the first two tracks from their new album, surrounded by a gorgeous,
stuttering laser display so multi-faceted and complex, I found myself
wondering how they could even see what the hell they were doing or
avoid nightly seizures. Andrew was convinced that "Creeping Death"
wasn't going to be in the set, but he was happily proven wrong when
they launched into those classic chords immediately after "The End of
must be nice to have a production budget where you can ask your
lighting designers to build gigantic custom rigs in the shape of coffins.
Such are the benefits of selling out a basketball arena to the tune of
$80 a pop. There was no skimping in the pyro department either; the
machine gunfire that opens "One" echoed around the stage as staggered
flashes of flame replicated the feeling of an exploding minefield.
Utterly awesome shit--though it was a bit disconcerting to see
stagehands running on stage with extinguishers when it became clear
things were combusting beyond their designated parameters.
James Hetfield has always talked about how much his family means to
him, and it's pretty obvious that he's a big softy when it comes to
kids. He made a point of talking to one "little man" in the crowd,
asking him how old he was and remarking on how indisputably cool his
parents were, which was very sweet. Lars Ulrich, on the other hand, is still alternately dorky and dickish,
spitting like a cobra with overactive salivary glands and
pointing spastically at the audience after nearly every single song. He
also began dropping beats (no, not in a good way) as the show
progressed. He certainly wasn't terrible and the first half a dozen
songs were impressively tight, but dude just doesn't have the endurance
to pull off things like "Blackened" towards the end of a two-hour set.
It's understandable, but distracting if you're a fan who knows the
catalog really well.
Trujillo is solid (if strangely obsessed with keeping his bass mere
centimeters from the floor) and they are lucky to have him, but he
almost gave me a heart attack a few times when he threatened to start
soloing. Luckily, he left the late Mr. Burton's legacy untarnished. However, the big, shining star of the whole thing was hands down guitarist Kirk Hammett.
The dude is apparently frozen in time and eternally in possession of
letter-perfect technique. By the time they were wrapping things up with
"Seek and Destroy" (accessorized with a cascade of multi-sized black
balloons), I was pretty much in awe of the guy. Well done,
Metallicats--you made a lot of people obscenely happy last night.