Metallica w/ Avenged Sevenfold & Gojira
CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA

Three decades and tens album into their career, Metallica returned to Seattle with a much-anticipated stop of their “WorldWired Tour.” They brought with them opening acts that encompassed a wide spectrum of dynamic, experienced, and proven heavy metal bands.

Opening up the show was enthusiastic French heavy metal band Gojira. During their second song, they ventured down to the stage’s catwalk, playing right in front of the hardcore fans that showed up early. Lead singer Joe Duplantier’s lyrics and vocals filled the stadium’s atmosphere as he ranged from low and high. Gorjira’s rhythmic heavy metal set a perfect stage for the bands to follow.

Avenged Sevenfold hit the stage next to keep the evening going. Known for their elaborate headlining stage designs and performance it was interesting to see how they adapted to playing opener on someone else’s stage. They took the show to the next level right upon their entrance with large pyrotechnic flames shooting from the stage. Some flames were so intense they startled the security guards in the front row. The hour-long setlist was a mix of popular songs and a few b-sides ranging from “Almost Easy” and “Unholy Confessions” to “The Stage” and “God Damn.”

Every member of the band took full advantage of the large stage and U-shaped catwalk. Lead singer M. Shadows ran around the fans in the center of the catwalk, giving out high fives. The entire band enjoyed the intimate setting the catwalk created including guitarists Synyster Gates and Zackary Vengeance who came out and did multiple back to back guitar solos less than 3 feet from their fans. Avenged Sevenfold elevated their performance and the atmosphere of the entire stadium to make way for Metallica.

After the sun had set and the stadium flood lights turned off, it was time for Metallica’s return to Seattle – nine years in the making. The show started with a massive display screen, stretching the width of Centurylink Field, lit up with graphics from their tenth studio album, Hardwired… To Self-Destruct. Then out came the band, opening their set with “Hardwired” and “Atlas, Rise!,” the first two tracks from the album. As fans launched their fists into the air, these thundering songs really set the scene for the rest of the night.

Even though Metallica played a 2+ hour concert, they only featured 18 full songs. One of the great beauties of heavy metal music is the melodic periods of guitar solos, experimentation, and breakdowns that create these epic 5-6 minute songs, each a musical journey unto itself.

Despite playing to a massive stadium of 50,000 fans, Metallica made sure that as many fans as possible could be close to them. Along the sweeping stage and catwalk, 8 mics were set up at different spots, allowing lead singer James Hetfield to stop at each one at different points during the show.

Before the show got too far along, Hetfield set things straight, telling the crowd that Metallica, “doesn’t care about your skin color, voting preference, what you eat, or your religion – we are just here to celebrate music!” Hetfield drew attention to a young 10-year-old boy in the front row as a perfect celebration of music, “Next generation metal head right there. This song goes out to the next generation of metal heads.”

Halfway into the set, the whole stage was lit on fire. The flames moved back and forth along the stage during their latest single, “Moth into Flame.” Metallica’s newer songs still have their classic beloved sound and heaviness, but it was easy to tell most fans were there for their most popular hits from the past three decades. Fans’ cheers were loudest when they played songs like ‘Master of Puppets” and “Memory Remains.” With half of the fans there for their first Metallica experience and many others there for their second plus show, the setlist was a great mix of the new and classic-era Metallica.

After “Halo on Fire,” lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bass player Rob Trujillo joined together at the center of the catwalk for a duel, playing back and forth with each other. Hammett finished with a fast and pitch screeching solo before leaving the stage while Trujillo finished his solo piece with a video tribute to Metallica’s original bass player, Cliff Burton, who passed away in a tour bus accident in 1986.

The evening ended with a killer 30-minute encore as Metallica played out the show with “Battery,” “Nothing Else Matters,” and their most well know song, “Enter Sandman.” Fireworks and pyrotechnics lit up the sky as they played the final part of the song with “The Frayed Ends of Sanity” on the outro. It was glorious 2+ hour show that fans won’t soon forget. Let’s hope it’s not another nine years before their next Seattle concert.

Review and photos by Logan Westom