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A nightmare of apocalyptic mythology and orgasmic fire, Metallica’s Commonwealth Stadium show lit up legacy with explosions to cap their North American WorldWired tour now witnessed by hundreds of thousands — the band’s first on the continent in eight years.
As Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows put it in their superb opening set, Metallica is the last of the metal acts that can fill a stadium as they did Wednesday night, mining 36 years of thrash, planet-roping hard rock and a laser-driven squadron of long, dystopian songs that had the crowd of 45,000-plus screaming their vocal chords to shreds from the first live number, Hardwired, paired with another new anthem: Atlas, Rise!
“So before we go any further,” Hetfield said poignantly in the midst of our current global polarization, “we gotta make something very clear. Metallica doesn’t give a shit about the differences, OK? We care about the similarities.
“We don’t care who you voted for, what you do and don’t eat — we don’t care what colour your skin is — what you do for a job. What we do care about is the fact we’re all together here, celebrating life with music. You are Metallica family — all are welcome.
“Are you with us?”
Cue 1984’s For Whom the Bell Tolls, one of a decent selection of savage classics from these decades-enduring maniacs, who balanced five songs from last year’s Hardwired… to Self-Destruct with one of the deepest-cuts sets of their three months on the runway.
This included three begged-for bedrock gems from the masterpiece Kill Em All: Hit the Lights, Seek & Destroy (which ended the main body of the show) — and a spectacular video-haunted tribute, (Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth, to legendary bass player Cliff Burton by the band’s newest, yet longest-standing, bassist Robert Trujillo, a creature of meat and pure power. So all that was the total best, in the parlance of hyperbolic teenage texters. But for real.
I’ll shoehorn praise for Gojira here: blast beats, walls of sound and the odd Middle eastern riffery that would be incomprehensible as music to a time traveller from the ’80s, maybe some sort of Japanese art experiment …
But counting their beats they slayed, singer Joe Duplantier a delightful and grateful presence. Avenged’s tunes found guitar played more classically, and Shadows’ summoned Dio, Ozzy, Diamond Dave, even Axl. Both bands were tight and right to get the bubbles forming over the burner.
Back to the big dogs, Metallica favoured the 1991 black album named Metallica for the obvious reason that it took them in a long orbit around Sol 3 that hasn’t ended yet. Each of these hits a “Yes, well, of course,” as we saw Hetfield wearing his acoustic over his electric for The Unforgiven; another kinda-country song Wherever I May Roam; two more in the encore we’ll get to later; and, most excellently, the desperate and dead-end snarl, Sad But True. “I’m your paaaaaain!” The blues!
Fireballs, meanwhile, punctuated Reload’s The Memory Remains, the only survivor in this splendid set from Metallica’s diverse and experimental middle years. Honestly, I would’ve been happy hearing The Outlaw Torn or Shoot Me Again, but this show was about hard and heavy monster (if once-underground) hits and pretty much every slower, ballad-y thing the band ever wrote, from Fade to Black to Nothing Else Matters in the middle of the encore to the ever-escalating One, which had a seriously terrifying video of Great War soldiers shuffling along in silhouette, only revealed to be the terrifying undead. Please don’t visit our dreams.
But if there’s one thing metal fans really can’t get enough of, it’s skeletons.
All night, almost three hours, drummer Lars Ulrich grinned and stuck his tongue out, Hetfield laughing and yelping, kneeling down a lot to play inches away from the snakepit crowd surrounded by the wide U of the thrust stage. And god was guitarist Kirk Hammett on fire all night.
The band spent lots of time up front later on, squished together, Hetfield, 54, noting it all came out of a small, cramped garage — a million miles away from the four bandmates playing four Taiko drums in a circle during the weirdest part of the night, which felt more like a therapeutic dare than anything else. Fortunately no flutes emerged — that we could see, anyway.
The whole show was broadcast live on the inner nut — say it out loud — so watchers from around the world saw Edmonton wide-eye the splendid Moth Into Flame, where a man-sized shark fin of fire roved left and right across the stage, and Master of Puppets was a well-loved, barking singalong.
Blackened, in the encore, even more so, with its lyrics “See our mother put to death — see our mother die!” Like I said, apocalyptic, though this symbolic matricide was offset by the band’s accidental Valentine to mothers: the towering pair of letters flanking the stage, spelling MA.
As this lovely evening of end-of-the-world fetishizing wore down, Blackened led to a love song and a lullaby: Nothing Else Matters (another one that would twang well), and Enter Sandman, to tuck in the frayed ends of our sanity.
Then: fireworks, fireworks! And the sense that if the world’s really going to end, at least those of us who know and love these songs so much aren’t surprised in the least about the eternal push of creeping death.
Knowing nothing lasts forever, it’s comforting really.
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Source : http://edmontonjournal.com/entertainment/music/metallica-hardwired-to-kill-em-all-at-commonwealth-stadium