It’s been six years since last I saw Metallica live. Yes they did a few intimate shows here in New York in recent years (both almost impossible to get in) so when they announced a tour to Hardwired…To Self Destruct I was excited to finally move The Big 4 at Yankee Stadium out of the label of “Last Time I Saw Metallica Live”. Thankfully they decided to make the newly reimagined Nassau Coliseum to the schedule because I was not risking cold weather in a football stadium in midMay. But I was skeptical thinking maybe the indoor show wouldn’t get the same treatment. My skepticism couldn’t have more wrong.
As I rolled into the arena to my seats I was immediately excited to see the stage dead center for in the round play. Yes Metallica has become synonymous with in the round in arenas but I knew the old one end setup might’ve been possible since this was the only arena date.
After sitting through Volbeat again (sorry I just don’t get the popularity of this band) it came time for the big guns to hit the stage. The lights dimmed and the stage began flashing with the artwork from Hardwired…To Self Destruct showing all the stage was also the video screens. As was a screen above the stage for those on the floor who couldn’t see the video on the stage floor. Metallica came out hard with “Hardwired” & “Atlas, Rise!” as expected since they’re the lead singles off the album. But you could tell right then and there that they were as excited as the fans. Their energy level was high. And why wouldn’t it be? Nassau Coliseum was like playing a club show compared to the football stadiums they’re playing on this tour.
The next few songs were somewhat as expected though hearing “The Unforgiven” early in a set seemed odd considering it’s usually a mid show song giving everyone a chance to recharge as it’s a rare slow song. But the follow up song explained why. “Now That We’re Dead” followed and got everyone on their feet again while four middle drums were snuck on stage. Midway through the song Metallica began breaking off to each drum which turned into a group middle drum solo. Not only did this remind everyone that Metallica still thinks outside of the normal for live shows but it also shows their musicianship as a band. Diehard fans never questioned each members abilities but the casual fans do so this middle drum group solo was also a big middle finger to many naysayers of what talent the band may or may not have.
There were nice surprises regarding live performances. I honestly don’t recall hearing “Harvester Of Sorrow” live the few times I’ve seen Metallica live. Also the solo that Kirk Hammett & Robert Trujillo did was a guitar & bass only version of “I Disappear” which I’ve never heard in any version live. Plus I honestly never get tired of hearing “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”, “The Four Horsemen”, and “Blackened” live.
After two and a half hours the energy rush was over. Metallica came into Nassau Coliseum and quite possibly delivered their best show of this tour. Was it flawless? Definitely not. I caught a few moments of miscues and keys that were a bit off but that’s what you should occasionally get at a live show. As I regained my hearing, and even now I’m left with just two questions after such an amazing show; how much longer can they go and will it be another six years before they play a major show here in the New York Area? Regardless of the answer to those it’s safe to say Metallica hasn’t lost a step or decibel.