CenturyLink Field || Seattle, WA || 9 August 2017
CenturyLink Field in Seattle is home to many things, most notably the Seattle Seahawks. But on August 9th, it became home to over 50,000 metalheads, all of which came to see thrash metal titans, Metallica. The last time Metallica toured here in their home country, was seven years ago in support of their Death Magnetic album. That doesn’t mean that the members of Metallica have been sitting on beaches downing Mai Tais in the interim. Metallica has been performing all over the world. In fact, Metallica is the first band to have played every continent on earth, including Antarctica.
A homecoming has been long overdue, however. With the release of Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, Metallica decided to not only tour, but to bring their show to some of the biggest stadiums around the world, kicking off right here in the states.
The enormous stage was set up on the North end of the field. Behind the stage, five enormous LED panels display all the action, so there isn’t a bad seat in the house. The Snake Pit, a concept that was introduced during the tour for the Black Album has been preserved, allowing a select group of fans to be up close and personal with the band. If you’re a “5th member” (the official Metallica fan club), opportunities to win passes into the snake pit are provided prior to the show. Check your e-mail!
There’s one tradition that has endured through the years and for those that have seen Metallica live before, it’s a familiar and welcome experience. As video from The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly is displayed and the song “The Ecstacy Of Gold” is played, the roar of the crowd becomes almost deafening. The Four Horsemen from the San Francisco Bay are at the ready and the show is about to kick your ass.
The show kicked off with two tracks from the new album, “Hardwired”, and “Atlas, Rise!” After Atlas, James took a moment to bond with the crowd, saying “Metallica doesn’t care…”, going on to remark that the band doesn’t care about your race, gender, or sexual orientation. “We’re just glad you’re all here,” he said. James, Kirk, Rob, and Lars went on to play “For Whom The Bell Tolls” before a handful of their “newer” songs. For “Now That We’re Dead”, during the lead-in, each of the band members were pounding enormous “taiko” Japanese drums, the sound of which just thumped through the entire stadium. After “Halo On Fire” off the new album, Kirk and Rob broke out into a little mini jam session. They played a bit of a funk riff before letting go with a bit of “I Disappear”.
The show then took an emotional turn for myself and the legions of old Metallica fans, as Rob, on the enormous stage alone, played “Anesthesia” while imagery of Cliff Burton was played on the center LED panels. Cliff was tragically lost in a bus accident during the European leg of the Master of Puppets tour in 1986. His legacy will not be forgotten.
During the show, James took a very scientific poll (a show of hands) of how many first-timers and how many veterans were in the crowd. Surprisingly, it looked to be about 50/50. (again, very scientific). I guess with a crowd of over 50,000, there was bound to be a few people that haven’t seen the Mighty Metallica in the flesh. James pointed out a young man in the audience and asked his age. The boy held up all 10 fingers on both hands. We got to see a little of “James, the family man” as he joked with the boy. “55? You look good for your age” before commending his family for bringing him to the show and braving the barrier. To the first-timers, James said “I don’t know what took you so long, but we’re glad you’re here.” Well James, to their defense, you haven’t toured here in the states for seven years… but I digress. Hopefully we won’t have to wait so long for the next time.
Before the playing of “Seek And Destroy”, a second drum kit was brought out at the apex of the Snake Pit. James said “We’ve take a trip back to 1981 and recreated our garage here for you. Except for this drum kit, Lars didn’t have these drums back then. Or those panels back there. Well, we might have had one. Oh, and that bass player” pointing to Rob. The boys then played a rousing “Seek And Destroy” followed by a Kill ‘Em All classic, “Whiplash”.
Every moment of the show was Metal at its finest. Of course, I could go on about the setlist and the songs that didn’t make the cut, “Creeping Death” probably being the most notable. Perhaps it’s the sadist in me that would have loved to hear 50,000 metalheads chanting “Die” through the chorus. Or, another personal favorite, “Blackened” off of …And Justice For All.I’m sure that we all have our favorites that could have made the setlist.
But, the setlist changes for every show, so you should be so lucky? If you make it out to a show, be sure to stay until the end. The show isn’t over when the music stops. The WorldWired tour isn’t even close to done as they wrap up North America, then over the Europe from September through the spring of 2018.