January 24, 2023
Burton Cummings Theatre
A cold brisk night wasn't keeping metal fans at home as they flocked down to Winnipeg's legendary Burton Cummings Theatre to celebrate the big fortieth anniversary of thrash legends Anthrax with an utterly sold-out venue. The show had an earlier start time than most shows beginning at 6:30 PM, the night's first band -of a star-studded lineup. Exodus hit the stage to perform a nine-song set. This marks the second time the band's been back to Winnipeg in three months and also the second time the band's been to the city since the return of vocalist Steve "Zetro" Souza in 2014. Bassist Jack Gibson, guitarist Gary Holt, drummer Tom Hunting, and guitarist Lee Altus round out the current lineup of Exodus.
Exodus. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.
The thrash icons have a discography that spans a strong thirty-six years the band performed songs from throughout their entire catalogue. They started strong with "The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves)," off their latest offering, Persona Non Grata (2021). But the band kept the rowdy crowd entertained by performing their hits such as "Bonded By Blood," "A Lesson In Violence," "Blood In, Blood Out," and "The Toxic Waltz." Shortly before the end of the band's set, the thrashers called for the audience to split down the middle and participate in a wall of death during the fan favourite "The Toxic Waltz."
Black Label Society. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.
Second to the stage were the heavy metallers Black Label Society. The band currently consists of vocalist and guitarist Zakk Wylde, bassist John "J.D." DeServio, drummer Jeff Fabb, and guitarist Dario Lorina. Following the same as Exodus, Black Label Society opened their powerful set with the song "Destroy & Conquer" off their most recent album, Doom Crew Inc. (2021). The band performed thirteen tracks from their eleven album discography, but the majority of their set was from the more recent albums, with tracks such as "A Love Unreal," "Stillborn," and "Suicide Messiah." However, the band did play "The Beginning... At Last," off their debut record, Sonic Brew (1999). Approximately halfway through their set, when Black Label performed the emotional piano metal ballad, "In This River," two banners dropped over the two giant stacks of guitar amps that dawned pictures of the late Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul. It's no mystery that Wylde and Dimebag were close friends, and recently Wylde was recruited by the surviving members of Pantera -vocalist Phil Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown- to hit the road to honour both Dime and Vinnie.
Anthrax. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.
Following Black Label Society was the one and only Anthrax. Also known as one of the thrash metal "Big Four" alongside the likes of Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer. Anthrax is currently on a massive world tour to celebrate their big fortieth -or as Scott Ian said on stage, "We're more like fourty-one and a half now." The band is on the heels of their newly released live video and audio album, XL -released last summer on July 22, via Nuclear Blast, to be precise. It compiles the band's fortieth-anniversary live stream show, which was shot on a Los Angeles soundstage in 2021, and features a full set of hits and deep cuts from Anthrax's extensive catalogue.
Anthrax came to have another great time with the famously known Winnipeg crowd. This marks the first time Anthrax has been to Winnipeg in approximately four years when they last played at the Canada Life Centre -at the time known as Bell MTS Place- opening for their big four brothern Slayer on their farewell tour. Anthrax performed a chunk of their gems, starting huge with "Among the Living" and going straight into "Caught in a Mosh," which got the Winnipeg crowd riled up right off the bat. Some other songs performed were "I Am The Law," "Antisocial," "Got The Time," and the set-closing "Indians." Notably, before the band made their way off stage, the rambunctious Winnipeg audience began to sing the Canadian national anthem, "O' Canada," just as they did the last time they were here in Winnipeg.