Alive 2 (DVD)

Anthrax

Island Records, 2005

http://anthrax.com

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/01/2005

As the first notes of Alive 2, the video celebration of the 1985-1991 lineup of the band reunion, make their way to your ears, the stage is dark and mysterious.

See, band reunions can be hits or misses. For example, KISS misses continuously every time they allow drummer Peter Criss to sing, whether it's during "Beth" or a single chorus of "Rock and Roll All Night." They made this mistake twice -- on their Unplugged release and on their more recent Alive III. I admit I was worried that Anthrax might be capable of including such a gross misstep.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Fortunately, that is not the case on this DVD. Instead, the reunion goes off without a hitch. If the band screwed up playing the songs that came together after three days of rehearsals, I didn't hear it. So sure, the music on this DVD is spectacular. This concert was recorded on June 3, 2005 at the Starland in Sayreville, NJ.

What is more noteworthy than the band playing these songs is the reasoning given by band members in their separate interviews and when the band is together, talking about reuniting. The words of guitarist Scott Ian hits home. He says that when Dimebag Darrell, the Damage Plan guitarist, was murdered on stage, it started discussions about "what if we can't do this [reunite] someday." It put life into perspective. In individual interviews, guitarist Dan Spitz talks about how he became a master watch-maker, putting intricate watches together. He honed his craft and when he speaks about it, I could see the pride in his work in his eyes. There was a contagious feeling to listening to him speak, not as a guitarist of Anthrax who was picking up his guitar to play the songs that he hadn't played with his bandmates for years, but as Dan Spitz, human being. I won't claim that I know what this guy is like, but I can say that I have a deeper appreciation for him as a human being.

Vocalist Joey Belladonna is interviewed at Electric Ladyland Studios and talks about how he left the band. This is edited with guitarist Scott Ian and drummer Charlie Benante talking about his departure. Ian talks about how it was the hardest decision as a band that they had to make. Benante talks about how he didn't hear Belladonna singing the songs that he was writing. These interviews provide a deep retrospective evaluation of the band that provides how the decisions that were made came to be reality.

Alive 2 celebrates the energy and passion the members of Anthrax were able to create on stage during their time together. It goes off without a hitch, and the interviews drive home the experience of this reunion.

Rating: A

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