Were you at the Metallica gigs a few months ago? Me too. Here’s the Metal Hammer review of the show.
The Odyssey Arena, Belfast
It’s been 22years since Bay Area’s finest last visited Belfast, but tonight they’re making up for lost time (well, kinda) with a rare show “in the round” in front of 8000 boozed up metalheads. Clearly not here to fuck around, Metallica launch straight into That Was Just Your Life backed by enough lasers to make the Decepticons jealous. It’s an unbeatable one-two punch of sound and vision, made all the more palatable due to the fact that we can’t see Lars Ulrich gurning behind the drum-kit as the venue is bathed in green.
With anticipation amped up to “13year old boy getting his first feel” levels, the house lights come on and the band blaze through The End of the Line, For Whom the Bell Tolls and Creeping Death in rapid succession. James Hetfield, looking more and more like a rockabilly version of the Cowardly Lion, addresses the crowd a few times over the night, profusely apologising for their long over-due return to Northern Ireland, but wisely lets the riffs do the talking for the most part, battering his instrument of sonic destruction like a red headed step-child during All Nightmare Long, Master of Puppets and Blackened.
Tonight’s show is like a master-class in arena-level heavy metal. There’s pyros, flames and lasers galore, however unlike other acts, it never seems to overshadow the music. As entertaining as the eyebrow-singeing fire is, the note perfect strains of Wherever I May Roam and (Welcome Home) Sanitarium is what we’re all really here for. You can see that the band are enjoying themselves too and bassist Rob Trujuillo and Hetfield swap devil’s horns high fives like a middle aged Bill and Ted as the last half of One thrashes to a crescendo.
As the gig is in the round, Metallica don’t bother with the pantomime theatrics of coming back on for the encore and after a quick minute changing t-shirts it’s straight into Breadfan, an utterly venomous Whiplash and traditional show closer Seek and Destroy as huge black balls bearing the Metallica logo fall from the roof (insert your own Carry On joke here, readers). It might have taken them a lifetime to come back to Belfast, but it was definitely worth the wait.