Metallica played a monstrous 18 song two-hour, 15 minute set featuring plenty of classics and five from their well-received Hardwired…To Self-Destruct in front of an impressive 50,000-plus raucous fans on Wednesday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, WA in support of their WorldWired Tour 2017.
The godfathers of astute heavy metal wasted little time celebrating their latest release (out Nov. 2016) starting out the gate with the fast-paced “Hardwired” and right into the awesome “Atlas, Rise!” which simply kicked in spite of some early issues. The two felt more like soundcheck guinea pigs – a bit muddy – since the band didn’t equalize the bass and drums with the guitars and vocals until “For Whom the Bell Tolls” – and not a minute too late!
From there on out it was Metallica at its finest including a core from the band’s first decade making the most stubborn of fans – who refuse to move on from the 80s – smile, and five off their smash self-titled 1991 release known as the “Black Album” including the ever-popular “The Unforgiven” which followed “The Memory Remains” the lone track perhaps representing those seemingly forgotten years of albums from the mid 90s and a decade thereafter.
“Now That We’re Dead” continued the highlights off Hardwired…To Self-Destruct a rather exceptional song (the band recently pushed as a single) with drummer Lars Ulrich dialing in that cool opening percussive cadence but the entire band each getting their own kettledrums, if you will, as the four wound the song down in thump-banging fashion. It was totally un-Metallica and perhaps more Imagine Dragons, but it worked.
Despite more than half the setlist consisting of songs off the new release and their Black Album Metallica managed to deliver a career spanning show featuring some of their best that started it all and even that cut from 1997’s Reload probably jogged some remaining memories. Yes, certainly more energetic and balanced songs exist in their catalog than “Where Ever I May Roam” and “Sad But True” both radio staples, but admittedly not on the Top 10 list, and clearly many of fans’ favorites as both radiated tall and proud thanks to Metallica delivering those pulsating chords to syncing bobbing heads. Besides, beggars can’t be choosers as the final seven songs brought it home – all anthems in their own right – starting with the fantastic “One,” which if you haven’t seen live is worth the price of admission.
“Master of Puppets” the title track to the band’s 1986 masterpiece, brought rolling swells to the ocean of people in the general admission field, “Fade to Black” the second helping off Ride The Lightning got singer and guitarist James Hetfield on the acoustic and set closer “Seek and Destroy” helped many relive those early Metallica years before the band encored with the blitzing “Battery,” “Nothing Else Matters” and their mainstream hole-puncher “Enter Sandman.”
Metallica doesn’t do anything small these days and few other bands boast not only the the ability to fill a football stadium but own it, which they most certainly did. A massive screen served as the stage backdrop, bombs and explosions started “One” and a large back-and-forth roving flame took center stage on “Moth Into Flame.” And the fans? Out in droves, a sea of them filling the floor, some making whirlpools of mosh pits while everyone it seemed sang along to every song and completely filling the massive venue on “The Unforgiven,” of course “Master of Puppets” and the evening’s closer “Enter Sandman.”
Hardwired…To Self-Destruct arguably bridges Metallica’s early years through present day. It’s got a bit of everything – sounds garagy at times, some songs rip while others embrace the typical heavy chords. “Halo on Fire” the final track played from Hardwired… arriving midway through the evening indeed starts off a bit slow, reminiscent of the band’s more cumbersome work from the 90s, but seriously give this song a chance. Classic Metallica takes over with the vocal section comprising mostly the first half of this 8 minute piece and a melodious rock heavy ending with serious guitar work from Kirk Hammett. And guess what? The crowd chanted all the lyrics.
But it wasn’t all new stuff as Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo grabbed the spotlight with some free play which included the guitar riff from the underappreciated “I Disappear” their contribution to the “Mission Impossible 2” sound track, before the band returned with “Whiplash” off their 1981 debut album Kill ‘Em All.
It’s been a while for fans in the Pacific Northwest, that’s not to say the band took a hiatus since their last trip through the area in 2008. They’ve seemingly been on tour ever since the release of Death Magnetic, nearly 10 years ago, which took them on a true world tour even inviting a bunch of lucky fans to experience heavy metal at its finest in Antarctica.
And despite the cavernous stadium Metallica figured out most of the sound issues that arise in a such a setting other bands apparently can’t crack (or perhaps I just had better seats). The Metallica Family – as Hetfield often referred to them – is alive, well and very much intact. His description of those in attendance hardly a shtick, either. Quite congenial this evening, Hetfield addressed the crowd several times talking like old friends or family members not seen in a while and by the end you walked away wondering, when’s the next time we’re going to see you?
Metallica – WorldWired Tour Seattle SetList:
- Atlas, Rise
- For Whom the Bell Tolls
- The Memory Remains
- Now That We’re Dead
- Moth Into Flame
- Where I May Roam
- Halo on Fire
- Sad But True
- Master of Puppets
- Fade to Black
- Seek and Destroy
- Nothing Else Matters
- Enter Sandman