Date: May 19th, 2017
Opening Acts: Volbeat, Local H, Mixmaster Mike
Growing up you go through a lot of musical tastes, but one thing stands true, there’s always a gateway band that got you there. Back in 1991, at 13 I was exposed to one of the most prominent Metal bands of our time through MTV and constant awards and other TV appearances. From “Enter Sandman” to “Where I May Roam”, Metallica became a daily way of life. I ended up going back and extensively studying their massively huge back catalog of the first 4 albums and eventually culminating with the celebration of Metallica’s legacy with the ‘Live Shit: Bing and Purge’ Box set. 1994 rolled around and unfortunately as good as my Mom tried we couldn’t get tickets to see Metallica at the Orange County Speedway in Middletown. It wasn’t until 2003 that I got my first shot at seeing the band after detouring musically and studying other bands and genres I finally got to see them, and followed up on one my earliest Heavy Metal interested. Another 3 shows deep with the last being during the Death Magnetic cycle in 2009, this would be my first time seeing them in 8 years.
While not as impressive as some of my guests whom have seen the band ranging from 10-26 times, this was my 5th Metallica show. I was curious to see how they’d do setlist wise considering the band’s been around 30+ years with 10 studio albums worth of material. They had a great balance of earlier classics and material from their latest album Hardwired… to Self Destruct. While Load, St Anger and Death Magnetic weren’t represented on this show, we got some welcome surprises with the return of “Unforgiven”, “Motorbreath” and “Fight Fire With Fire”.
The set opened with a flurry of new songs like “Hardwired”, “Atlas Rise!”, “Now That We’re Dead” “Moth Into Flame” and “Halo On Fire” which came off flawlessly, all the while interspliced with classics like “For Whom The Bell Tolls.” A few touching tributes to the recently fallen Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell came at the end of “Unforgiven” with Hetfield saying “Chris you are forgiven” and Rob busting into a piece of “Black Hole Sun” before playing a piece of the classic Cliff Burton bass solo “Anesthesia” flawlessly. The band ended up stripping down what was their most ambitious stage production complete with towering video screens, fire and pyro when a drum set popped up in the crowd front outer snakepit trying to recreate the garage like feel of “Seek and Destroy” in the boomy huge Gillette Stadium. And also noteworthy Lars has really stepped up his game and did not miss a beat on one of my personal favorites “One;” nailing that double kick part that has inspired thousands to take up playing.
Closing out with ‘Black Album’ staples “Nothing Else Matters” and “Enter Sandman” was the perfect cap to a really great performance by one of, if not the biggest metal band currently active.
Opening performances left little to be desired as traffic presented us from seeing the winner of the local band opening contest who possibly took it a little too literally Local H, we did however manage to catch Denmark’s Volbeat, to which none of the material resonated in familiarity, other than possibly sounding like Grave era Misfits tunes. Overall the crowd didn’t seem to have any issues with. Mix Master Mike, who’s been out with the band before provided well spun DJ work mixing up some modern metal as well as classics, only to remind me of how much I miss his work with the Beastie Boys from tours decades ago.
Bottom line is with Metallica being a heavy metal staple, it’s kind of hard to ignore that they still remain at the top of the pack when it comes to metal, and they are not an act to miss when they roll through your area!