On September 27th, Metallica played an incredibly intimate MetClub (the official Metallica Club) exclusive show at Webster Hall in New York City.
The show was announced moments after Metallica left the stage during the Global Citizen concert a few days earlier. For the lucky few that were able to attend, this show stood to prove that Metallica haven't lost a single step since their last major tour (2008-2010's World Magnetic Tour). Not hard to imagine though, as they've stayed busy the entire time since then with light touring, kicking off their own festival for two years (2012 and 2013's Orion Music and More Festival) and releasing their own movie in 2013.
In what has become customary for any Metallica show, the line began to cue at approximately 5am with the most eager fans lined up to ensure their spot up front on the rail. Shortly thereafter, eager fans began to arrive without a ticket. They came with nothing but hope, as they started the traditional "loser line" for fans holding out hope that some last minute tickets would be released, or that a fellow MetClub member might arrive in need of a "+ 1" to enter the venue. This is never a guarantee, but has worked out often enough to keep the most loyal and die-hard fans coming back time and again. As it turned out, roughly 100 lucky fans got their second chance and were able to obtain tickets at the venue that evening.
Once inside, fans filled the general admission floor, while VIP guests and media occupied the balcony. There was no opening act tonight, which was incredibly fitting as the anticipation for Metallica and their new album (and tour) was palpable. Any other act would have done nothing more than taken up time and space between the fans and their coveted headliner.
At just about 9 pm, Metallica took to the stage and opened with a furious rendition of "Breadfan," one of their most popular cover songs that hasn't been a set list regular since the late 90's. Next, they ripped through Black Album rarity "Holier Than Thou" and straight into "Battery" seemingly without even taking a breath between songs. Next up was "Harvester of Sorrow" another semi-rare fan favorite.
Shortly, James Hetfield brought up the new album and riled up the crowd in anticipation of a new track. The first of the new material was the live debut of "Moth to Flame" from the upcoming album 'Hardwired...To Self-Destruct.' The crowd went berserk, both because of the excitement around seeing new material live, but also because it was this moment that fans were realizing just how well this new jam translated into a live performance.
A few more songs into the set, Metallica played another fairly rare (but somewhat anticipated) rendition of "Orion," an instrumental off the 'Master of Puppets' album. As the song ended, James paid a brief but touching tribute to Cliff Burton, who passed way in a horrific bus accident 30 years ago to the day.
At this point, the guys set into a run of more typical (but no less demanded) songs including "One," "Master of Puppets," "For Whom the Bell Tolls," and "Enter Sandman." They left the stage briefly before coming back and beginning their encore with Thin Lizzy cover "Whiskey in the Jar." Next, fans were treated to the first single off the new album, "Hardwired" as it was performed live for only the second time so far. The general consensus was that this was indeed a welcome addition to their set as it provided just over 3 minutes of fury in the form of new music that fans have been anticipating for years. As is generally tradition over the last dozen or so years, Metallica finally closed out their set with "Seek and Destroy."
While the set was slightly shorter than a normal show, the evening was packed with energy from the word go, and they never let up until the lights came on. Of note to local fans, Lars provided more than a subtle hint to a big show next summer across the river at a big football stadium. The real question is, will this be a one-off show at MetLife Stadium, or is this indicative of their overall touring plans in the summer of 2017? It seems we'll have to wait just a bit longer to find out.
Metallica's upcoming album, 'Hardwired...To Self-Destruct' will be released on November 18th via Blackened Records.
METALLICA - Moth Into Flame (Multi-Cam)- Webster Hall, NYC - 27 September 2016
Photos - courtesy of Rob Travis and Austin Manning