Have you had enough of horns and gumbo? Me, too.
Let’s turn up the volume and feel the bass. Let’s head bang in time with the music. Let’s have a lot of electric guitar, pounding drums, and fast songs about topics not generally discussed in polite society. Let’s have some serious body ink in the crowd. Let’s see some pyrotechnics.
It’s time, my friends, for Metallica.
I used to have a rule never to see concerts in stadiums. But I’ve broken that rule a few times in the last year, so maybe I need to admit that it’s more of a guideline than a rule. Whatever. I have said before that there are some bands that you only get the chance to see in a stadium, and then you have to make the choice: never see them, or suck it up and dive in with the other 60,000 fans. I went with the latter experience and gorged on the heavy metal mastery of Metallica at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
Now, MetLife Stadium isn’t all that far from where Thomas Edison harnessed electricity to produce the world’s first light bulbs, recorded music and films. As I sat and watched Metallica bring it, I don’t think Mr. Edison could have ever imagined what his inventions unleashed. This show was big, used a ton of the electrical grid, and had it all: great and massive staging, huge walls of amplified music, big-screen goulish videos, lots and lots of fire and fireworks, and a massive and appreciative crowd. If you’re going to burn fossil fuels, this is the way that you do it.
I’m not the biggest Metallica fan in the world, but I own enough CDs to qualify as part of their horde. And since I went to Virginia Tech, I’m really partial to this band. For those who, shockingly, don’t know, the Hokie football team enters a frenetic Lane Stadium to the sounds of “Enter Sandman.” Here, check it out and turn green with envy that you didn’t go to Tech (or bust with pride that you did):
Anyway, I had never seen Metallica before, and was looking forward to it. I had a good crew of 5 dudes to check out the show with, and everyone was psyched and ready for some hard-ass rock ‘n roll. After all, we were there on Mother’s Day and as one person commented, nothing says Mother’s Day like Metallica.
Before Metallica came out, Volbeat and Avenged Sevenfold warmed up the crowd. What must it be like to go from struggling and playing small venues to, all of a sudden, playing a football stadium in front of 60,000 fans with a stage that is the biggest you’ve ever seen? It must be so cool. Back to the music: Volbeat was average metal, but Avenged Sevenfold was pretty darn good. For the latter, close your eyes and you hear something like Motley Crue, not a bad sound. And they had a good stage presence. I liked them. Here are a couple of pictures of Avenged Sevenfold.
Now, on to the main event. Unlike Stevie Wonder, who wouldn’t shut up about how much he loved us all, and who droned on and on that we should be good to each other, not be divisive, blah blah, James Hetfield offered a different and short message. He came out and gave a speech that I would characterize as the “Metallica Doesn’t Give a Shit” elegy. Hetfield said Metallica didn’t give a shit what you did for a living, how much money you had, the color of your skin, your sex or sexual preference, or who you voted for. They only gave a shit that you were out living your life large by going to see live rock ‘n roll, and that you were part of the Metallica nation. That was it. Short, sweet and honest. I dug the message and so did the rest of the crowd.
Metallica has been around for about 30 years. They remain the reigning kings of metal, and they also remain a top-flight live act. They are masters of their craft and rulers of the stadium. The stage they use is huge, with massive screens behind them that both project images of the band at work, and show videos that work with the subject of the songs. Avenge Sevenfold used the video board to honor Johnny Cash while they covered “Ring of Fire.” Look at the photo they projected:
Metallica ripped through music from their 30 year history, including “The Unforgiven,” “Master of Puppets,” “Fuel,” “Fade to Black,” “Wherever I May Roam,” and, of course, “Enter Sandman.” People were jamming, head banging, roaring with approval, and loving the scene. I’ve been in metal and punk crowds a lot, and they can get hairy sometimes, but not here (well, there are always exceptions – we did see one guy get pulled out by the cops – check out the cops and Mr. Narco here):
People were clearly metal heads, but generally not assholes. It was cool.
I brought a small 35 mm camera with me, and got some good shots. You’ve already seen some above, but check out the rest. Here you go:
I recommend seeing Metallica at least once. My crew agreed, with some of them saying it was the best live show they have seen in a long time. That indicates that they haven’t seen Low Cut Connie yet. But they were on target that it was a damn good show, and worth seeing.
OK, kiddos, it’s time for me to move on and let you do something else. I know that you want to spend all of your time on BRP, right? It’s understandable. Remember that BRP doesn’t give a shit what else you do with your life, but does give a shit that you swing by often to see what’s happening here. Thanks for stopping by and come back for my review of the Pixies and a holiday post.
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.