Saturday, December 12, 2009
Metallica at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas
It was nearly one year ago that I witnessed Metallica destroy during the first leg of their Death Magnetic tour at the Forum. The scheduling gods were with me as I capped my Las Vegas run of The Cranberries at the Pearl and Morrissey at the Joint with a monstrous show of Metallica at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
I had to do some research on Volbeat. Hailing from Denmark, Volbeat reminded me of a metal tinged version of Social Distortion. It wasn't surprising that they asked the crowd if they liked Johnny Cash before rolling through one of their country tinged hard rock tunes. They played a decent set but did resort to covering a few notes of Slayer to get some cheers from the crowd. I guess you do whatever it takes to get the crowd ready.
Machinehead was loud and fired up. Robb Flynn (Vocals/Guitars) let the beers and riffs fly as he crushed through "Imperium" with his Gibson Flying "V". "Ten Ton Hammer" is still one of my favorite metal riffs that hits like a jackhammer to the chest as I could feel my feet being massaged by the subsonic bass frequencies. Robb explained how excited he was to play Las Vegas since he recently came to the Mandalay Bay Events center for a UFC match and now his band was rocking the arena.
"Now I Lay Thee Down" had both Robb and Phil Demmel (Guitars) come together for a blaze of fiery fretwork as both were two handed tapping a dueling solo near the end of the song. It was a shame Machinehead didn't have time to do more songs as they wrapped their set with "Halo" and the punishing "Davidian". It reminded me that I need to partake in a full Machinehead set soon.
In case you missed the memo, Metallica is back in full force. The tickets for this show sold out in minutes as it has been five years since Metallica has played Las Vegas. Lasers illuminated the rectangular stage as the members of Metallica lurked in the shadows moments prior to opening their set with "This Was Just Your Life" from the Rick Rubin produced album Death Magnetic.
"The End of The Line" was another thrash gem that tonally recalls the vintage "scooped mids" crunch that Metallica has patented. The crowd really went nuts when they hit the opening notes of "Ride The Lightning". James Hetfield (Vocals/Guitars) had eschewed his usual armory of trademark ESP guitars for a shiny golden Gibson Les Paul. I frantically paced the stage with Kirk Hammett (Guitars) when it came time for him to lay down the blistering wah drenched solo.
After "The Memory Remains", old school fans were delighted again with another Metallica classic "Fade To Black" which brought back memories of me sitting down trying to figure out the chords on my first guitar(a Fender Squier). Robert Trujillo (Bass) effortlessly slays every bass note with surgical precision as he methodically crept across the stage throughout the evening.
A double dose of Death Magnetic tracks, "Broken, Beat, and Scarred" and "Cyanide" gave way to the "D" tuning of "Sad But True" as the coffins above the stage descended once more. It was pyromania during "One" which immediately recalls their classic video which images extracted from the movie Johnny Got His Gun.
The pyrotechnics gave way to more insane laser action during the skull crushing riffs of "Master of Puppets". The machine that is Metallica kept destroying by launching more pyro for "Fight Fire With Fire" and then visiting the black album for "Nothing Else Matters" and the specially constructed for arena rock staple "Enter Sandman" to close out their main set.
Metallica continued to dig into the past with their staple cover of the Misfits "Die, Die My Darling" . Everyone started to act like a maniac during a furious rendition of "Whiplash". The house lights turned on to illuminate the crowd for a giant sing along to "Seek and Destroy". It is fitting that they ended their set with the song, as their next destination for destruction was Anaheim.