Metallica - Manchester Arena, Saturday 28th October, 2017
Set List: Hardwired To Self Destruct/Atlas, Rise!/Seek And Destroy/Of Wolf And Man/The Day That Never Comes/Now That We're Dead/ManUNkind/For Whom The Bell Tolls/ Halo Of Fire/Creeping Death/Moth Into Flame/Sad But True/One/Master Of Puppets.
Encore: Spit Out The Bones/Nothing Else Matters/Enter Sandman.
Metallica are back on a full UK tour after years of festival headline spots. 36 years as a band and still selling out 15,000 seater Arenas! How many can do that? Playing in the round there was no one where to hide. The band even had to walk through a section of the crowd to get to the stage - those fans got their money’s worth. Large white cubes that rose and fell were the video screens for the night.
Steamrolling straight into Latest album title track 'Hardwired To Self Destruct' the band were fierce as ever with an opening trio of the said track alongside 'Atlas Rise' and 'Seek and Destroy' that set out the mood - hard and fast. 'Of Wolf And Man”, a rarely played track from Black album was good to hear. Robert Trujillo prowled the edge of the stage while Kirk and James traded riffs and Kirk with his custom guitar with horror star Bella Lugosi’s picture on it.
Another from the latest album 'Moth Into Flame' was dedicated to Amy Winehouse and featured very cool, choreographed illuminated micro drones which intertwined with each other above the stage. Also, the Manchester attack victims were remembered with a 'Don’t Look Back In Anger' singalong led by Robert and Kirk’s medley.
With a cry of “Do you wanna get heavy Manchester?”, James pumped out the monster riff to 'Sad but True' followed by the blistering 'One' with clips from the video flashing on the screens. Pyro flames rose from the stage but less of a spectacle these days in the health and safety era.
The moshers down by the stage were crazy: a mass of hair and denim bodies bouncing around peaking with the epic 'Master of Puppets'. Having 'Nothing Else Matters' in the encore trio of songs was a strange choice. The last thing the gig needed was slowing down as was finishing on 'Enter Sandman'.
Even James had to check which an “Are you still with us?”. With A blast of smoke pyro, that riff rolled out. Lars never faltered the beat! Surely his arms are made out of lead though? Long after the house lights came on the band were still throwing out plectrums and slapping hands on the front row.
You don’t get energy like this from a band very often. Then again, you don’t get a band like Metallica very often.
Review By Mark Bedford
Photographs By John Mather