Metallica delivers a knockout
punch live in Utah
James Hetfield gets the crowd roaring. / Photo by
By Ben Hansen
November 7, 2008 | "Where have all of the mullets
That was my question as I entered the Energy Solutions
Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday night. Metallica,
the thrash metal, chart-topping, lords of the '80s mullet
have long since passed the days of wearing the outdated
hairstyle. Surprisingly enough, only a handful of the
fans have clung onto this hairdo from what many consider
Metallica's early glory days. So with the mullets gone,
would Metallica forget this era in their live set?
Metallica covered both the early and later ends of
the band's musical career, pounding out a heavy dose
of early speed metal classics, while giving the new
fans exactly what they were looking for with a healthy
helping of current album splendor. From opening the
show with the band's first track off of the new Death
Magnetic album, That Was Just Your Life,
going immediately into the blistering classic, Creeping
Death from 1984's Ride the Lightning,
the band quickly let the crowd know that it was going
to be a night to remember.
Lead singer and guitarist James Hetfield raised the
adrenaline of every audience member throughout the night,
barking and growling lyrics from numerous microphones
set up in various places throughout the stage. The sight
of James' 6-foot-1 frame curled over a microphone belting
out the classic song One from the album And
Justice for All, while flashpot pyrotechnics and
strobe lights went off repeatedly, was enough to whip
the general admission portion of the audience on the
floor into a complete frenzy, causing security guards
to scurry throughout the crowd to keep fans from going
over the edge.
With five consecutive No. 1 albums, it would be impossible
for obsessive fans to hear everything that they wanted.
To the audience's surprise, instead of delivery a standard
"hits" package like many live bands, Metallica
churned through as many fan favorites as hits throughout
the night. Three songs off of the early album Master
of Puppets were played, including the title track,
Battery and Disposable Heroes, much
to the delight of fans ravenous for some "old"
New tracks from the Death Magnetic
album were blended seamlessly with old, as the band
pulled out the new favorites Cyanide, The End of
the Line and Broken, Beat and Scarred.
Although these songs are all less than two months since
release, the audience sang along with such volume that
it was difficult to hear James' vocals at times.
Other songs that stood out in the band's set included
Wherever I May Roam, For Whom the Bell Tolls
and the closing song, Enter Sandman.
As fans began to realize that their voices were gone
from shouting and screaming for over an hour and a half,
Metallica returned to the stage and delivered encores
with covers of punk metal classics Die, Die My Darling
and So What. After the last note was hit, house
lights came on and James thanked everyone for coming.
He looked out to the audience and demanded everyone
go home several times. Nobody budged. With a smile and
a laugh, he struck the first few notes to the song Seek
and Destroy from the first CD Kill 'Em All,
when suddenly giant black beach balls came flying down
from the ceiling onto all areas of the audience. By
the time the song was over, the crowd was again in frenzy.
The band fed even further into this by walking around
the stage for the next several minutes throwing out
dozens of signature guitar picks and drum sticks before
calling it a night.
It's hard to believe that Metallica has been touring
the U.S. for 25 years. Most heavy rockers may have some
of the same old moves, but the songs get slower, the
music can change, and many time "artsy" variations
of a band's classics become part of the live set. For
these guys, this could not be further from the truth.
With a platinum new album worthy of gaining new fans
and regaining old ones, and a concert nothing short
of mesmerizing, Metallica has once again proven that
its band members are the Greek gods of heavy metal.