Metallica, Jerry Cantrell, Days of the New, Sept. 4, 1998, Thunderbird Stadium, UBC
While it’s really easy to knock Metallica and poke fun at their image, ya can’t argue that these guys own the stage. I saw Metallica back in May 1997 at GM place. While a thoroughly impressive show with the most theatrics that I have ever witnessed, it had a somewhat predictable setlist that has changed little over the years.
This concert took place at an outdoors stadium setting with the reload artwork serving as a backdrop to the band. The sound was awesome, the outdoors air giving the wall of sound a little more room to breathe. Rather than executing a greatest hits package with snippets of their classics, this time, Metallica aimed a full throttle no holds barred 2 hour 20 minute show that surprised more than a few casual Metallica fans in the audience. The surprises started really early in the show. With opener “Breadfan”, delivered to its audio excellence, Metallica followed up with their breakthrough master-piece “Master of Puppets”. What’s surprising is that they actually played the full song! As usual Metallica mixed their old classics, however still relied heavily on their last three Rocktallic releases. From Reload, the band played: “The Memory Remains”, depending on the audience to recreate Marian Faithfull’s section. Kirk Hammet took to the stage to deliver a mini solo ending in Kirk revving his guitar strings that set up the intro to “Fuel”. The crowd went nuts, witnessing the entire length of the stage erupting in flames with pyro going off in the background. At the end of the song James yells “Fuck I love that song!”
You couldn’t argue with the guys enthusiasm as they belted out more hits such as “Until It Sleeps”, “King Nothing” as well as songs from the black album: “Sad But True”, “Wherever I May Roam”, “Nothing Else Matters” and the surprise of the night: “Of Wolf And Man”. More shocking is actually hearing the godly: “The Thing That Should Not Be” which sounded truly evil with James changing vocal tones from the eerie to the ballistic throughout this number.
I heard something that night that I though wasn’t possible. They guys actually played “FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE” Holy shit! Could it be true, from the classical intro to the last apocalyptic note, the band delivered the song at a fast and furious pace. At one point prior to the solo, the music stops briefly, for a moment I thought, great, another edited song. James screams “Vancouver.. are u alive??” and the crowd roars and the song continues. If the guys lost some of their chops over the years, I couldn’t tell tonight, even Lars’ mad bass drum solo near the end of the song was played with a speedy intensity.
Jason did his solo, although shorter in duration than last outings, his tone was awesome and it was a pleasure to listen to him play.
Well, the fans didn’t get through the set without a little “hurdy gurdy” as the band started one of their encores playing an acoustic rendition of “The Four Horseman”, but it did fit the mood as the sky was now dark and clear. You could picture yourself and a group of buddies doing the same thing at a campsite having a few beers.
Metallica’s second encore included “One”, although there was no fireworks as per tradition, it was a sure crowd pleaser with cigarette lighters in full force. Metallica came back yet again to play “Enter Sandman”. The amazing thing about the song was not the playing but at the end, fireworks went off from the base of the stage high into the sky. A very cool effect for an outdoors show. The band again left the stage, thanking the audience for making them “feel good”.
But the Metalliman came back and delivered a most powerful “Creeping Death” in which thousands of Metal heads in a thousand different and unique Metallica t-shirts screamed “die, die, die. And Die they did. They died a went to heaven that beautiful and magical holiday weekend.
Thanks to Darrin Pope
For submitting this review.