Kirk Hammett believes that there will be more shows in the future featuring the so-called "Big Four" of 1980s thrash metal — METALLICA, MEGADETH, SLAYER and ANTHRAX.
The four influential acts played together for the first time in history on June 16, 2010 in front of 81,000 fans at the Sonisphere festival at Bemowo Airport in Warsaw, Poland and shared a bill again for six more shows as part of the Sonisphere series that same year. They reunited again for several dates in 2011, including the last "Big Four" concert, which was held on September 14, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in New York City. Since then, METALLICA, SLAYER and ANTHRAX have played a number of shows together, including the 2013 Soundwave festival in Australia. They also performed at the 2014 Heavy MTL festival in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
During an appearance on ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian's show "Never Meet Your Heroes" on SiriusXM Volume (Ch. 106), the METALLICA axeman explained how the idea for the "Big Four" tour came about. He said: "That term 'Big Four' was created by the press, and we kept on seeing it and seeing it: 'Big Four,' 'Big Four'… And then, one day, it was something to the extent of, 'Let's get all the original metal bands together to do a tour like we used to do back in the day'; we'd all tour with each other. But then it got narrowed down to, 'Let's just do the 'Big Four.'' And then pretty much that's how it came to fruition. But it was just an obvious sort of thing, once we thought about the concept, once the concept kind of came together. It was just, like, 'Yeah, we absolutely should tour together and celebrate our long, storied careers.'"
Hammett added that he is optimistic fans will see more "Big Four" shows in the years to come.
"Even though we haven't announced any 'Big Four' dates in the future of anything like that, I personally see it happening again in the future," he said. "I don't know when, but I do see it happening in the future."
He continued: "I mean, I see those shows as kind of like a celebration — a real celebration of each other, and a real celebration of the music that we all make, and a real celebration of the audience embracing [what] we've done. And why not have more of that?"
In a 2016 interview with TeamRock, MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine said he would be open to a repeat of the "Big Four" tour in 2017. He said: "We've got a lot of great stuff going on and we've got some stuff we're setting up for Asia and the United States for next year, but if 'Big Four' stuff presented itself, we'd probably yield to that, because it's a lot more fun and it's such an event that it takes precedence over just another tour, so to speak."
He continued: "When fans get to have four of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time on the same stage, that's something you can tell your grandkids about."
Four years ago, SLAYER frontman Tom Araya said that the only thing that was standing in the way of further "Big Four" shows was "the politics of character in one particular band," with some fans speculating that he was talking about Mustaine and MEGADETH.
In his autobiography, "Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir", Mustaine addressed the issue of where his band fit in the "Big Four" order. According to The New York Times, he assured the reader that he was not offended by being put behind SLAYER. But he added an interior monologue: "O.K., we'll play ahead of you guys on this trip, and God willing we'll do it again sometime in the near future and we can flip things around."