The world of thrash was well represented at Rock on the Range on Sunday at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, OH as Anthrax and Megadeth showed that music festival just what they are all about. Both bands rocked frenetic sets to fervent crowds, populated largely by younger fans who were seeing each band for the first time.
Anthrax frontman Joey Belladonna got a kick out of how excited the fans were during his band’s set. “I can see the excitement on your faces,” he proclaimed, “It’s always great rockin’ first timers!” The band was the final act to play on the f.y.e second stage, and was far and away the best to play it.
Belladonna wasn’t the only one feeding off the strong vibe coming from the crowd – smiles were abundant as Scott Ian, Frank Bello, and the rest of the Anthrax guys ripped through a set of standard ragers with a couple new songs mixed in. The theme was set right away when the band opened the set with “Caught in a Mosh”. The crowd was happy to oblige, as the sea of humanity that the stage overlooked was in a frenzy during much of the set.
The great vibe between the crowd and the band was acknowledged several times by Belladonna. “It’s great to be out here in Columbus,” he said. “It’s about time we played here!” ROTR 2012 was the group’s first showing at the event – but based on how awesome the band performed, it hopefully won’t be the last. Belladonna’s vocals were as sharp as ever, and the band chose to play two songs from their latest album Worship Music that really show off his still-impressive vocal range. “Fight ‘Em Till You Can’t” and “The Devil You Know” each showcase the soaring highs and the fast-paced delivery Belladonna is capable of, each accented by plenty of shred from Ian and Rob Caggiano. In all, a fantastic set from a band that seems to be getting better and better with age!
Though the energy from the crowd was electric, the band provided plenty of the electricity themselves – Belladonna, Bello, and Ian each were seemingly in motion at all times. Ian’s famous beard may be finally giving way to gray, but his ability to jump-kick while shredding out riffs at rapid fire is still very well honed….
Megadeth began their set 45 minutes after Anthrax began, over at the Monster Energy Main Stage. Their set was a bit longer by virtue of being on the main stage, giving the thrash superstars more time for rockin’ out hits – and even the occasional story from frontman Dave Mustaine.
Megadeth’s set was filled with ragers like “Hanger 18” and “Head Crusher”, as well as old ‘Deth standards like “Peace Sells” and “Symphony of Destruction”. Mustaine and the rest of the band – Chris Broderick, Dave Ellefson, and Shawn Drover really seemed to have great chemistry on-stage. For several songs, the whole group gathered around Drover’s drum riser and just jammed together – like four friends just rippin’ through some metal jams in the garage (with at least 50,000 friends watching, that is!)
Mustaine told a tale of his love for Ohio that arose from his time touring with “that other band I was in” (of course, referring to his time in Metallica). “You know, we traveled through a lot of cities,” Mustaine said, “And I would look through the phone book and never see anyone with the same last name I have. Until I got to Ohio.” The master shredder went on to note that his family has Ohio ties that he only learned through follow-up research on that matter.
Another standout of the set was the band’s performance of the new single “Public Enemy #1”, a very heavy rager that had a music video accompanying it that was a favorite of Mustaine’s. “This is my favorite video, because it features my best friend Dave Ellefson in bed with a monkey!” (Why not, eh?)
Vic Rattlehead eventually made an appearance during “Peace Sells”. Rattlehead’s suit seemed to look a bit nicer than it did when the band last played in Cleveland – perhaps they went for some new threads especially for Columbus?
Like with the Anthrax show, it was obvious that Megadeth really fed off the energy from the massive (and growing) crowd. The band was all smiles at the end of the show, even posing for a group picture with the crowd as a backdrop so that they could remember the great time they had dominating Columbus at ROTR 2012. Clearly, ROTR benefitted big time by choosing to add Anthrax and Megadeth to the bill this year. The thrash legends truly helped make the event the best it has ever been!
1. Caught in a Mosh
2. Fight ‘Em Till You Can’t
3. Antisocial (Trust cover)
5. The Devil You Know
6. Got the Time (Joe Jackson cover)
8. I Am the Law
1. Never Dead
2. Head Crusher
3. Hangar 18
6. Sweating Bullets
7. Whose Life (Is it Anyways?)
8. Public Enemy #1
9. Symphony of Destruction
10. Peace Sells
11. Holy Wars…The Punishment Due
12. Silent Scorn