Don’t worry, hardcore fans, you didn’t miss a secret Metallica show at Madison Square Garden (from my research, the last time Met played MSG was in 2009, a two-night stay in November on their “World Magnetic” tour).
The concert I’m writing about here happened Wednesday night at Nassau Coliseum as part of ‘Tallica’s #WorldWired tour. The album “Hardwired … To Self Destruct” dropped in November 2016 and the band, celebrating their 36th year, will tour throughout the summer, playing stadiums across the world.
Full disclosure (but I’m sure you already guessed from the title of this article): I’m a big Metallica fan. And this is my blog, not a journalistic piece on Reuters, so I’ll just go ahead and sing the praises of the band I grew up loving for one blog post. Indulge me.
I discovered heavy metal music through Metallica. In fact, the very first thing I ever heard as a young kid was the opening to “Ride The Lightning.” That infectious, gripping opening riff that grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me into a state of mind blown-ness. I consumed their albums daily, over and over. Lyrics memorized, riffs mimicked on air guitar. Metallica’s music was part of my life. And still is.
Believe it or not, Wednesday was only my second live Metallica concert. The first one was in 1998 in Toronto at the Molson Amphitheatre. We sat on the grass as pyro exploded into the air during “Enter Sandman.” Nice effect. I’m not that big of a fan of stadium shows and Met plays a lot of them.
I was tempted, but decided to go a different route.
After the impressive Volbeat opened the show (they even mixed in Metallica riffs into their own songs, a clever touch … #TheLittleThings matter!), there was a link shown to be able to watch Metallica warm up backstage.
At this point, let me pause and give props to Met’s digital content and social media team. That crew is on point. They are elite in terms of giving Metallica fans an immersive experience. A tip of the cap. The turnaround time on the videos they make, per city on the tour, and the MP3 downloads of each song from each concert, as well as CDs to pre-order, is brilliant marketing.
Back to the MetalliWarmup. As soon as it loaded, there it was again, the band playing the opening riff to “Ride The Lightning!” This had to mean they would play it live, right? This was just a little bit exciting for this MetalliFan.
Metallica soon rushed the stage, with a cool floor video projection screen and extensive lighting effects, and played a blend of songs old and new. Their new album is in the same family as their old thrashy goodness vibe, so if you liked “Kill ‘Em All,” “Ride The Lightning” and “Master Of Puppets,” chances are you’ll enjoy “Hardwired.”
Then, four songs in … “Ride The Lightning.”
That infectious opening riff.
The roar of the crowd.
In that moment, I felt like that young kid again discovering Metallica for the first time. I was hearing “Ride The Lightning” for the first time.
The rest of the concert was super fun and entertaining. Reading the comments from the setlist that was posted on social media, it seemed like a lot of Met fans were jealous: maybe it was because the band played MetLife on Sunday and wanted to switch it up on Wednesday in the same(ish) market, but the Long Island crowd definitely got some golden “off-Broadway” hits.
Random side note: loved the number of happy face balloons that were being thrown into the air throughout the show. The crowd was definitely having a great time. There were at least three in a section circulating at one point.
The band – James Hetfield, Kirk Hammet, Robert Trujillo and Lars Ulrich – were kicking, swatting and head-butting the balloons back into the crowd (except that one balloon that Kirk popped, which drew a mild gasp, but we can’t stay mad at Kirk because he’s Kirk Hammet and is one of the greatest guitarists of our time!)
(Oh, and my girlfriend was a trooper the entire show (on a school night!) so I owe her, big time. If you have any good date night suggestions, definitely tweet them to me @ArdaOcalTV)