Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Life Lessons from the Big Four Concert

Everything I need to know, I learned at the Big Four Concert. Skeptical? Of course you are. Read on and see if you agree.

1. Classic is always perfect. Whether it's a little black dress or Anthrax opening with Caught in a Mosh, you can't go wrong with a classic. This rule applies to everything from  sweater sets to appetizers. Which would you prefer, the Tasty Toothpick Tower?

Or the Baked Brie?

2. Scale is Important. Big Guys look great with big accessories. Can you imagine Kerry King in a thin gold chain? Of course not. His gigantic neck would swallow it up. Likewise, make sure your accessories match the scale of both your stature and your look.

"It's easy to ruin an otherwise great outfit by choosing the wrong accessories. However, on the flip side, it's easy to make an ordinary outfit look great with the right accessories. "

3. Medical Set-backs are not the end of doing what you love; but you may need to do what you love a bit differently. 
Slayer's vocalist/bassist, Tom Araya's ... diagnosed as a Cervical Radiculopathy, an occupational hazard for the rocker who is known for aggressively swinging his long mane of hair (headbanging) while performing. Right after the first of the year, Araya made the difficult decision to undergo a surgical procedure, called an Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion...

and here he is, six months later rocking hard in Sofia, Bulgaria. Yes, his head didn't even bob, let alone bang; but he was on stage, entertaining thousands and based on the huge grin on his face he was loving every minute of it.

4. Look people in the eye. Engage your audience. My one small complaint about the Megadeth set is that Dave Mustaine didn't interact with the crowd or even look up. Whether your running a meeting or teaching Sunday School, it's vital to look at your audience and connect with them. Singing to your shoes won't win you any (new) fans. In contrast, Slayer's Jeff Hanneman gives the impression of a really shy guy, he even turned away from the crowd and faced the wall while doing a solo, but he made a strong effort to look at people and engage them.

5. Hedge your bets. An amusing quirk I noted during the Anthrax set was that whenever lyrics would pop up like "go to hell" or "burn in hell", Joey Belladonna would cross himself and make a "just kidding" face. (Perhaps lesson 5.5 is that even rock stars acknowledge the existence/possibility of a Higher Power.) So my suggestion is to fall in love in high school AND go to college. Practice your bass guitar for hours a day AND get a law degree. It never hurts to diversify.

6. Consider Context. Angel of Death (Slayer) was a little hard to handle knowing that they were playing in an area that sided with the Axis power during WWII. Although they managed to save their entire native Jewish population, Bulgaria occupied Yugoslav and Greek territories and had those Jewish people deported to the Treblinka death camp in occupied Poland. I can't say it's a song I would have chosen.

Auschwitz, the meaning of pain
The way that I want you to die
Slow death, immense decay
Showers that cleanse you of your life
Forced in
Like cattle
You run
Stripped of
Your life's worth
Human mice, for the angel of death
Four hundred thousand more to die
 Considering context can make the difference between accolades and apologies.

7. Show Respect, pay your respects and acknowledge your influences and inspiration. Some of the best moments of the Big Four concert was when Scott Ian, Lars Ulrich, Dave Mustaine and Kerry King talked about the great bands that came before them (Zeppelin, Kiss, Sabbath and others) and inspired their love of music. There was also a touching tribute to Ronnie James Dio who died of cancer last month. Lars talked about meeting him for the first time when he was ten and how nice he was, how he took time to talk with him and how that experience totally blew his mind. Each of the musicians had great memories of Dio and they were happy to take the focus off themselves and move it to honoring their heroes. As a blogger and a crafter I know that any "new" idea I have is only because I am standing on the shoulders of greats like Crafty Chica, Alisa Burke, Pam Carriker (and so many more). It was a beautiful and touching reminder to acknowledge and honor those influences.

7. Be Yourself. Rob Trujillo is awesome in his weirdness. I loved him in Suicidal Tendencies and I LOVE him in Metallica. That said, I was really worried that he would be consumed by Metallica and stop being so strange. I am pleased to report that he's still letting his freak flag fly.

 Sure, his jersey is black now - not red or green or white - but his essential Rob-ness is intact. No matter how cool a group you join, don't forget it's made better by your uniqueness. Don't be a sheep.

8. Time heals all wounds and no hurt is so great that friendship can't overcome it. Seeing Dave Mustaine and James Hetfield standing shoulder to shoulder, guitar to guitar, was such an incredible, unexpected Kumbaya moment that it gave you faith in humanity. There are literally thousands of posts this morning that start with, " I never thought I'd see the day...". It made peace in the Middle East seem possible.

Ditto for Joey Belladonna being back with Anthrax and  David Ellefson reuniting with Megadeth after all that unpleasantness. To quote Mustaine, 

"This shows the power of brotherly love and forgiveness," 

I thought I'd end with a clip of the landmark moment when representatives of all four bands played together. I doubt it's work safe due to language (consider yourself warned!) Hope you like it. 

So there you have it, life lessons from the Big Four concert.


chksngr said... and uplifting and metal and flying hair all in one post. I think this is why I love you so much! :-)

Lisa - papergrace said...

OMG!! This looks like an amaaaaaazing show! And I love that you got so much out of it than just the music.

YOU ROCK!! \m/ \m/

Anonymous said...

My little laptop speakers do NOT do that justice. :-)

Tiff said...

This is the best blog post I've seen in years!!!! A close 2nd would be a blog about LOST... LOL!

Dara Lynn said...

Nicole.... TFL!!!!! Both my son and I are so into music... it is something we share together...lotsa of "Am I Evil" brings back memories of me and my best friend head banging, me driving, and raming the guy in front of me....wrecked my car, but 20 years later, we still sing it together and laugh about that wreck! I sure would have wrestled you for that ticket!!!

Carmen said...

OMG! Loved this post to bits and may even (with your permission) print bits of it out! Loved it and am def showing my eldest DD the bit about being an individual within the group. Oh the talks we have on THAT subject!

Beth@The Stories of A to Z said...

What a great job at combining your loves in life and finding deep meaning out of...heavy metal bands of all things! Love it!

Madeleine Bouquet said...

I love this! Completely awesome post!


SarahLP said...

WOW Nicole!! This takes me back to..ummm about 1990 I think! I remember so clearly the moment when Slayer came on stage and Tom Araya slowly gazed around the crowd to the intro of 'South of Heaven'. I nearly passed out with excitement! :D

LOVED the life lessons you extracted from the concert.. and awesome to see the big four are still going strong!

hungryhippie said...

Can I just say- I LOVE YOUR BLOG! It's like you're in my head...I was a slave to Metallica in my teen angst years, and I always tried to explain the intelligence of heavy metal band lyrics to my no avail. :o) AWSOME GIRL!


Anonymous said...

Hmmm.... the Tasty Toothpick Tower or the Baked Brie... is that a trick question? Surely there isn't a wrong answer?

Anonymous said...

so funny and yet so true!!!

Sarah said...

lol this post takes me back!

I still have my old leather jacket from about 1988 with the famous Anthrax duck saying “caught in a mosh” on the back (I painted it myself in silver paint, I was so proud of it at the time :) )

And one of my claims to fame is spending the night with Dave Mustaine in his hotel room – no not in *that* way – he was very ill (from drinking too much :D) and I basically looked after him for the night and made sure he didn’t choke on his own vomit – oh! The glamour! :D

As for Robbie Trujillo <3 <3 <3 ;)