One word: Epic. Vocalist James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, lead guitarist Kirk Hannett, and bassist Robert Trujillo proved to the Times Union Center and Albany once again on November 12 that Metallica can still put on a show after 28 years of being together. (Well, minus Trujillo, who replaced Jason Newsted who replaced the late Cliff Burton, who replaced Ron McGovney.)
Opening for Metallica were Volbeat from Denmark and Lamb of God, putting on 30 minute and 45 minute sets, respectively. These guys were the perfect lead in for Metallica, laying down heavy and melodic tunes.
Running in from the zamboni bay to “The Ecstasy of Gold” from the movie The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in typical Metallica fashion, they took the stage to a crowd of over 14,000. The show kicked off with two songs from their newest album Death Magnetic.
The stage was set up with eight giant suspended coffins rigged with lighting that were raised and lowered throughout the set. Since it was a center stage, Ulrich had a rotating drum platform so he wouldn’t face one spot the entire show. Metallica’s set list was 18 songs long, representing eight studio albums. Over half the set was composed of songs from the Black Album or earlier.
The audience went wild after the promise from Hetfield that they were going to play some old stuff, going right into a three-song streak of “Ride the Lightning,” “The Memory Remains,” and “One.” A long intro of WWII battlefield sounds and plumes of flame built up anticipation for “One,”one of the best songs off And Justice for All.
Metallica’s last appearance was when their 2004 Madly In Anger With The World Tour made a stop at the then-Pepsi Arena. This show was hardly worth—the set consisted almost entirely of songs from St. Anger, which is not considered one of their best albums, and featured barely any old songs. Although it was still a great show, it was not as satisfying as their stop in Albany this past week.
Concluding the pre-encore set were two songs off the Black Album. Lighters flickered in the audience after the first notes of “Nothing Else Matters” were played. Ending on a sustained note, the recognizable intro riff from “Enter Sandman” began.
After a very quick encore break, Metallica came back to tease the crowd with a brief guitar/drum jam on “Harvester of Sorrow”. “Now is the part of the set where we play a cover song … paying tribute to the bands that made Metallica pick up and want to play,” remarked Hetfield. The encore set began with “Stone Cold Crazy,” originally done by Queen. Wrapping up the three-song encore set was “Seek and Destroy” with house lights up and a slew of giant Metallica beach balls dropped from the ceiling.
Here’s something interesting, in light of the Napster controversy—Metallica now sells soundboard mixes of their shows at http://www.livemetallica.com/, which, by the way, sound excellent. There are also many facts and statistics worthy of note about each show posted there.
So here’s to your next album and 30th anniversary tour, Metallica!