Oct 29th, 2018
On the current North American arena leg of Metallica’s WorldWired Tour, all the shows are in cities that Metallica did not play on the 2017 stadium tour. Some of these cities, in fact, they haven’t played in more than twenty years! While it hasn’t been that long since Metallica came to Albany, this was their first stop in nearly nine years.
If you managed to catch one of Metallica’s shows in 2017, tonight was an entirely different experience. As soon as you enter the arena, you’ll notice there’s not a big stage at one end of the floor, but that they’re playing “in the round,” with a diamond shape stage in the center of the floor. This has let them pack as many people into the shows as they can, and they’ve been breaking attendance records at many stops on this tour.
Before Metallica hits the stage, comedian Jim Breuer hosted a warm-up party. It’s been no secret that Breuer is a big heavy metal fan, and he’s been closely associated with Metallica for years, but it still was a surprising decision for Metallica to have a comedian open for them. Between telling jokes and stories, playing games with members of the audience, and leading the whole crowd through heavy metal karaoke, Breuer and his sidekick Joe Sibb guide everyone through an entirely Metallica-themed night, and make fun moments for them in the process.
As great as Breuer is, he’s not the reason we’re all here tonight. Before too long, he has Sibb fire up AC/DC’s “Long Way to the Top,” the lights go down, and the crowd goes wild, as Metallica makes their way to the stage.
Starting off with “Hardwired” and “Atlas, Rise,” the same one-two punch that opens 2016’s Hardwired… to Self Destruct, the band is playing loud and furious. Frontman James Hetfield addresses the crowd, and lets us know we’re going to hear music from all aspects of their career, new, middle, and even old, as drummer Lars Ulrich counts off their 1983 classic track, “Seek and Destroy.”
At the start of the show, there’s several video cubes mounted above the stage showing various artwork and camera feeds as the band performs. Suddenly, as they start “Seek and Destroy,” the cubes begin to move. Lowering and raising, choreographed to the point they almost look like they’re dancing, these video cubes are a spectacle to be seen, for sure.
As Hetfield had promised, the show covered every era of their career. Great songs like “Confusion” and “Moth into Flame” off of Hardwired… to Self Destruct, old school classics like “Hit the Lights” and “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”, flames engulfed the stage during “Fuel,” and of course there plenty of material off their 16x platinum (and counting) self titled album, like “Sad But True” and “Wherever I May Roam.”
A little over half way through the show, Hetfield introduces bassist Robert Trujillo and guitarist Kirk Hammett. Each night, they pay tribute to a musician who came from the local area, and jam on some of their music. Tonight they chose Upstate New York native, Ronnie James Dio, and they played a fun cover of “Stand Up and Shout.”
The band left the stage and the lights went down after “Master of Puppets.” As the crowd clamored for more, the intro to “Fight Fire with Fire” comes over the PA. The band rips through that classic, before laying back a little for “Nothing Else Matters.” They saved their biggest song for last, of course, and finished off the night with “Enter Sandman.”
Somehow, Metallica seems to be full of more energy each time they come to town. They have a more relaxed touring schedule than most bands, touring for about two weeks at a time before taking a few weeks off, but it seems to be working well for them.
The WorldWired tour continues through North America, two weeks at a time, until March 2019. After that, they’ll be hitting European stadiums throughout Summer of 2019.