of my favorite songs are being played by musical legends literally two feet away from me. Having to condense forty years of music over eleven studio albums the set list played as their greatest hits with no deep cut surprises. Showing the depth of the metal family, there was another touching tribute to Dimebag and Vinnie as well as Ronnie James Dio and before you know it lead singer Joey Belladonna has his headdress on and the band plays “Indians” and we as a group are called to join in and WARDANCE!!!!! Forty years on and the band sounds as kick-ass as ever! To me these songs are timeless classics and I will never tire of seeing them live as I already look forward to when I can see them again.
Being a people watcher I was sure I would see some cross-generational groups in the crowd and I did see some younger faces in the crowd as this was an all-ages show. This leg of the tour runs through the end of August before Anthrax begins European dates. If you are at all on the fence about seeing this tour when it comes to your town, take my advice and get to this show – it was a night of high energy heavy metal and by the looks on people’s faces as we left the venue, everyone did have a smile on their face. \m/
ANTHRAX 2022 PHOTO GALLERY
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