Concert Review: Anthrax in Stroudsburg, PA – January 27, 2018
Rating: 8 out of 10
On a chilly Saturday night in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, a sold out crowd packed Stroudsburg’s Sherman Theater to take in the spectacle known as The Killthrax II Tour. Killthrax II is a sequel to last year’s Killthrax tour that once again sees thrash godfathers, Anthrax co-headlining with modern metal titans, Killswitch Engage. Denver’s Havok rounds out the bill as the opening act.
Full disclosure: I have an open mind and appreciate all bands for what they are and appreciate talent even when I am not a fan of a band or style of music. With that being said, Havok was excellent and Killswitch put on an incredible show. However, the reason that I stood outside for 90 minutes freezing my ass off, was to get a good spot in front of the stage to see the boys from Queens. They did not disappoint.
Taking the stage to The Blues Brothers intro tape, their legendary sense of humor was on full display until they hit the opening chords of “Among The Living.” It became clear that they were not fooling around. Sandwiched in the middle slot on the bill, the co-headlining set up only gave them about 85 minutes to attempt to win the night. It turns out that was plenty of time. Anthrax puts out more energy on stage than bands that are half of their age and the setlist was a murderer’s row of legendary classics with two newer songs thrown in to remind people that this is not a nostalgia act. “Caught In A Mosh”, “Got The Time”, and “Madhouse” kept the crowd’s energy at a peak. “Fight’em Till You Can’t” and “Breathing Lightning” showed off two of band’s more recent compositions and they fit seamlessly in the set full of otherwise vintage material. “Medusa” was up next and it gave Joey Belladonna an opportunity to show that he can still hit the notes that he did in his 20’s. In my opinion, Joey’s vocals have always been the key ingredient that separates Anthrax from the rest of The Big Four. Over the years, his vocal phrasings and melodies have made him the “Steve Perry” of metal and I mean that as a huge compliment.
“Belly Of The Beast” was up next and the instrumental introduction, “Intro To Reality”, gave Scott Ian, Frankie Bello, Charlie Benante, and Jon Donais a chance to shine while Joey caught his breath. “Be All End All” gave a nod to the State of Euphoria album, which is celebrating its 30th birthday this year (yikes). They concluded the set by blowing the roof off the theater with “Antisocial” and the classic “Indians”.
With Slayer’s recent announcement that they are retiring, I am once again reminded of the ticking clock and that all of these classic bands have an expiration date. When it comes to hard rock and metal, that date is usually expedited by the physicality that the music requires when played on stage. I’m happy to report that Anthrax shows no signs of that date approaching for them anytime soon. Killthrax II has dates booked through early March. If it is playing near your town, don’t miss it!
Written by Sam Supey. Follow him on Twitter @SamSupey