This was my third time seeing Anthrax, but it was my first and only chance to see my favourite album performed in full. As I arrived outside the 02 Forum in Kentish Town, the queue stretched all the way to the back of the building. It also began to snow but this did not dampen my excitement.
As I arrived inside, I scrambled around the balcony trying to find a suitable spot to see the stage. Being short is a huge disadvantage at gigs! I managed to find a spot behind some quite short men, so I waited with anticipation. Before I knew it the lights went down and the crowd went crazy. They opened with A.I.R which was a weak opening in my opinion, but then they went on to play Madhouse which got everyone up and singing.
They continued to play a list of tracks which no one really seemed to care about, everyone was excited to hear Among the Living in full. After playing eight tracks, they had a brief interval to change the stage for the main performance. At this point I was fed up of not being able to see, so I managed to manoeuvre myself into the perfect spot to see the whole stage.
After 2,300 people chanting Anthrax repeatedly, they finally blew onto the stage. They opened with the classic Among the Living. Then they played Caught in a Mosh, which sent the crowd into a frenzy of head banging and singing. And I happily joined in. Guitarist Scott Ian still played the hits note for note, with the same level of energy he gave back in 1987. However, Joey Belladonna seemed to be lacking the original rhythm he once had. But they have been going since 1984, so small mistakes are easily forgiven.
They also went on to play I am the Law and Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.) which was incredible to see live. They played the rest of the album which such energy and enthusiasm, it was inspiring to witness the love they have for their work. At the end of the last song of the album, they were told their time was up. The crowd were sent into an uproar, everyone screaming “Encore!” over and over again. So they played once encore song Antisocial, instead of their usual two.
Overall, their stage performance was perfection. They continuously engaged with the crowd and they sounded practically perfect in comparison to their studio work. Each time I see them live they blow me away, but this was by the far the best live performance I have witnessed from them.
Words by Charlotte Griffiths