Its a frightening thought that I was still a teenager the last time I saw Metallica at the wonderful and much missed Birmingham Odeon. I will forever remember that night , a mere callow youth being about 10 feet away from the stage on one of the loudest gigs ever where even the floor seem to be vibrating. It was one of the last few shows with Bassist Cliff Burton who tragically died on September 26th in the tour bus crash in Sweden. So, here we are some 31 years later since their first visit to these shores and 8 years since they last came to Birmingham.
I shall skip over the support act 'Kvelertak' from Norway who to me were just a noise and I was pleased when they had finished in truth.
The stage was “in the round” and the band entered as the lights dimmed to Ennio Morricone’s “The Ecstasy of Gold” from the 'Good the Bad and he Ugly overture. The sell out 15,000 crowd are in raptures and the digital boxes suspended from the ceiling light up with spectacular visuals and rise and fall accordingly. James Hetfield promises us a lot of new stuff and a lot of the old, so something for everybody without a doubt. But we kick off with two new songs before the real crowd pleaser 'Seek and Destroy' from the 'Kill em All' album. The latest album 'Hard wired to Self Destruct' has been hailed as their best effort since the legendary 'Black' Album. And we were to get seven songs from the new album in total.
‘Now That We’re Dead’ sees more digital cubes holding drums rising from the stage floor ans all four band members bashing out the rhythm. One of my favourites 'For Whom the Bell tolls' came after 'Now that we're Dead'. Without any doubt Metallica are on top form, energetic, powerful and as tight as any band you will ever see.
As if the Birmingham crowd needed any more reason to party then it came when Hammett and Trujillo gave a rendition of Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ after Halo on Fire and a cover version of the 'DiamondHead' classic 'Am I Evil? Which as all Metallica fans know had a a huge early influence on them..
Hetfield shouts out 'Gimme fuel, Gimme fire and that is just what we get with flames shooting from all over the stage!
'Moth into Flame' was dedicated to the late Amy Whinehouse and was memorable for the cool drone-moth-things that flew around the stage during the song.
The technology and effort behind the band is of epic proportion with the planning that goes into making the show an extravaganza of sound and light. So I suppose it shouldn't be that much of a surprise when something 'snaps'. This happened midway through 'One' when a power outage brought things to an abrupt albeit temporary stop. It didn't stop the band for long and once resolved they were straight back into their stride from exactly where they left off, almost seamless. The mark of a band who are at the top of their game , an amazing live band who never disappoint .
Naturally the encores followed even though by now it was gone 11O'clock and timings were running late. Another new boy ‘Spit Out The Bone’ before the epic ‘Nothing Else Matters’ and ‘Enter Sandman’.
The crowd leave absolutely buzzing and probably wondering if and when we may ever see Metallica again? Whatever happens we all feel part of the 'Metallica family' even if it is only for one short night.
- The Ecstasy of Gold (Intro)
- Atlas, Rise!
- Seek & Destroy
- The Shortest Straw
- Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
- Now That We’re Dead
- Dream No More
- For Whom the Bell Tolls
- Halo on Fire
- Am I Evil?
- Moth Into Flame
- Sad but True
- Master of Puppets
- Spit Out the Bone
- Nothing Else Matters
- Enter Sandman