It’s been six years since the four biggest thrash-metal bands — METALLICA, MEGADETH, SLAYER and ANTHRAX – embarked on what they dubbed the “Big Four” tour, but the memories are still fresh for Scott Ian. In the latest installment of Rolling Stone ‘s “Had To Be There” series, the (animated) ANTHRAX guitarist recalls the feeling of sharing a stage for the first time with musicians he’d cut his teeth alongside and how he wished it had lasted longer.
Ian previously told The Irish Times about the “Big Four” tour: “I can’t really say enough about those shows. METALLICA have many reasons for their success over the years, and timing certainly is one of them. Success in the entertainment business is luck and timing. It really gave us the kick in the ass to keep moving forward. Those shows were very much the impetus to get Joey [Belladonna, vocals] back in the band. We felt that Joey should be the guy representing us on those shows because he was the guy who helped break ANTHRAX in the 1980s. It gave us the impetus to re-expose ourselves to an audience that has not seen us in a long time and it exposed us to a new audience that had heard of ANTHRAX and never seen us.”
METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX 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. The night before the concert, METALLICA organized a dinner with members of all four bands, a get-together that MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson called “very relaxed and comfortable” and “a class way” to ease into the tour.
The “Big Four” played its last concert 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.
MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine spoke to the “Talk Is Jericho” podcast about the possibility of there being more “Big Four” shows in the future. He said: “Am I supposed to doing it? You know, it would have to be the right thing. I think that, you know, MEGADETH is at a place right now where we’re successful to a degree where we would be happy continuing to do what we do on our own. So if we’re gonna do another ‘Big Four’ thing, I would want it to be something where we walk away as content as METALLICA does from something like that. It’s not METALLICA and three other dudes.”