Flames! Sick riffs! Mad pentatonics! Ugly, ugly fans! Metallica’s live DVD has it all, as Andrew P Street discovers.
There’s something faintly sad about seeing grown men throw devil horns with sincerity. Right at the beginning of Metallica’s new live DVD – the first release since leaving Warner for life as an independent act on their own Blackened Recordings, we have the 50-year-old Kirk Hammett in moody black and white, slowed down to quarter speed, throwing the horns for the camera and looking, it has to be said, ridiculous.
The rest of the DVD looks far better, in the main. Filmed over two nights at the Colisée Pepsi in Quebec City, Canada, it shows the well-oiled machine that is the veteran band up close and personal in the round.
So we see the ‘Tallica hugging and prepping backstage, then running down through the crowd to the stage, which is a) huge and b) covered in lasers shooting all over the joint.
And then it’s into “This Was Just Your Life”, with Hetfield picking out frantic riffs on his Les Paul before Kirk Hammett busts out an impossibly fast solo on his signature ESP. Then the lights go up and we see the complete stage, surrounded on sides by the most physically repellent audience imaginable. Seriously, Canada: if this crowd is representative of what Quebec has to offer, let them secede: the average attractiveness of the remaining nation will skyrocket.
Then again, it does mean that the band themselves look mad babin’ in comparison, which is good because they’re not getting any younger. But by god, they rock: all of them are pumping out sweat from the first song, especially bassist Rob Trujilio who surely must be close to powder form by the end of the show.
“We’re gonna make you feel better, and you’re gonna make us feel better,” Hetfield tells the crowd after “The End of the Line”, “…together.” And were it not for Some Kind of Monster I’d assume he was taking the piss, but it’s hard to think there’s anything other than genuine sincerity there.
It’s a veritable baton race of guitar changes throughout. Hetfield straps on the ESP Explorer for “The Four Horsemen” and “The Shortest Straw”, Hammett pulls out a freakish looking Teuffel Tulsa for “The Judas Kiss” (honestly, it’s more modern industrial sculpture than instrument) before strapping on a Flying V for “The Day That Never Comes”, preceded by an extended solo showing just how fast those fingers really are.
Unsurprisingly the setlist is drawn heavily from then just-released Death Magnetic, but they pull out the classics for the fans – “Sad But True”, “One”, a blistering “Master of Puppets”, “Nothing Else Matters” (with Hetfield having a little sit down on a stool) – before the place loses it for an epic and audience-participation-heavy “Enter Sandman”.
That ends the set proper and the band go out to touch their hideous fans for a bit before pulling out a cover of Sweet Savage’s “Killing Time” and then into the home stretch for “Whiplash” and – after a little bit of will-they-won’t-they pantomime – they put on Halloween masks for “Seek & Destroy”, possibly in tribute to the front row.
The sound is crisp, the visuals sharp with lots of static and moving cameras, and the show has plenty of spectacle: mad pyrotechnics heralding “One” and “Battery”, huge, coffin-shaped lighting rigs, black Metallica balloons dropping from the ceiling – and the band make a point of ensuring no side finds themselves Metallicaless for any length of time. And there are plenty of close ups of Hammett’s flying fingers (and of Ulrich gurning) for those wanting to get some pro tips.
The second disc contains eight bonus tracks, including covers of Bob Segar’s “Turn the Page” and Budgie’s “Breadfan”, and does the job of justifying a second disc.
Fans of the band will love this for two reasons: one, because it’s their favourite band at the height of their powers; and two, because there’s no way they’re not more sexually desirable than 95 per cent of the people shown in this crowd. Seriously: a band as huge as Metallica really deserves a hotter class of fan.