'Big Four' Bands Perform 'Am I Evil?', SLAYER's HANNEMAN Returns For Two Songs At Indio Concert

The "Big Four" bands of 1980s thrash metal — METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX — performed for the first time ever on the same stage in the United States yesterday (Saturday, April 23) at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California in front of a capacity crowd of more than 50,000 metalheads.

SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who was forced miss all of the band's shows this year after undergoing emergency surgery on his right arm in January, made a surprise appearance during the group's set last night, joining his bandmates on stage for the two-song encore of "South Of Heaven" and "Angel Of Death" (EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt filled in for Hanneman during SLAYER's main set).

The highly anticipated onstage performance of all four bands at the same time happened near the end of METALLICA's set, between "Enter Sandman" and "Hit The Lights". Members of ANTHRAX, SLAYER and MEGADETH joined METALLICA on stage for a cover of DIAMOND HEAD's "Am I Evil?" before METALLICA ended the night with its perennial set-closer, "Seek And Destroy" from the band's 1983 debut, "Kill 'Em All".

In introducing the members of the other three bands immediately prior to the "Am I Evil?" performance, METALLICA frontman James Hetfield said, "Can you believe it? Thirty years, man [referring to how long each of the 'Big Four' bands has been together. - Ed.]. I don't know how many of you have been around that long, you know?! It doesn't matter; you're here right now to see the 'Big Four,' and we're getting this prepared for a big jam, alright? It's pretty important.

"We just wanna take the time to say 'thank you' to all of you metal fans out there who have supported all the bands — not only the 'Big Four,' but the big however many out there. There's many, many other bands that have been around as long as us, and, unfortunately, broke up because of business or some other crap. There's a lot of great bands out there and we'd like to celebrate all of them, and especially the 'Big Four', getting out here and jamming, and just saying 'thank you' to the world of metal fans for just giving us your support, giving us your heart and giving us your passion, man, 'cause that's what it is for us."

Photos:

* PE.com
* Examiner.com
* OC Reloaded
* KPSP-TV

Reviews:

* Los Angeles Times
* ARTISTdirect
* Phoenix New Times
* Metal Shop Rocks

ANTHRAX's setlist was as follows:

01. Caught In A Mosh
02. Got the Time
03. Madhouse
04. Among the Living
05. Antisocial
06. Indians
07. Fight 'Em Till You Can't
08. A.I.R.
09. I Am The Law

MEGADETH's setlist was as follows:

01. Trust
02. In My Darkest Hour
03. Hangar 18
04. Wake Up Dead
05. Poison Was the Cure
06. She-Wolf
07. Sweating Bullets
08. Head Crusher
09. A Tout Le Monde
10. Symphony of Destruction
11. Peace Sells
12. Holy Wars... The Punishment Due

SLAYER's setlist was as follows:

01. World Painted Blood
02. Hate Worldwide
03. War Ensemble
04. Postmortem
05. Raining Blood
06. Black Magic
07. Dead Skin Mask
08. Americon
09. Silent Scream
10. Antichrist
11. Seasons in the Abyss
12. Payback
13. Snuff
14. South of Heaven (with Jeff Hanneman)
15. Angel of Death (with Jeff Hanneman)

METALLICA's setlist was as follows:

01. Creeping Death
02. For Whom the Bell Tolls
03. Fuel
04. Ride the Lightning
05. Fade to Black
06. Cyanide
07. All Nightmare Long
08. Sad But True
09. Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
10. Orion
11. One
12. Master of Puppets
13. Blackened
14. Nothing Else Matters
15. Enter Sandman

Encore:

16. Am I Evil? (DIAMOND HEAD cover) (with MEGADETH, ANTHRAX and SLAYER)
17. Hit The Lights
18. Seek And Destroy

The "Big Four" tour first played selected dates in Eastern Europe last summer to an fantastic response, which led to the scheduling of shows this year in the U.S. and other parts of Europe. There's no word yet on whether more "Big Four" events are in the works.

METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich told The Pulse Of Radio the "Big Four" tour idea first came up in 2009. "We were sitting around and we were feeling pretty nostalgic at the time because it was right around the old Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Cleveland, induction thing there," he said. "So as you sit around and talk about your past and whatever, the idea of playing shows with the other, you know, members of the so-called 'Big Four' just came up, and it finally came together just over a year later."

Photo credit: Raymond Ahner:

Photo credit: Andrew Stuart

"Am I Evil?" jam (photos below courtesy of Metallica.com):

Concert recap courtesy of 93.7 KCLB Rocks! radio station:

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