It’s Metallica! Last time I saw Metallica was June 17, 1994 They played the Orange County Fairground (NY) with Suicidal Tendencies and Danzig. Today was exciting as it was my first time seeing Metallica with their new bassist who originally played with Suicidal Tendencies. Full circle (sans Glenn)
The original lineup for this gig was Avenged Sevenfold, Volbeat, and Metallica. Due to an impending birth, Avenged Sevenfold canceled in the morning. Word came in that the replacement would be Mixmaster Mike. Unknown to some attendees, the Beastie Boys DJ was certainly an interesting choice. I for one was excited as I knew he’d be able to pull off a metal set that was interesting and well executed even with minimal prep time.
Volbeat came on next. Their arrival was signaled by what I assume must be the most over-referenced pandering cue ever… Gonna Fly Now by Bill Conti. I assume Philly has learned to live with this though. Volbeat was so excited and grateful to be there it bordered on cute. Constant thanks to the crowd and giddy excitement followed them all over the massive stage. I don’t know their songs enough to discuss their set in detail but the super fans in the crowd were very excited. Even the young ones:
A word about the stage as used by Metallica once they came on. A football field is 160 feet (48.7 meters) wide and this stage covered 90% of it. I expected a big stage but it didn’t need to be that big for sure. One thought was, why not do some stage in the middle like the superbowl? The backdrop included 5 video panels topped with rigging we assumed contained pyrotechnics. The front of the stage had a semi-circle ramp into the floor section including a pit of fans trapped in the middle. Microphones were scattered across the huge stage and without spotlights, the band members looked like hockey pucks on the ice-white stage. There were no pedalboards, no amps, no monitors. The guitar and bass tones were managed backstage and in-ear monitors plus wireless guitars allowed for total travel across the massive stage. The crew was seamless and intricate as well. Acoustic guitars on stands showed up for the appropriate songs then disappeared without notice. At one point, four taiko drums manifested on stage for an interesting drum solo played by all members. Later in the show, the band came to the end of the circle ramp, deeper into the crowd where a drum kit rose from underneath. Jokes of Lars needing to be seen swirled through the crowd.
They still got it. That’s the best I can say. You can’t come to any show expecting the album version. Sometimes you go to the show BECAUSE you want some deviation. For Metallica, the music was near perfect with some variation in tempo from the album version. The only significant deviation was some of the vocals. Certainly not bad in any way just a bit… older.
Songs covered most of the albums (that you’d want to hear from) with a quick tribute to Cliff. They skipped the long guitar and drum solos from past shows but they have more songs now so that makes sense. Many of the songs included synchronized themed videos. Of note were Unforgiven, One, and Master Of Puppets. They also featured scenes from their movie and some girl fight scene. Maybe someone can explain that one to me. The setlist was great overall as was the performance. If you have ever liked them you should make it a point to see them.
- ATLAS, RISE!
- FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS
- CREEPING DEATH
- THE UNFORGIVEN
- NOW THAT WE’RE DEAD
- MOTH INTO FLAME
- WHEREVER I MAY ROAM
- HALO ON FIRE
- SAD BUT TRUE
- MASTER OF PUPPETS
- FADE TO BLACK
- SEEK AND DESTROY