LIVE PHOTOS: Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Volbeat
Review by Greg Maki
There have been some rough patches here and there, but make no mistake—Metallica still is the best metal band that ever was or will be. On Wednesday, May 10, at the home of the Baltimore Ravens, the most successful band in the history of the genre gave a fiery, powerful performance that almost certainly erased any doubts among the tens of thousands of people who filled the stadium.
A number of factors—the band’s first proper North American tour in eight years, releasing its best album in decades (last year’s “Hardwired … to Self-Destruct”), the fact that they’re freakin’ Metallica—combined to make this show feel more like an event than any other I’ve attended recently, including multi-day festivals. That this was the first stop on the North American leg of the band’s “WorldWired” tour made the anticipation climb even higher.
Before we even got to Metallica there were two opening acts capable of drawing several thousand fans on their own.
Up first, Danish rockers Volbeat stormed through a hits-laden, 45-minute set. Starting at the early hour of 6 p.m., the stadium wasn’t as full as it would be later on, but there were plenty of Volbeat fans among those who were there. The set list was as notable for the songs that were omitted as the ones that were played. Staples “Heaven nor Hell,” “16 Dollars” and “A Warrior’s Call” were nowhere in sight, but there’s a new record to promote (2016’s “Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie”), and the set naturally leaned heavily on newer tunes. The band threw a bone to its diehard fans with the somewhat obscure track “Wild Rover of Hell,” from “Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood” (2008).
VOLBEAT SET LIST: “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown,” “Lola Montez,” “Wild Rover of Hell,” “Sad Man’s Tongue,” “Black Rose,” “Doc Holiday,” “Seal the Deal,” “Slaytan,” “Dead but Rising,” “Still Counting”
After a break of only 15 minutes, Avenged Sevenfold, a band accustomed to headlining festivals and arenas, played an hour-long, career-retrospective set. The band members made full use of the large stage, playing to as much of the crowd as they could. Guitarists Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance were the stars; their side-by-side, centerstage pose is the signature image of the band’s live show.
Though Volbeat and Avenged Sevenfold are two of the biggest modern hard rock bands and put on stellar shows of their own (especially Volbeat), they seemed almost insignificant once Metallica took over the stage—a stage that featured a large, horseshoe-shaped proscenium and a huge wall of video screens. After the customary introduction of “The Ecstasy of the Gold” from “The Good, the Band, and the Ugly,” the band leaped straight into the thrashy “Hardwired,” followed by another new track, “Atlas, Rise!,” before going back more than three decades for the classic “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”
Five “Hardwired” songs found their way into the set, most notably “Now That We’re Dead,” which incorporated a break featuring all four band members—vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield, guitarist Kirk Hammett, drummer Lars Ulrich and bassist Robert Trujillo—pounding away on drums.
All the songs that have made Metallica the legendary act it has become—”Master of Puppets,” “Seek & Destroy,” “One,” “Fade to Black,” “Nothing Else Matters,” “Enter Sandman”—were here, played with energy, urgency and passion. It all was accompanied by lasers, flames, explosions and fireworks. This was a spectacular production, with no noticeable opening-night jitters or glitches. It is an absolute must-see show, well worth whatever you have to pay to get a ticket.
METALLICA SET LIST: “Hardwired,” “Atlas, Rise!,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Fuel,” “The Unforgiven,” “Now That We’re Dead,” “Moth into Flame,” “Wherever I May Roam,” “Halo on Fire,” “Hit the Lights,” “Sad but True,” “One,” “Master of Puppets,” “Fade to Black,” “Seek & Destroy,” (encore) “Battery,” “Nothing Else Matters,” “Enter Sandman”