The Big 4 Live From Sofia, Bulgaria

Universal Music Video
Directed by Nick Wickham

At the time it was screened around the World on the night of the show, it was obvious the resultant DVD of Sonisphere Bulgaria 2010, one of the much-talked-about "Big 4" shows, would be a very high quality recording and, if done right, would easily be the live release of the year. The way it needed to be done was the way countless live documents before it have needed to be done and have not been, and that is to include everything. Fans who buy live DVDs want one thing and one thing only: the complete live show, uninterrupted. It's a simple premise that does not need altering. The number of live DVDs that have failed at this basic task is sometimes astonishing. The Big 4 Live From Sofia, Bulgaria doesn't make any such mistake.

Available in three configurations, the entire sets by all four of what were considered to be the biggest thrash bands of the 1980s, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax, have been included, without interruption. Both DVD and Blu-Ray editions of the sets are available individually, and a deluxe version adds CDs (two for Metallica, one each for the others) to the DVDs (there is no deluxe Blu-Ray edition), providing the audio of each bands' entire set. On the DVDs/Blu-Rays the first disc contains the full sets from Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth, while the second contains Metallica's show, plus backstage footage and interviews with all four bands. The video quality of the show, shot entirely in high definition, was very obviously exceptional even on the cinema screen. That this would be just as good or likely better on the final release was a stone cold certainty.

The main criticism of the original broadcast of the show was the audio quality, which had obviously not been mixed or mastered to the usual standard of a live recording because it was being done on-the-fly. In particular the lack of bass during Anthrax's set and most of Megadeth's. However it was obvious to most that this would be fixed for the commerical release, and it has been. The audio recording is now as good as anyone would expect of a professional live release. Improved even to the point where Dave Mustaine's vocals sound suspciously better than they did on the night. It's hard to say whether this is simply the result of the technical improvements made to the recording's mix or not, but most fans commented on his voice that night after the cinema broadcast, and now he sounds as good as he does on Megadeth's studio albums.

The deluxe edition, housed in a hard-cardboard box, also adds a large poster, guitar pick, photocards and expanded booklet to the package, with a second exclusive guitar pick available with copies ordered directly from Metallica's online store. A lot of effort has been made here, as Metallica did with the deluxe editions of both of their own recent live DVDs Francais Pour Une Nuit and Orgullo, Pasion, y Gloria, to make the deluxe edition as special as possible and to give the fans what they really want from a live release. Although Metallica's were nothing like as reasonably priced as this one is.

This release has met with almost universal praise, which goes to prove that what fans want is complete live recordings in good quality. They don't want live documents pieced together from different shows so that the singer changes clothes from one song to the next, they don't want the momentum of the show ruined every three songs by interview or backstage footage, and when they're being asked to pay "deluxe edition" price tags, they want to get good value for money. Seven discs and extra merchandise certainly represents that.

“ the live release of the year ”

Tracklist:
DVD 1/Blu-Ray 1 - Anthrax Caught In A Mosh / Got The Time / Madhouse / Be All, End All / Antisocial / Indians / Medusa / Only / Metal Thrashing Mad / I Am The Law
Megadeth Holy Wars / Hangar 18 / Wake Up Dead / Headcrusher / In My Darkest Hour / Skin O' My Teeth / A Tout Le Monde / Hook In Mouth / Trust / Sweating Bullets / Symphony of Destruction / Peace Sells
Slayer World Painted Blood / Jihad / War Ensemble / Hate Worldwide / Seasons In The Abyss / Angel of Death / Beauty Throught Order / Disciple / Mandatory Suicide / Chemical Warfare / South of Heaven / Raining Blood
DVD 2/Blu-Ray 2 - Metallica Creeping Death / For Whom The Bell Tolls / Fuel / Harvester of Sorrow / Fade To Black / That Was Just Your Life / Cyanide / Sad But True / Welcome Home (Sanitarium) / All Nightmare Long / One / Master of Puppets / Blackened / Nothing Else Matters / Enter Sandman / Am I Evil? / Hit The Lights / Seek And Destroy
Bonus Features: Documentary
CD 1 - Anthrax Caught In A Mosh / Got The Time / Madhouse / Be All, End All / Antisocial / Indians / Medusa / Only / Metal Thrashing Mad / I Am The Law
CD 2 - Megadeth Holy Wars / Hangar 18 / Wake Up Dead / Headcrusher / In My Darkest Hour / Skin O' My Teeth / A Tout Le Monde / Hook In Mouth / Trust / Sweating Bullets / Symphony of Destruction / Peace Sells
CD 3 - Slayer World Painted Blood / Jihad / War Ensemble / Hate Worldwide / Seasons In The Abyss / Angel of Death / Beauty Throught Order / Disciple / Mandatory Suicide / Chemical Warfare / South of Heaven / Raining Blood
CD 4 - Metallica Creeping Death / For Whom The Bell Tolls / Fuel / Harvester of Sorrow / Fade To Black / That Was Just Your Life / Cyanide / Sad But True / Welcome Home (Sanitarium) / All Nightmare Long
CD 5 - One / Master of Puppets / Blackened / Nothing Else Matters / Enter Sandman / Am I Evil? / Hit The Lights / Seek And Destroy

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2010, Boxed Sets, Live DVDs, Thrash Metal, , , ,

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