November 6, 2004

I know it seems like I write a lot about Metallica. Hell, aside from my chronically broken heart, they've been the most common source of conversation on this site! But, when the chance came up for me to see Metallica live for the first time since 1996, I had to do it!

But first up was Godsmack, a band I’ve always kinda liked, but I’ve never really gotten into. I mean, I have all their CDs, but I really don’t listen to them much, you know?
Well let me tell you, they fucking rocked!
They played for just under an hour, and I knew every song, and they sounded pretty damn good. The stage on this tour is “in the round” so all the members of the band kept moving from Point A to Point B, except for the drummer, who rocked really fucking hard, and whose entire drum set rotated throughout the set.
The only member of Godsmack I know by name is Sully Erna, the vocalist. Well I was very surprised to see / hear him playing rhythm guitar on quite a few songs, and do it well. And then I was very impressed when he played the conga drums on a nice instrumental jam they had going on. But then I was absolutely blown away when he got behind a second drum set and started an awesome drum-off / musical jam with the other drummer. By the time they started an all too brief instrumental medley of Rush’s YYZ, a very familiar Zeppelin tune whose name escapes me, and Tom Sawyer, also from Rush, I think I may have been drooling.
I went in not expecting much from Godsmack and was very pleasantly surprised.

But then, for the fourth time since 1988, it was Metallica’s turn to rock me. After the entrance music from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (this will forever be the only concert that featured Eli Wallach on the video screens!), the band started out with Blackened from …And Justice For All. Everybody went crazy. This was old school Metallica and it was great.
From there on they kept it up for almost two full hours. Still "in the round", their entire stage actually rotated, so Lars' drum set eventually faced in every direction. They mixed it up well, but sadly ignored the Ride The Lightning CD completely (HELLO! Fade To Black is only the greatest song EVER!), and only did one (Seek & Destroy) from Kill Them All.

James and the boys rocked hard, I’ll give them that. Some of his stage banter was a little weird…it was almost like some of the group therapy stuff from SOME KIND OF MONSTER was still in effect. But no matter, because every time they would break into a classic from Master of Puppets it was just amazing. I especially appreciated the way newest member, bassist Robert Trujillo worked the late, great Cliff Burton’s sweet bass line from Orion into his bass solo. That won him many, many points with this audience, who jammed all night, but jammed that much harder during the classics.
In fact, in a sad state of fact, only two songs were performed from the latest CD, ST ANGER, and they weren’t even the title track or the title track to the aforementioned movie!
Yes, overall, Metallica has had a fall from grace of sorts. But their classics will always live on.

And from the feel of last night’s crowd, seeing Metallica live will always be a very good thing.