The internet just recently exploded with the news that Metallica has finally set a date for their new album, Hardwired…To Self-Destruct. The world has been waiting for the follow up to Death Magnetic, which was released in 2008 and now fans now have their calendars marked for Nov. 18. To make the news even better, Metallica released its first single “Hardwired” the same day. The single was well received by both fans and critics, who all said it seemed like the band went back to its roots.
On Saturday, Aug. 20, Metallica was the very first rock band to play at the brand new U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Joining Metallica for this special occasion were Avenged Sevenfold and Volbeat. Months before the show, the event was completely sold-out. With the album news and the single dropping days before the show, the hype around Minneapolis was incredible.
The line outside the new home of the Minnesota Vikings was miles long, as excited fifth members of the Metallica family eagerly waited to get in and secure their spot on the rail. The night started off with Metallica’s friends and old tour-mates Volbeat. Volbeat has been busy on the road after its recent release Seal the Deal & Let’s Boogie. The band started things off with the first single from that album “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown.” The crowd response to Volbeat was great. Metallica fans seem to remember Volbeat quite well after their opening slot on the Death Magnetic tour.
Volbeat was given enough time to rip through ten songs. Other songs on the setlist included, “The Mirror and the Ripper,” “Sad Man’s Tongue” and “Hallelujah Goat.” Volbeat did a great job picking through a now decent size catalog. The band has gone through several lineup changes since its inception, including a recent change in bass players. Even with new blood in the band, Volbeat certainly still blend well together and put on a solid show. The performance ended with “Still Counting,” which left Minneapolis wanting more Volbeat except everyone in the crowd was ready for the mighty Metallica.
Before Metallica took the stage, Avenged Sevenfold had a chance to show the crowd that even though they’ve been quiet the last year, they still know how to kick ass. When the band took the stage, the venue was still quite empty, just as it was for Volbeat. Avenged opened with “Nightmare” and before fans knew it, there was a wall of fire behind the band. The pyrotechnics that Avenged Sevenfold brought with them were certainly a highlight of the entire evening. New drummer Brooks Wackerman did a spectacular job for just his second live performance with the group.
Avenged Sevenfold gave U.S. Bank Stadium fans hit after hit. Songs like “Beast and the Harlot,” “Hail to the King,” and “Almost Easy” were just some of what the band gave the audience. For the first time since 2012, the band played “God Hates Us.” The only downfall of watching Avenged as part as an opening slot was the short ten song set. There are not many bands that Avenged Sevenfold can open for, since they have the power to headline arenas and amphitheaters themselves. Singer M. Shadows said goodnight to the sold-out stadium with a killer performance of “Unholy Confessions” from their 2003 release Waking The Fallen.
As the lights dimmed and the giant video screens turned on, the familiar sounds of “The Ecstasy of Gold” began to play over the speakers. The video screens illuminated the sold-out U.S. Bank Stadium and there truly wasn’t an empty seat in the massive arena.
Lars Ulrich came out to his drum kit and kicked things off with “Creeping Death”. From the first note, the atmosphere in the stadium was electrifying. For a band that formed in the ’80s, Metallica has not lost its touch. There are not many metal bands that have the ability to sell out a 50,000+ stadium and Metallica did this months before the show happened.
The night’s stage was familiar to those who saw the “Night Before” show in San Francisco, where Metallica performed the night before the Super Bowl. The band and fans deemed the performance “Too Heavy For Halftime,” a title given after Metallica wasn’t picked to play halftime at the Super Bowl. The stage, fairly open and backed with the massive LED screens, was complimented by Metallica’s signature runway/snake pit. This circular catwalk gives a select number of lucky fans to be inside the catwalk and not get crushed in the crazy general admission crowd.
Metallica seemed to keep the setlist fairly generic for the special event. Fan favorites like “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Fuel” and “The Unforgiven” could have been guessed by anyone before the show started. One of the highlights of the show was the band’s performance of “Leper Messiah.” The band gave their fifth members a poll to vote on what song they wanted the band to play. The die-hard Metallica fans knew what song they wanted to hear from the list, and they got their way. Although James Hetfield forgot to sing a portion of the lyrics, the band actually went back later in the night and replayed that part of the song. The band completely laughed it off and so did the crowd.
The biggest question of the night was if fans would hear the newly released single, “Hardwired.” Well, after ending the set with “Seek & Destroy,” Metallica kicked off the encore with “Hardwired”. This new single sounded even better live and the crowd went insane. If this first single is any indication on the path Metallica took for the upcoming album, fans will certainly be happy.
After “Hardwired,” the band chose “Whiskey in the Jar” as their cover for the evening. The night ended with “Nothing Else Matters” and “Enter Sandman.” At the end of “Enter Sandman,” there was a huge fireworks display that went off on each end of the stage. The fireworks came just feet from the new stadium roof. If anyone was going to destroy the brand new stadium, there would be no better way than to have Metallica do it.
For fans who stuck around shortly after James, Lars, Kirk and Robert said their goodbyes, they got to see a trailer for the new album that played on the LED screens. The hype for this November is going to be bigger than any other album Metallica has done. Surely to chart at #1, Metallica will be supporting their new release by hitting the road in early 2017.
Volbeat Setlist: The Devil’s Bleeding Crown, The Mirror and the Ripper, Sad Man’s Tongue, Hallelujah Goat, Dead but Rising, The Gates of Babylon, Doc Holliday, Seal the Deal, Radio Girl
Avenged Sevenfold Setlist: Nightmare, Critical Acclaim, Beast and the Harlot, Hail to the King, Buried Alive, Almost Easy, Afterlife, God Hates Us, Bat Country, Unholy Confessions
Metallica Setlist: Creeping Death, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Fuel, King Nothing, The Memory Remains, The Unforgiven, Leper Messiah, Welcome Home (Sanitarium), Sad But True, Wherever I May Roam, One, Master of Puppets, Battery, Fade to Black, Seek & Destroy, Hardwired, Whiskey in the Jar, Nothing Else Matter, Enter Sandman