*NEW* May 14, 2017 —
While trying to think of a name for this article I wanted to find some way to combine “Philadelphia” and “Metallica.” At first I thought of “Philatallica” but that sounded too much like “Philately” – which is the name given if you are into stamp collecting but hey, Benjamin Franklin was the first U.S. Postmaster and his picture was on the earliest of U.S. issued postage stamps and he resided in – you guessed it, Philadelphia. For a time it seemed he lived the rock star life – traveling back and forth to London and to Paris as the U.S. Ambassador to France. He had an eye for the ladies, he loved to party. You see where I’m going here, right? Hey, old Ben would have been considered quite a rocker had he lived in this time period, but I digress.
Metallica on the other hand have always been rockers – I don’t think there’s ever been any doubt about that. Admittedly, I am not their biggest fan. I like the “Black Album” – the name given their untitled release from 1991. You know, the one with “Enter Sandman”, “Nothing Else Matters” and “The Unforgiven” on it but other than that I’m a little ambivalent about them – I like my metal a little more upbeat, lighter and a little less on the “dark side”, Luke. That doesn’t mean that occasionally I don’t like to bang my head for an hour or two or in the case of my son, swing his hair around in a circular motion in a way that would have me falling over into the seats in front of me (I don’t have the hair for it either.) Metallica has had a love/hate relationship with Philadelphia; not the fans per se but with the City. Way back in 1997 the band wanted to play a free concert outside of what is now the Wells Fargo Center in Philly – a huge venue that seats nearly 20,000. The city tried to ban it, but the band used its popularity and influence (with a little help from MTV) and eventually the concert went on.
Fast forward 20 years later and Metallica came back to Philly and played outdoors again, this time at “The Link” – Lincoln Financial Field. My son wanted to go for his birthday and at first I was just going to get him a ticket but then I thought I might as well go too (feigning disgust.) As the show approached this past week, the threat of a ‘Noreaster ruining our plans was becoming increasingly possible. The time was moved up to 6PM in anticipation of rain and unfortunately, one of the supporting bands; Avenged Sevenfold (who I happened to like) bowed out due one of the band members’ wives giving birth. That left just Volbeat (who get reasonable airplay here and I like a few of their songs) as the sole supporting band for Metallica. We were up in the second level for this one, pretty much with an “end zone” view albeit higher up – a big difference from the Ratt show I went to a few weeks ago. Now instead of second row, we were about 600 feet away but because this band only plays huge arenas they planned for this kind of thing. The stage was massive – taking up the entire width of the football field with the backdrop extending nearly all the way across, doubling as a huge projector screen for their graphics, which were nothing short of amazing. Make no mistake – this is a big-budget tour and it seemed no expense was spared to give the fans the total experience of coming to a Metallica show.
A very light rain had begun to fall as the lights dimmed and the band made it to the stage, opening with “Hardwired” (to self-destruct) and “Atlas Rise” from the new album. They dipped into the past next with “For Whom the Bell Tolls” – always a fan favorite with its Sabbath-like drudgery. “Creeping Death” was next followed by one of my favs – “The Unforgiven” with singer Hetfield playing the acoustic guitar opening. Hetfield played the acoustic on several songs and before anyone got too comfortable he would switch back to electric and continue the Metallica bludgeoning. Next, they played a song called “Now That We’re Dead” which was very drum-heavy and in the middle of the song the band each played a giant (and I mean GIANT) Conga drum. It was almost a “Steam” kind of thing and a good change of pace. At the end of the song, watch for Hetfield’s reference to the Grammy/Lady Gaga debacle.
They followed with “Moth Into Flame” – one of the new songs that I happened to like followed by “Wherever I May Roam”, “Halo on Fire”, “Motorbreath” and “Sad but True” which was dedicated to Avenged Sevenfold guitarist Synyster Gates whose wife gave birth to their first child, forcing the band to miss the show that night. Next was “One” which was from way back in 1988. I actually saw them back then at Monsters of Rock with Van Halen, Scorpions, Dokken and Kingdome Come in essentially the same location – JFK Stadium (which was condemned almost immediately thereafter due to it falling apart) but being replaced by the Wells Fargo Center. For “Master of Puppets” they used the backdrop to a huge advantage: using it to project graphics from the album entwined with images of the band as they played. I thought that was very cool and between that and the use of pyrotechnics (flames and fireworks) and a great laser light show they gave the fans their money’s worth. With the distance from the stage for a lot of the fans making it seem as if the band were stick figures, they almost had to have a stage so massive to be able to give the fans a show and actually be able to see them. I much prefer smaller venues now, where I can get as close as possible but I must say I enjoyed this show.
“Fade to Black” was next, followed by “Seek and Destroy” at which point they said goodnight but everyone knew they would be coming out for an encore. Unlike some bands who seem content playing 90 minutes and then saying goodnight, they indeed came out for three more songs – “Battery”, “Nothing Else Matters” – complete with an awesome laser light show and wrapping up with their goodnight kiss – “Enter Sandman” followed by a massive fireworks display.
All in all, I was impressed by the level at which the band went to give the fans an amazing show. They almost never let up – every song was hard hitting with some heavier than others with all but “Nothing Else Matters” being somewhat lighter. Only “Fuel” was missing from the list of songs I hoped they would play. It was a new experience for me but as their legion of fans will attest, they are probably the biggest metal band out there with the exception of Iron Maiden, whom I will be seeing in a month or so. I’ll give you a comparison then.
As a bonus, I have a little assignment for you – that’s right, HOMEWORK! See how much fun you can have using the Metallica logo generator. Put your name, nickname, screen name, whatever name you want to use, run it through the generator and post it here. I want to see what you come up with. You may have to use something like Snipping Tool in Windows to save it as a .jpg file before you can post it. Have fun and rock on, metalheads!
The link to the Metallica logo generator is here – http://metallica.alwaysdata.net/
The set list can be found here – http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/metallica/2017/lincoln-financial-field-philadelphia-pa-33e79c75.html