For the first time in over four years, Metallica took to the road for a full tour of the U.S that was long overdue. In support of their recent release and acclaimed "Death Magnetic", Metallica stopped by Colorado on 11.04.08 to a nearly full house at the Pepsi Center located in the heart of downtown Denver....to much fan anticipation and appreciation. Metallica has slowed down its rigorous tour schedule over the past several years, but have been missed. With brand new songs to break in, a new stage show, and a revamped look, the boys in black where back in town.
Opening acts, The Sword and NOLA super-group Down, did a fine job amping up the arena and got the crowd ready for the main event to come.
In between sets , the arena was filled with Metallica chants. Once the lights went down, the crowd roared and rose to their feet as Metallica's intro song, "Ecstacy of Gold" (from the 1960's Clint Eastwood western, "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) blared over the P.A.'s. The first note strummed was from the opening track off "Death Magnetic", "That Was Just Your Life". Metallica was in amazing shape from the start right up to the end of the night. Performing several new songs, "Broken, Beat, and Scarred", "The Day that Never Comes" and "End of the Line", they sounded polished and perfect from a live stand point. Many in the press (not including myself) wondered if they could pull the new material off or not....they did that PLUS more.
Somewhat recently recruited bassist, Robert Trujillo, fits in with Metallica perfectly, with an amazing distorted bass tone that compliments the band as a whole amazingly. Metallica seemed to be having just as much fun as the crowd was, with James Hetfield (vocals/guitar) comedic stylings in between songs and picking out members from the crowd and joking with them, yet remaining a very dominating and intimidating frontman. Lars Ulrich (drums) is still, to this day, one of the most spastic, energetic drummers in the music industry. At every opportunity, when he wasn't stomping the double bass with both feet, he was jumping up and down on them, smashing symbols, and nearly putting holes in his drum heads, all while never once missing a beat. Kirk Hammet wailed on his guitar with his lightning-fast, trademark solos and took it down a notch, when the time called for it, with two guitar solos in the set.
Metallica was truly energetic with the crowd and vice versa. The stage show consisted of their classic revolving stage, making every seat in the house that much better. A great light show, tons of pyrotechnics along with a few "surprises" thrown in, rounded out the performance. The show's highlights were definitely some songs they pulled out for this tour that they haven't played in a while, such as "Ride the Lightning" and "Damage, Inc.". For the encore, all the house lights where turned on, and Metallica came back to play the first song that they had ever written, appropriately titled "Hit the Lights". They ended the show with "Seek and Destroy" encouraging the audience's vocal chords to bleed while singing the choruses.
Metallica still remains one of the most amazing live bands and a group of truly professional musicians, both sound wise, and in stage presence. Out of the 11 or so times I have seen them, the Death Magnetic tour is solidly one of the best. This is THE tour of the year, and if you haven't seen it yet, you will not be disappointed. If you do miss it, you'll forever regret missing out on this incredible event.
That Was Just Your Life, The End Of The Line, Ride The Lightning, The Memory Remains, One, Broken, Beat And Scarred, Cyanide, Sad But True, Wherever I May Roam, For Whom The Bell Tolls, The Day That Never Comes, Master Of Puppets, Damage Inc., Nothing Else Matters, Enter Sandman, Last Caress, Hit The Lights, Seek and Destroy!
Photos and Review by: Brandon Marshall
DAll Sonic Excess images and staff authored work are copy written and are not to be used without the written permission of the Editor(s). All photos by:Brandon Marshall