Big Four, Knebworth, U.K. – Concert Review

The Big Four finally made it to the United Kingdom and I was one of the lucky one’s that got to be part of such a historic metal experience.  The weather was perfect (except a bit windy) and the set lists were fantastic.

The Sonisphere crowd was ready to rock…obviously having skipped whatever they had to skip to be there early on a Friday afternoon.  By the time Anthrax hit the stage it was packed.  The people of England and all those that travelled here wanted to hear the Big Four!  Fans let their presence be known.  The Big Four unleashed unto England the true power of thrash.  Let’s get this review going and talk about the bands.

Diamond Head

Up to this point in my life I have never seen Diamond Head and after my day with the Big Four was over…I still have NOT seen Diamond Head.  Bummer, we got there a bit late due to a detour on the motorway and what seemed to be an usually long line to get into the festival.  As I gave my ticket at entrance I thought I could hear in the distance Am I Evil closing out there set.  Bummer, sorry Diamond Head I didn’t see you guys play, but I am sure it was great.


Who is that long-haired member of Antrhax?  Well, that is Andreas Kisser from Sepultura filling in for Scott Ian who is off “spreading the” family name…you know, having a baby and stuff.  Kisser did a great job with Anthrax’s set and it was a treat to see him play live after so many years since I last saw Seputlura.

Some of the gems of the day on Anthrax’s set list were Metal Thrashing Mad, Indians, and Fight’em Till You Can’t which is a new single on Anthrax’s upcoming album to be released this coming September.

Anthrax had the shortest set of all the Big Four bands at a measly 45 minutes, but they were able to squeeze in 8 tracks which spanned mostly Sound of White Noise and earlier material.  One part of the set that was simply bad-ass was seeing Kisser sing an abbreviated version of Sepultura’s Chaos AD.  That was the icing on the cake for the set.

Here is the full set-list for Anthrax

Caught in a Mosh

Metal Thrashing Mad



Fight’em Till You Can’t


Chaos AD

I Am The Law

Anthrax started off the show enthusiastically as they always are on stage and that momentum only fired up the crowd for one epic night of metal.


Megadeth took the stage after Anthrax and had 60 minutes to squeeze in whatever they could.  An hour does go by quick when you are thoroughly enjoying yourself.  The set was impressive and despite the fact that this was my 12th time seeing Megadeth, I got to hear stuff live that I never heard before such as Head Crusher, Poison Was The Cure, and their new single on their upcoming album Public Enemy No. 1 (obviously).

Megadeth kicked things off with Trust this time around which kind of took me by surprise.  I thought Holy Wars maybe or This Day We Fight.  Trust turned out to be a great opener and the crowd responded well by singing in unison with Dave Mustaine.

Other than a few glitches in sound early on (probably no fault of the band) the set was awesome.  I am not being too biased since Megadeth is my favorite band, the set really was great.

Megadeth, like Anthrax, also went the way of old-school.  Most of the set consisted of songs from Youthanasia and older.

Dave Mustaine and the rest of the guys seemed to really be having a good time and I think that resonated with the crowd very well.   The fans hung on every word, sang them all, and especially went nuts during Hangar 18.

If this set was a disappointment at all (which it wasn’t) it was the time constraint.  I would have loved to hear Take No Prisoners, Ashes In Your Mouth, and Five Magics.  All in all it was a great set.

We were also treated to a rare sight, something I have never seen at a Megadeth show before, Mr. Vic Rattlehead made a guest appearance late in the set dressed in fine threads.  He was in and out fairly quick and everyone’s devil horns went up, so taking a picture of the elusive figure was a bit difficult.

Here is the full Megadeth set list.


In My Darkest Hour

Wake Up Dead

Hangar 18

Poison Was The Cure

Sweating Bullets

Public Enemy No. 1

Head Crusher

A Tout Le Monde

Symphony Of Destruction

Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying

Holy Wars…Punishment Due


Slayer took the stage with nothing less than brute force.  The first four songs pretty much killed the crowd; nothing less than Slayer thrash.   Some gems of the set were Dittohead, Snuff, and Seasons In The Abyss.  Slayer was the only band of the night to play two whole songs from their latest album.  Metallica didn’t even go there.  Kudos to Slayer for playing two off World Painted Blood.  Most others on the set were from Seasons Of the Abyss and earlier.

One thing you might have noticed from the picture above is that a certain blond guy is missing.  Jeff Hanneman was not able to play this leg of the tour so Slayer enlisted the help of fellow thrasher Exodus guitarist Gary Holt.  Talk about big shoes to fill.  It must be intimidating to fill in for any member of Slayer.  Holt did a wonderful job and made his presence known on stage, it was like he has always been a part of the band.  Hanneman was missed, but the show must go on and Holt was a perfect reliever.

It wasn’t until Slayer came on that I got a better viewing area so I was able to capture some footage of War Ensemble which I will link with YouTube for you in a bit.

