ANTHRAX - XL
August 3, 2022, a month ago
July 2021 marked the 40th anniversary of iconic New York thrash band, Anthrax. Unable to celebrate this milestone with a world tour due to pandemic-related restrictions, vocalist Joey Belladonna, guitarists Scott Ian and Jon Donais, bassist Frank Bello, and drummer Charlie Benante delivered a 25-song set to fans around the world, in the safety of their own homes, via a global livestream event. Now, a year later, that pay-per-view is available as a 2CD/Blu-ray set.
Filmed at Los Angeles soundstage The Den, XL (the Roman numeral for 40, not the short form for Extra Large) has Anthrax playing to only the camera crew, yet the band gives it their all, performing as though they were in front of thousands of fans, complete with concert style lighting. Inexplicably, after nine songs, the band changes from jeans to shorts, with Scott and Joey both changing their shirts as well. Three songs are performed in summer attire, after which the original clothing returns for the remainder of the set – bizarre!
Chuck D from Public Enemy joins Anthrax on their ground-breaking hit “Bring The Noise”. Unfortunately, there is no onstage banter between songs; neither Belladonna or Ian address the viewers like they normally would a live audience at a club, arena, or outdoor festival. Alongside expected hits such as “Caught In A Mosh”, “I Am The Law”, and “Antisocial”, the setlist includes a few deep cuts, namely “Lone Justice”, “Now It’s Dark”, and “Aftershock”. While Belladonna does a great version of “Metal Thrashing Mad”, which was originally sung by Neil Turbin on the 1984 debut Fistful Of Metal, he doesn’t tackle any material from the John Bush era, which is rather disappointing. It cannot truly be a 40th anniversary celebration without acknowledging the four albums that Bush sang on. That being said, Scott Ian handles lead vocal on a cover of “Protest And Survive” by Discharge, which Anthrax included on their 1991 release, Attack Of The Killer B’s.
Bonus material comes in the form of rehearsal footage, offering a neat glimpse behind the scenes. Also included is Scott’s NYC Walking Tour, during which he visits the offices of Megaforce Records, the site where legendary club CBGB used to be, Electric Lady Studios, his favorite comic book and pizza shops, as well as Madison Square Garden.