It’s hard for me to give an objective review on last night’s show in Seattle. Instead of a review, I want to give a write up of my experience. My brother and I (the Deify collective) got to the stadium at 10am to camp out for the show. Fast forward six hours and we were standing front row with some friends we made in line.
At 5pm, Mix Master Mike from the Beastie Boys had a surprise set. To be honest, it was a bit lackluster. I don’t envy a DJ trying to throw hip hop beats under hard rock and heavy metal instrumentals to a crowd of what turned out to be approximately 50,000 metal heads.
First Up: Gojira
The French heavy-metal scene isn’t something I’ve paid much attention (have you?) but these guys brought raw intensity. While not my cup of tea, they were a fun band to watch. The highlight for me was that their drummer looked like a French Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
I’ve seen these guys four times now, all in a headlining role, so it was strange to see them come on at 7pm while it’s still light outside. The band opened with the title track from their new album “The Stage” – an eight-and-a-half minute epic that starts off with a droning organ before kicking into neo-classical metal riffs, yet ends with a flamenco-esque acoustic outro. Though not the headliners the band still delivered headliner-style pyro, with 30-foot flames erupting from stage throughout nearly every song. I was honestly surprised at how well-received the band was.
While they are my favorite band, I didn’t realize they had gotten to a point where nearly an entire stadium would be familiar enough with their material to sing along to hits like Afterlife, Almost Easy, Nightmare, and Hail to the King. This was incredibly exciting for me, as a long-time fan. Maybe these guys will be able to carry the torch for hard rock/heavy metal and fill arenas in 20 years like Metallica…?
On that note, the highlight (for me – and I’d assume the band) was “Hail to the King”. 50,000 people screaming “HAIL” and pumping their fists in unison was quite a sight to behold. “Unholy Confessions” was a close second with the stage being engulfed in flames 😉
Note: Photo credit to Rafa Alcantara
I’d read about the danger the band brought with them in their heyday. That wasn’t exactly the case at CenturyLink Field (not complaining). Sure, there was pushing and shoving – especially when the band played their earlier material – but it never felt out of control. James Hetfield stopped the show after its second to proclaim “Metallica does not give a shit”. In the late 80s/early 90s, this probably would have been followed by a call for a massive circle pit or mosh. Instead, James continued on to state they “did not give a shit” about what anyone’s race, gender, sexual orientation, or political stance and wanted everyone to come together as a family to celebrate music. A little bit different than “Kill ‘Em All,” eh?
Having sold over 58 million albums in the US and over 155 million worldwide, it’s no secret that Metallica is one of the biggest musical acts on the planet. All that being said, I never thought I’d be front row to see Metallica play to over 50,000 people screaming every riff, lyric, and drum beat of a two-and-a-half hour set. What I was most impressed by was the range of ages at the show. When my brother and I were camped out, most people were late teens and early twenties. Those same people were screaming the lyrics to Whiplish and Seek and Destroy from Metallica’s 1983 album “Kill ‘Em All” and “Halo on Fire” from 2016’s “Hardwired…to Self Destruct”.
Needless to say, Metallica did not disappoint. The scale of their show matched the size of the venue with five 100-foot screens that brought an intense visual experience to show, with pyro cannons on top, fireworks, and a complex laser/light show. Kirk Hammett flawlessly executed blistering guitar solos with James Hetfield flashing his incredible rhythm guitar chops (and some impressive lead pieces).
Robert Trujillo is also quite the spectacle on bass. What I enjoyed most about watching him was how seamlessly he played intensely technical riffs while finger-picking the whole show. Most hard/rock metal bassists these days stick to picking to keep up with the speed and technical nature of the genre.
Should Metallica make their way back around to your neck of the woods, this is not a show to be missed. Deep cuts are there to satisfy the hardcore fans, with plenty of massive hits for the casual listener.