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Concert Reviews:
Metallica blows away the rain, and the fans at Comerica Park
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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DETROIT -- Metallica proved its heavy metal might on Thursday night, July 12, by taking on the elements. And winning.

With all sorts of dire, apocalyptic weather warnings surrounding the quartet's concert Wednesday night, July 12, at Comerica Park, some moves were made to Metallica its best chance for playing its whole show -- namely cutting short the opening sets by Volebeat and Avenged Sevenfold, much to the voiced displeasure of the latter's frontman, M. Shadows. But in the end it proved to be the right thing to do; Metallica finished its pyrotechnic-laden two-hour and 15-minute performance, loud enough to blow any storm clouds away from the stadium, without climatic incident, and there were just hints of raindrops as the sold-out crowd started making its way home.

The concert itself was prototypical Metallica -- forceful and ferocious, but with more sonic diversity than the average metal show. The black-clad group members, aged 52-54, carried their elder statesmen role convincingly; proving on Wednesday there's no statue of age limitation for headbanging.

Particularly exciting was that this time out Metallica -- which last visited Detroit as the headliner for its Orion Music + More festival during June of 2013 on Belle Isle -- has new material to play thanks to last fall's "Hardwired...To Self-Destruct," its first album in eight years. Metallica started Wednesday's show with a one-two punch of "Hardwired" and "Atlas Rise!," and those along with the other fresh tracks -- "Moth Into Flame," "Now That We're Dead" and a particularly muscular "Halo On Fire" -- fit seamlessly alongside material from nearly 35 years ago.

Metallica offered no real surprises among its older selection, but it's hard to argue with standards such as "For Whom The Bell Tolls," Fuel," "Wherever I May Roam," "One," a masterful rendering of the dynamic, suite-like "Master Of Puppets," "Seek & Destroy" and the show-closing "Enter Sandman." With a plethora of fireworks, lasers and some truly serious flamethrowers whose heat could be felt in Comerica's upper deck, as well as a massive, five-panel video screen, there was an abundance of visual spectacle to accompany the music as well as plenty of instrumental pyrotechnics, mostly courtesy of guitarist Kirk Hammett.

The onslaught was tempered, albeit slightly, by slower-burning songs such as "The Unforgiven," "Fade To Black" and "Nothing Else Matters," carefully deployed to provide breathers within the frenzy as well as to set up the fusillades that came in their wake.

Early in the show frontman James Hetfield told the fans, including a fair amount of crowd-surfers on the standing room only field, that Metallica intended to be a unifying force away from politics and other divisions of the times. "None of those differences matter right now," Hetfield declared. "We are together. We are celebrating live with live music. You are Metallica family."

On Wednesday it was a family that played together -- "Hardwired," if you will, for the kind of sweaty, fist-pumping good time that Metallica tends to deliver, rain or shine.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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