Metallica Rocks Tallinn, Kicks Volcano In The Dick (18.04.10)
|Event:||Metallica: World Magnetic Tour|
Metallica - Saku Arena, Tallinn, Estonia, 18.04.2010 by Ivor (69)
It only took one big mother of a mountain to paralyse European air travel and leave thousands of travellers stranded in paradisical holiday resorts. While that may not seem like a bad thing, thousands more had to re-draw their schedules, furious at being unable to curse at the unpronounceable Eyjafuckitjökull volcano. But not Metallica. Not even the raging fiery rivers of hell from deep within the planet's core were able to put a dent in Metallica's grill. The Four Horsemen simply shrugged, flipped the Eyecantsayitjull off and proceeded to rock their target cities. What does all this mean?
It means that Metallica is officially bigger than Mother Earth.
"Fuck you, Mother Earth."
Over the past eleven years I've watched Metallica gradually growing older, James' hair growing shorter, Kirk growing into a Santana, Jason growing into Robert and Lars growing... well, yeah. Nevertheless, ever since Death Magnetic came out, I've been praying for the day The World Magnetic tour drops by to melt my face off with the newest additions to Metallica's discography. At the same time, I couldn't help but notice a widening difference in performance between the old Metallica and the current band. More and more I found myself asking the question - are Metallica getting too old for this shit?
I found my answer on the 18th of April upon Metallica's third visit to Estonia. Suddenly, somewhere between "Ride The Lightning" and "Master of Puppets", a conviction crystallized. As the band plunged into "All Nightmare Long", I found myself confronted with two conflicting feelings - on one hand I was ecstatic to be treated to what is arguably the best song off Death Magnetic. Yet, on the other hand I knew that this song was gonna come at the cost of my arms, my legs, my speech and my neck. By the time the band got around to the violent breakdown of the track, it dawned on me that it was not Metallica that was getting old - I realized that I was. Two days after the gig, when Metallica were already in Vilnius, rocking more faces and mastering other universes, I was down with a sore throat, bruised legs and kidneys screaming for replacement.
Metallica showing what their kidneys are made of.
Of course, cock-ups are somewhat more frequent for Metallica these days and indeed the Tallinn concert produced a moment during which the crowd was uncertain of whether they should bang their heads to the riff or to the drums, seems as the two were undecided on the song. Despite this, none of the men in Metallica showed off signs of ennui or exhaustion.
Also, good teeth = fast metal
I must give props to whoever came out with the 360-degree stage idea, because with this kind of a set up, you can never really be too far away from the band. The contrast was the stronger if you consider that the last time I saw Metallica was on a massive field alongside a 70,000-odd crowd. This time around, instead of moshing in front of a towering stage, I was facing the band head-on, eye-to-eye. There really have been only two cases in the history of mankind when the Lord comes down to meet man half way. Moses went up a hill and got the antique version of the iPad. The second case was Metallica.
In such an intimate setting, I was able to spot something that only flesh can articulate. While from afar the band does indeed seem more static, it is another matter altogether when you're eyeing them, separated only by a measly metal fence. At such a negligible distance you can see every cunning smile James puts on and every approving gaze Kirk throws into the pit. You can see Rob deflecting laser beams on his bass while yelling like a maniac, and you can see Lars pound his kit into submission. The overall feeling that the band radiated was that of relentless energy - and deep appreciation for the fans.
This notion of familiarity and simpleness is today rather in conflict with all the things that accompany Metallica on a tour - a crew bigger than the Baltic armies combined, massive columns of equipment, the ability to spit in the face of a goddamn volcano and lorries full of locale-specific merchandise. On the receiving end of the equation you get the media buzz and the business opportunists rallying up to make a buck. Outside the venue you could pay money to swing an axe at a wrecked car. The gimmick beggars belief because as the Colombian metalheads recently demonstrated, why pay money to destroy one car when you can burn a whole bunch of them for free. I'm certainly not condoling riots here (although I totally am), but what better testimony to a band's greatness than it's ability to heat the crowds to the point of explosive combustion?
Despite all the greatness and the glory, up close Metallica doesn't really feel like a multi-million dollar juggernaut. Rather, one is overwhelmed by an uncanny sense of personal acquaintance, half-expecting to run into the band later at some dive-bar to throw a few back and reminisce about how things were "back in the day".
But what of the set itself? Metallica really only stopped for two breathers, giving the crowd an opportunity to recover from sustained injuries during "Unforgiven" and "Nothing Else Matters". As for the rest of the concert, it was business as usual. "That Was Just Your Life" is a standard opener as well as an acknowledged voice-wrecker these days, and "The End of the Line" as well as "Broken, Beat & Scarred" aided in bringing the Magnetic hammer down. And while the inclusion of "Sad But True" was somewhat unsurprising, "Harvester of Sorrow" provided the band with an element of surprise, as did "The Frayed Ends of Sanity", which they almost, but not quite, played.
In a hark back at the old days, everyone's favourite child-killing, mother-fucking hymn "Last Caress" reminded the gathered crowds of Metallica's roots. "Whiplash" and "Seek And Destroy" ensured that no-one left the arena without at least one critically damaged vital organ. Hereby I am obviously referring to the good people who preferred moshing to chasing beach balls, seems as their pants were already more than adequately stuffed.
Speaking of balls, the only crotch-punch of the day was the pub-level volume during the Gojira and Fear Factory sets. Both bands, and Gojira in particular, put on energetic performances which unfortunately never sunk in, as having to prick your ears to even hear the band from just six feet away is not exactly a metal way to to do it.
It's difficult to finish an article on something as inherently infinite as Metallica. I suppose that while the Four Horsemen are gradually going grey I can't imagine, after seeing them live in this day and age, another fate for them than roaming the planet until humanity itself has long passed away.
That Was Just Your Life
The End of the Line
Harvester of Sorrow
Ride the Lightning
Fade to Black
Broken, Beat and Scarred
Sad But True
All Nightmare Long
Master of Puppets
Nothing Else Matters
Seek and Destroy
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