Metallica Concert Review – Anaheim, Honda Center, 12/10/09
This review is way overdue, so my apologies in advance. I saw Metallica for the first time in almost a decade at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on December 10th. Why the prolonged absence? Well, I went through a personal Metallica “fandom” crisis, if you will. Metallica was my favorite band all through High School. I had multiple t-shirts, all the albums, imports and collectibles I bought off eBay, and even a decal for my super-sweet 1995 Toyota Corolla. When I saw them headline Atlanta’s Lakewood Amphitheatre in August of 2000, that was it for me. This was the best band on the planet.
Within three years of that show I was through with Metallica, stopped listening to the music, and swore I’d never see them live again. There were many aspects of the band that turned me off but you can pretty much summarize my divorce from Metallica with 3 succinct reasons:
1. James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich began acting like a couple of D-Bags with the Napster nonsense and pretty much everything else, in general. Their arrogance sickened me.
2. Jason Newsted quit the band. I loved Newsted and him quitting really drove home point #1.
3. St. Anger, like the bubonic plague, was released unto the world and we all suffered because of it. I don’t even want to get started on this abomination of a Metallica record. Has there ever been a more disappointing release than St. Anger in the history of music? Maybe not.
I guess time heals all wounds, because a couple of years ago I started listening to Metallica again. For one thing, Death Magnetic was released. Fantastic metal record. At first I was unimpressed, but with successive listens, I realized that it is a true Metallica record; before the Load era. However, the primary reason for becoming a fan again was one simple fact: Metallica is the greatest heavy metal band of all time.
Bold statement? Not really. I defy ANYONE, to name a band that has an unrivaled catalog, a blistering live performance, and has single handedly revolutionized an entire genre of music like Metallica. Metallica turned the entire music industry on their heads and this was back when heavy metal was never taken seriously. Metallica, through seemingly unstoppable record sales, forced people to recognize heavy music. Hell, the quintessential “Black Album”, released way back in 1991, sold over 2,500 copies this week. That’s crazy!
So after a couple years of listening to all the Metallica records again it was time to see them live and discover if they could still destroy the stage after all of these years. I received a pit ticket to see them in Anaheim and drove down to check out the show. HOLY SH*T did they deliver. For over 2 hours, Metallica ran through 30 years of material and solidified their reputation that they set the standard for live performance. Also, I want to mention that I loved the circular stage in the middle of the floor. In a typical arena, you can get crushed on the floor if you are close to the stage, but with this set-up I was within 10 feet of the band the whole time since the pit audience is spread out around the floor. It also forces the band to constantly move to various points on the stage.
The set-list was awesome although I would’ve loved a track or two from Load or Reload. There were definitely a few nice surprises in there, notably “The Shortest Straw” and “Trapped Under Ice.” After closing the show with “Seek and Destroy”, I drove home realizing that nothing short of the guys in Metallica committing mass-murder will make me turn my back on them again. Excellence cannot and will not be denied. Like Bret “The Hitman” Hart, they are the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.
METALLICA: ANAHEIM, CA 12/10/2009
That Was Just Your Life
The End Of The Line
For Whom The Bell Tolls
The Shortest Straw
Fade To Black
Broken, Beat and Scarred
Sad But True
The Judas Kiss
The Day That Never Comes
Master Of Puppets
Nothing Else Matters
Too Late, Too Late (Motorhead cover)
Trapped Under Ice
Seek and Destroy