Metallica’s lateness redeemed by sheer metal greatness in Vancouver



By Steve Newton

Metallica put on a stunning show at Rogers Arena last night (August 24), but, man, did it ever take them a while to get going.

The L.A. metal legends—who play the same venue tonight (August 25) and again on Monday (at a special $5-per-ticket film shoot)—were scheduled to take the stage at 7 p.m., but didn’t actually start busting eardrums until nearly 8:40. In the meantime, the crowd was “entertained” by American comic Jim Breuer, who you may recall for his portrayal of Goat Boy during a four-year stint on Saturday Night Live. Or maybe you remember him from such films as the stoner comedy Half Baked.

At any rate, he killed about half an hour trying to get the crowd riled up, proclaiming that since Vancouver had been chosen out of all the cities in the world as the place where Metallica wanted to film its upcoming 3D movie, we’d better damn well make a racket for the cameras. “We’re gonna do an exercise, and if you don’t do it right they’re not coming out!,” threatened Breuer, somehow not realizing that fans who had paid over $140 for prime seats—before dropping another $40 on black “Metal Up Your Ass” T-shirts—were already planning on going a bit nuts.

Once Breuer’s nauseating pep talk was over, we had to wait another half hour or so for Metallica’s road crew to put the finishing touches on the immense, in-the-round stage, and for those brave spotlight-operators to climb ladders to their little lairs. But when the band (singer-guitarist James Hetfield, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, bassist Robert Trujillo, and drummer Lars Ulrich) finally strolled out to the strains of Ennio Morricone’s “The Ecstasy of Gold” and launched into the brutal “Creeping Death”, all was well with the world. The extremely loud part of it, at least.

I don’t know how Metallica does it, but every time I see them live they manage to sound amazingly clear at incredibly high volume. And their staging never fails to impress. On “For Whom the Bell Tolls” they had huge coffins twirling over the stage, “Ride the Lightning” boasted a massive electric-chair, and “One” incorporated more blinding green lasers than Blue Oyster Cult would ever have imagined back in ’76.

Twelve glowing white crosses rose up from below the stage for “Master of Puppets”, and for “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” a crew of workers used a crane to construct an immense statue of Lady Justice, which “collapsed” during “…And Justice for All”, barely missing Ulrich and his drum kit (sorry, Napster fans).

While the crowd was distracted by the killer riffs of the band’s biggest hit, “Enter Sandman”, a simulated breakdown of the show was staged, with scaffolding falling, a lighting rig swinging down, and an “injured” stagehand being carried away on a stretcher. It was all kinda corny, but it did allow the group to pretend that its main gear was toast, and that it needed to bring in some smaller amps and emergency lighting for a “garage”-style session. Then Metallica revisited its thrashy roots for two tracks off the 1983 Kill ‘Em All debut, “Hit the Lights” and “Seek & Destroy”.

Kill ‘Em All was originally going to be titled Metal Up Your Ass, so in recognition of that fact a huge white toilet was lowered onto the stage at the end of the set. The lid opened and, in true Spinal Tap fashion, a huge dagger clutched in a fist rose menacingly up.

So where was Jim Breuer’s ass when we needed it?


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