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Metallica closes eclectic Orion fest with hits, rarities
DETROIT -- Metallica certainly had a tough act to follow in closing out Orion Music + More on Sunday night, June 9, on Belle Isle.
The quartet, which launched Orion during 2012 in Atlantic City and moved it to Detroit this year, staged what may have been the festival's defining performance the day before, with a surprise performance -- billed as Dehaan -- on the Damage Inc. stage. It's hard to ride that kind of lightning in a bottle twice in the same weekend, so for its scheduled headline set on Sunday, the quartet simply stuck to what it's done for the past 32 years -- playing intricate, galvanizing heavy metal that put a firm and exuberant exclamation point on a successful weekend of eclectic music and lifestyle offerings.
Grouping together after it individual members spent time with the attractions they curated around the festival site, Metallica started about 20 minutes late before pounding out a two-hour and 10-minute set that incorporated catalog rarities such as "Disposable Heroes," "Carpe Diem Baby," "I Disappear" from the "Mission: Impossible 2" soundtrack and the lengthy instrumental "Orion," after which frontman James Hetfield acknowledged the group's late bassist Cliff Burton, who co-wrote the piece.
The group also tapped its last album, 2008's "Death Magnetic," for "The Day That never Comes," and gave a special Detroit nod by bringing out its cover of Bob Seger's "Turn the Page," highlighted by guitarist Kirk Hammett's spooky slide work. The bulk of the set, meanwhile, came from Metallica's 80s canon, including "Blackened," "Harvester of Sorrow," "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)," "Creeping Death" and pyrotechnic-laden renditions of "One" and "Seek and Destroy."
"You make us feel good, family. I hope I'm not the only one that had a good time," Hetfield told the crowd -- which, to be fair, was steadily streaming out during the final third of the show. But even those choosing to leave early to beat the shuttle bus lines would say the feeling was mutual.
Metallica's performance, by the way, will be available for download at www.livemetallica.com.
The the Joy Formidable canceled its set due to a flight delay (the group landed right about the time of it was due on stage) Orion's second day was filled with plenty of other exciting musical moments, including:
* A screaming, day-opening performance by All Shall Perish that had circular mosh pits going in front of the Orion Stage.
* A live-wire set by the Detroit-formed Dirtbombs, culminating with drummer Ben Blackwell jumping into the crowd during a cover of INXS's "Need You Tonight," then returning with a floor tom for the show-closing "I Can't Stop Thinking About It."
* The Trujillo trio -- Metallica's bassist plus professional skateboarder Tony Trujillo and his wife Ashley -- roared through its set on the Damage Inc. stage, joined at the end by Mike Muir and Dean Pleasants from Robert Trujillo's former band Infectious Grooves, which played on Saturday.
* Visa Chino, comprised of former members of Kyuss and original called Kyuss Lives, played its first show under its new moniker in the Frantic tent and delivered stoner rock classics such as "Gardenia," "Hurricane," "Green Machine" and "Thong Song" as well as one new track, "Dargona Dragona," from its upcoming album "Peace."
* The Detroit-formed Death, which has been in town much of the week promoting its upcoming documentary "A Band Called Death," made a triumphant and emotional homecoming with a 50-minute show on the Damage Inc. stage that included groundbreaking mid-70s protopunk songs such as "Politicians in My Eyes," Keep On Knocking" and "Freakin' Out," along with a raw cover of the Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life."
* deftones delivered a hard-hitting Orion stage that promoted 2012's "Koi No Yokan" with songs such as "Swerve City," "Rosemary," "Tempest" and "Poltergeist," while frontman Chino Moreno made his first foray into the audience by the second song, "You've Seen the Butcher."
* Gogol Bordello's self-described gypsy punk had the crowd in front of the Fuel stage partying hard just before Metallica was due on across the Belle Isle field
* And the Sanitarium electronic tent closed with an absolutely insane performance by the EDM "supergroup" Destroid, whose members -- Excision, Downlink and KJ Sawka -- dressed like robotic spacemen for an elaborate staged hour of dubstep, drumstep and electro house, with visual effects that matched the futuristic costumes. Here's hoping they'll be around for next year's Movement festival.
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