The 2023 concert year started with a road trip to Boise, Idaho! Anthrax, Black Label Society, and Exodus performed on January 17,2023 at the Revolution Concert and Event Center. It was the kickoff of the second leg of the tour that originally started in 2022 with Killswitch Engage. This leg of the tour included Bay Area thrash metal veterans Exodus. As fate would have it, Exodus got stuck in the snow of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and was unable to make the first night of the show in Boise. The day-of announcement was made via their Instagram page, although rumors swirled around like a mosh pit that they would miraculously make it.
As the venue opened, the crowd quickly congregated at the merch tables to purchase their first shirts of 2023. Showtime quickly arrived, and as the lights dropped a mash up of Led Zeppelin and Black Label Society (BLS) was playing. Soon after, the curtain dropped revealing Zakk Wylde and the rest of BLS. “Destroy & Conquer” filled the event center as Zakk’s long blonde hair swung from side to side across his face. The show continued for the Doom Crew Boise Chapter with classics like “Heart of Darkness” and “Love Unreal.” Halfway through the set, Zakk stepped away from the guitar and moved to the piano with his heartfelt tribute to Dimbag and Vinnie, playing “In This River.”
The last few songs of the set produced some of my favorites, including a badass version of “Fire Me Up.” The mosh pit almost doubled in size as a sea of bodies grew in numbers and intensity. “Suicide Messiah” continued to fuel the pit; the rest of the crowd moved from side to side almost as if the music was flowing through their bodies. The final song of the evening “Stillborn”, came much to quickly, but was necessary as Anthrax was up next.
After a seemingly eternal set change, the house lights dropped and a testimonial video began to play on the curtain draped, shielding the stage. The video was comprised of legends in the metal world, sharing love for the thrash legends that never took no for an answer, and never compromised what they believed in. The video ended with the curtain dropping and, “Among the Living” beginning. The crowd exhaled boisterously while singing the lyrics. Guitarist Scott Ian methodically moved while providing riffs that electrified the crowd. Singer Joey Belladonna showed no shyness as he interacted with the crowd throughout the show. The opening riff of “Caught in a Mosh” began, and although the night was young, the mosh pit elevated to an epic magnitude. Simultaneously, bodies began to float over the crowd working their way to the stage to be greeted by the security staff who ensured a safe landing. “Madhouse” continued the show, and midway through the song Joey points to me for my camera. I oblige, and he begins photographing the crowd. He hands the camera back, and continues the song flawlessly.
As the madness continued, the melodic “Keep in the Family” brought guitarist Jonathan Donais to center stage for the iconic lead riff of the song. Bassist Frank Bello bounced from side to side of the stage while returning to his mic for the chorus of “Antisocial.” His energy level never dropped. In fact, it only increased as the concert continued, feeding the frenzied crowd.
Anthrax had their own tribute to the fallen. Drummer Charlie Benante began “In the End” with the drumbeat that leads the song from commencement to end.
The only song included in the set from the Jon Bush era of Anthrax, was the first single to feature Jon, called “Only.” Belladonna added his own twist to the song making it one of my favorites of the evening. “Got the Time” sped the tempo up while re-energizing the crowd. The legendary collaboration of Anthrax and Public Enemy produced a remake of “Bring the Noise” which would transition into the final song of the evening, “Indians.”
Having seen Anthrax many times I can say that their performances have never dropped, only gotten stronger. And, the 40th anniversary is no exception. The energy of the band has not waned since the first time I saw them.
With three iconic bands on one bill, it is foolish to miss this show when it comes to a town near you. Catch the mosh pit, and take a ride above the crowd when this metal thrashing mad show invades your town.