Metallica played their first explosive Vancouver show on Friday night at Rogers Arena to film their upcoming 3-D concert movie due out next year.
Billed as “The Full Arsenal,” Metallica’s first 3-D concert shoot in Vancouver lived up to its name despite a few technical glitches, some unexpected and some on purpose for added entertainment value.
Although an e-mail blast went out to ticket buyers on Thursday instructing metalheads to be in their seats by 7 p.m., the show itself didn’t start until 8:30 p.m.. In the weeks leading up to the 3-D show, word on the street had local rockers 3 Inches of Blood set to open for the metal gods. In the e-mail from the previous night, it was revealed that the show would be without an opening act for logistical reasons related to filming.
That is, however, until former Saturday Night Live regular, Jim Breuer, a diehard Metallica fan, took to the stage to warm up the crowd and remind all Vancouver fans how lucky they were to be part of Metallica history.
Once the lights went down at Rogers Arena, the guys of Metallica were in fine explosive form as they launched into “Creeping Death” to start the show. As promised, it was a full arsenal of metal from start to finish through an 18-song set.
Playing tracks from every album in the Metallica discography, the massive (and I mean MASSIVE) stage played jumbotron to a myriad of mind-blowing visuals as James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, and Rob Trujillo roamed the floor while Lars Ulrich pounded away on drums from the center all evening.
The set pieces took fans through the entire history of the band’s career, from an electric chair and giant, fully functional Tesla coil above the crowd to reflect Ride the Lightning, giant coffins from the Death Magnetic tour, rising grave crosses to reflect Master of Puppets, and a massive Lady Justice statue from … And Justice for All. It was a Metallica stage show that fans could only dream of seeing.
To add to the visuals, transparent screens were lowered several times to shroud the stage in projected imagery from various albums and songs, which included soldiers marching for “One” and a guy struggling to get out of straight jacket for “Sanitarium.”
With cameras rolling across all corners of the stage, the show had a few technical hiccups. Early into the set, during “Cyanide,” James threw a faulty microphone to the floor in frustration before later noticing what appeared to be a timing problem with the Tesla coil. Although the other band members didn’t miss a beat, Hetfield looked a little more than pissed by the snafus.
For those who saw Metallica live in the 90s in support the Load album, the band took a page from their own live playbook by staging a fake accident for “Enter Sandman” in which a crew-member caught fire and ran for his life across the stage. Unlike their fake accident act back in the 90s, this one went to an a new level of spectacle since the stage was so huge.
Although some fans knew what was up, others throughout the arena (namely those who were high behind me) thought it was real.
However, as they did on their Load tour, the staged accident allowed the band to strip things down for a “garage” set with a few of amps and drums to reflect not only Garage Days and Garage Days Revisited but also the band’s debut album Kill ‘Em All, which was originally titled Metal Up Your Ass.
And with the stage in shambles, Metallica turned up the lights and closed out the first 3-D show with “Seek & Destory” while raining hundreds of bouncing black balls on the crowd like they’ve done in recent tours over the past few years.
So, how did the first 3-D movie concert stack up to other Metallica shows of days gone by?
Well, having seen Metallica 11 times in 20 years, Friday night’s show was the best. Although the guys of Metallica have taken a lot of flack over the years, they continue to raise their live game to new heights. It’s amazing when I really think about it. To see the best Metallica show 20 years after first seeing them in 1992 is mind blowing.
If all goes as planned in post-production, Metallica fans worldwide are in for an amazing 3-D movie experience!
Metallica in Vancouver Setlist – Friday, August 24, 2012
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Ride the Lightning
The Memory Remains
Wherever I May Roam
Sad but True
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
…And Justice for All
Fade to Black
Master of Puppets
Nothing Else Matters
Hit the Lights
Seek & Destroy
If anyone was at the show, tell us your thoughts?