Metallica / Lamb of God – Live in Vancouver: Dec. 2, 2008

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Metallica / Lamb of God

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

General Motors Place

Vancouver, BC  Canada


***Live Review & All Photos By Lord of The Wasteland

Catching many off guard with the quality of the material found on DEATH MAGNETIC following 2003’s disgraceful experiment, ST. ANGER, Metallica proved many naysayers wrong who thought the band was “done.”  In fact, the new CD is Metallica’s best effort in nearly twenty years which might explain the complete absence of any material in their live set from LOAD, RELOAD or ST. ANGER.  LOAD has its moments but the other two are best forgotten, so seeing a setlist trimmed of deadwood from the Bay Area giants was a welcome return to what made Metallica great in the first place—punishing heavy metal.  Bringing Virginia-based punters Lamb of God and hipster faves, The Sword, on board for this leg of the tour sweetened the deal for those who managed to secure a ticket for this long sold-out show.



Getting the proper passes secured on site and navigating my way through the labyrinthine hallways of the upper floors of General Motors Place proved more challenging than expected but finally finding my way up to the Press Box for The Sword’s set was a success.  Sitting with Scott and Grimm from Abort Magazine proved more interesting than watching The Sword’s rehashed Sabbath riffs as we discussed the merits of Keel and other cerebral matters before heading back downstairs for Lamb of God.  With the band having wrapped up recording for their new CD, WRATH, due in late February 2009, it was time to get back on the road and shake out the cobwebs for a few west coast dates supporting Metallica.  This being only their second show (Down and Machine Head were direct support on the first leg) following the previous night’s stop in Seattle, it acts as one more step towards dominance in the crowded metal scene for the Virginia-based band.  Since Lamb of God was last seen in Vancouver, the band’s energetic vocalist, Randy Blythe, has grown his hair out from what was once a Misfits-inspired “devilock” to sporting long black hair, which he was kind enough to use as a saturated whip to soak my camera lens with an unsavory combination of sweat and bottled water.  On stage, Blythe is like a wild man, stalking the crowd and dispensing his lyrics with raging conviction during opener “Hourglass” and “Laid To Rest.”  Unfortunately, the mammoth stage kept me at the opposite end of drummer Chris Adler whose performance on “Walk With Me In Hell” I would have loved to have seen from up close.  Lamb of God’s ear for melodic groove was displayed on the Pantera-like “Redneck” which earned plenty of chorus sing-alongs from the faithful and devoted but it was during “Omerta” and “Black Label” that the moshpits really lit up, as my view from above saw absolute mayhem at one end of the stage.  The band even premiered a new track—“Overhauled”—from WRATH that sounds promising and full of sturdy riffing from Mark Morton and Willie Adler.  Another killer set from Lamb of God!



Laid To Rest

Walk With Me In Hell



Now You’ve Got Something To Die For



Black Label










The electricity and anticipation hung thick in the air as the crowd got restless for Metallica’s arrival, the band returning to our city for the first time since March 2004 (read review HERE).  The massive “in-the-round” stage setup Metallica has used on past tours returned once again with Lars Ulrich’s new metallic orange Tama drumkit rotating slowly on a circular riser right in the middle and the rest of the band members moving freely thanks to strategically-positioned microphones around the edges of the stage.  Overhead, four mobile coffins resembling the DEATH MAGNETIC cover art were outfitted with lights and peered like vultures over the stage.  Another four were rigged to a moving truss directly over the stage and contributed to a subtle but interesting visual.  The band spared no expense on pyrotechnic and lighting effects, either, as the crowd was treated to a flashy laser show for set opener “That Was Just Your Life,” while “Battery” and “One” boasted colored gas torches, shooting flames and bone-jarring explosions. 


Playing a 2¼ hour set that focused heavily on the new album, as well as the “classic” first three—KILL ‘EM ALL, RIDE THE LIGHTNING and MASTER OF PUPPETS—the band rode high on its strengths foregoing anything from LOAD, RELOAD, ST. ANGER or any of the various other tracks recorded during the period that significantly divided the band’s fanbase.  To keep things interesting for themselves (and to keep the Inter-nerds buzzing), several songs are swapped in and out on a nightly basis rather than sticking to a static setlist, so no one really knows what will be heard until it is actually played.  DEATH MAGNETIC was given fair treatment as four tracks crept into the set.  First single “The Day That Never Comes” got the biggest response but the thunderous intro of “Broken, Beat & Scarred” courtesy of Ulrich and bassist Robert Trujillo immediately drilled the track into people’s memory.  Eighteen thousand people collectively lost their minds over “Master of Puppets” but “Sad But True” and the ubiquitous “Enter Sandman” brought on rafter-shaking cheers, as well.  Before launching into KILL ‘EM ALL’s “No Remorse,” vocalist James Hetfield asked the crowd, “Do you want some old stuff?” and the band delivered on its promise, dusting off early gems like “Ride The Lightning” and the Diamond Head cover, “Am I Evil?” before tossing a rocking cover of the Queen classic, “Stone Cold Crazy,” into the encore.  Played live, “Battery” remains a brutally heavy anthem of speed metal twenty-two years later with the band refusing to show its age.  Ever the treat to watch on stage, Trujillo finessed his pedal rig on “For Whom The Bell Tolls” to work the distorted bassline intro into a smeared sludge before duck-walking across the stage.  “Seek and Destroy” closed the show and with all the house lights turned up, hundreds of black beach balls were dropped on the crowd becoming instant collector’s items for the weary crowd.



The Ecstasy of Gold (Intro)

That Was Just Your Life

For Whom The Bell Tolls

Ride The Lightning


Broken, Beat and Scarred


Sad But True

Wherever I May Roam

No Remorse

The Day That Never Comes

Master of Puppets


Nothing Else Matters

Enter Sandman


Am I Evil?

Stone Cold Crazy

Seek and Destroy

Metallica coming to town is not just a concert; it is an event.  Spotted in the crowd among the black-clad throng were Loverboy vocalist Mike Reno and 3 Inches of Blood screamer Cam Pipes, so this show went above and beyond the usual unwashed masses.  While they never really went away, to say Metallica is “back” is not exactly untrue.  ST. ANGER nearly derailed the band personally and professionally and judging by the chemistry on stage, Kirk Hammett no longer is forced to play the referee between Hetfield and Ulrich.  These guys are clearly happy that DEATH MAGNETIC has given the band another shot in the eyes of its fans and, frankly, so are we.










***Thanks to Jessica at Live Nation for the press pass.

Metallica—Official Site

Lamb of God—Official Site