Here is the brutal Slayer set list.


War Ensemble

Hate Worldwide


Dead Skin Mask


Seasons In The Abyss

Mandatory Suicide

Chemical Warfare

South of Heaven

Raining Blood

Black Magic

Angel of Death



Metallica had two hours to round out the historic night and also had a few more accessories to their stage set like a giant screen and some fire and big-bang thing-a-ma-bobs.  Metallica stuck to the old school as well.  Of all music Metallica released in the last 20 years, only two songs made the cut.

This was a very nostalgic set for me because Metallica was a huge influence for me in my younger days.  They were the band that got me into harder metal.  I was reliving many moments of my youth during this set.  Of all the Big Four bands I have seen, Metallica is the least…this show was #5.  The last few times I remember seeing Metallica they played a medley which I didn’t care for too much.  I like hearing the whole song I don’t care if it’s 10 minutes long.  Last night Metallica not only played a bunch of old-school songs, but didn’t shorten any of them for the sake of squeezing more into their set-list.    There were even some cool tunes I didn’t think would get played live like Call of the Ktulu, Shortest Straw, Blackened, and Battery.  Hearing Battery was the cherry-on-top!

Trujillo is amazing on bass and I think Metallica made the right choice by adding him to their line up a few years ago.  He has got some energy and brings it all with him to the show.

Metallica sounded great and really rounded out a great evening.  I thought the set list was stellar.  If there was ever a Metallica song I could wish for to see live it would be Dyers Eve.  I have yet to hear it…maybe someday.

Metallica also stayed away from extensive solos.  There were some short ones here and there, but lengthy guitar solos take up a lot of time so I am glad Metallica used their solos more as extended song intros.

Overall it was an amazing set.  The war effects intro to One left my ears ringing, but was necessary for the integrity of the song.  It was well executed and always a treat to hear that song.

Here is Metallica’s complete set-list.

Hit The Lights

Master of Puppets

The Shortest Straw

Seek and Destroy

Welcome Home (Sanitarium)

Ride The Lightning

The Memory Remains

All Nightmare Long

Sad But True

Call of the Ktulu


For Whom The Bell Tolls


Fade To Black

Enter Sandman

Big Four – Am I Evil


Creeping Death

The Big Four

As you may have seen on the Big Four DVD or on various fan videos, all the bands came up on stage for a collaboration of Diamond Head’s Am I Evil?  Tonight, however, was special due to the fact that Diamond Head was there and at least one of the band members, Brian Tatler, was on hand to join in the fun.  Also on stage was Kerry King of Slayer who had been absent from the Sofia, Bulgaria live DVD.  To see it live was quite a treat and made the entire event just that much more special.  Below are some pictures and some live footage I took of the Big Four on stage together.  As of this writing my video has had 72 hits on Youtube in just a few hours; might be my best one yet.  Enjoy!

At the end of the day members from Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, Diamond Head, Exodus, and Sepultura jammed up on stage.  At the tail end of this video when I switch to recording the big screen you will see that at some point, Dave Lombardo had ousted Lars Ulrich from his own kit to finish the song.  Epic!

About Reggie

Just a dude writing a heavy metal blog and always on the prowl for a cool metal show. I am also a family man...first and foremost!

Posted on July 9, 2011, in Concert Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. It’s too bad that Anthrax did not have more time to play their songs. It seemed to be the same way for the concert in Sofia, Bulgaria. I think that out of all the Big 4 bands they are the most underappreciated because they didn’t have the same amount of mainstream success as say Metallica. It’s pretty cool that they let Kisser do one of his songs though!
    Reading the review of Megadeth’s performance has only made me more excited to finally see them for the first time this Friday as part of the Mayhem Festival line up! I wonder if maybe I’ll get to see Vic Rattlehead…
    Even though Jeff Hanneman wasn’t able to play, it’s nice that you got to see Gary Holt. Kudos to Slayer for playing some newer songs and not just being nostalgic.
    I like the fact that Metallica decided to play songs through and not take the medley route that they usually do. It’s a shame that they don’t play too many songs from “…And Justice For All” but from what I understand those songs are more difficult for them to play live. Diamond Head with the Big 4 playing “Am I Evil?” sounds like a perfect metal moment! It’s a shame you didn’t get to see their set…
    Overall awesome review! I enjoyed reading it and hope that maybe one day I can see the Big 4!

  2. I hope you do enjoy the Megadeth set. I am excited for you! I have seen Megadeth more than any other band live. They are professionals on stage and meticulous. You know Dave Mustaine isn’t going to go up there and screw around. Let me know what you think of the show. Also, I think you should be able to see Trivium and Machine Head right? What a killer lineup with just those three 🙂

    I get to see Trivium in a couple weeks when they make a stop in London to open for Iron Maiden for one show. I think you will enjoy their set as well.

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