Video: Chilean Anthrax Fans Start a Bonfire in the Pit (Again)

  • Axl Rosenberg

Hey. Vince said that Anthrax have quietly become the coolest band of the Big Four. He didn’t say they’d become the smartest.

Some context: in 2013, the legendary thrashers filmed a show at Teatro Caupolicán in Santiago, Chile, which was released the following year as Chile on Hell. I’m not sure if the fans were inspired by the DVD’s title or were the inspiration for the DVD’s title, but if you watch the footage, you can see attendees start goddamn fire in the pit less than two minutes into Anthrax’s opening song:


As Vince put it when Bullet for My Valentine fans pulled a similar stunt last year, this may make for a cool visual, but it’s a dumb idea. By this point, The Station Fire should have taught everyone a lesson about the dangers of fire at enclosed concerts… but we got another painful reminder of those dangers in 2015, when 29 people were killed and 180 injured during a concert by Romanian metalcore band Goodbye to Gravity, who, like Great White at The Station, used a bunch pyro improperly, which consequently set the venue on fire.

(If at this point you’re thinking, “Okay, but the bands using pyro and the fans starting a fire are two completely separate things… the fans acting like idiots isn’t Anthrax’s fault!”, I’d reply, “Just wait.”)

Which brings us to this week. This past Sunday, November 12, Anthrax returned to Teatro Caupolicán… and just hours before the show, Scott Ian took to social media to actively encourage concertgoers to repeat the incident from Chile on Hell:

\Naturally, because people are rrrreeeaaallllyyyy bad at questioning their heroes, those attending the show obliged Ian… and were commended for doing so.

Look. I get it. As I said, that shit looks really cool. As Scott Ian, it must feel amazing to know you can go on the net and tell people to do something and they’ll do it. And, generally speaking, no artist wants to scold or insult his fans, because, y’know, it’s bad for business.

But I ask you, at the risk of sounding like your mom: is any metal show worth dying for? If this stunt had gone awry, a lot of people could have been hurt or killed. And if you’re a sociopath and that notion doesn’t disturb you, here’s a purely selfish argument against this kind of thing: if a lot of people died in a fire at an Anthrax concert, Anthrax’s career would be done. This would not have been an unfortunate coincidence, like the anthrax scare of 2001; again, note that Ian was on social media urging fans to start the fire.

Some Facebookers have left comments attempting to, um, politely point out that this was ill-advised:


Of course, there are other factors to consider in this case: the venue was bigger than the ones in Romania and Rhode Island, so the ceiling was hire, so the chances of the building catching fire were less… but still. This is a whole lotta people circle pitting around a massive flame… it is not at all outside the realm of possibility that shit could have gone seriously wrong. Shit, if I was at any event in any enclosed space and anyone started an impromptu fire of this size, my antenna would go up. Like I said: no metal show is worth dying over.

I can’t believe I’m typing this, but Bullet for My Valentine handled their fire-starting fans with far greater grace than Ian and Anthrax: they thanked the crowd for its support, but added, “this is very dangerous and as awesome as it looks please don’t bring flares to shows as it could have ended up pretty bad.” No one gets offended, everyone lives to rock another day. Classy!

Alright. I’ve said my piece. Everyone have fun, but stay safe! Your mother and I will be watching 60 Minutes, call us if you need anything.

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