Metallica w/ Jim Breuer
Moda Center, Portland, OR

The major Metallica spectacle started off with emcee and comedian Jim Breuer hosting audience contests, but—after and hour and 15 minutes of people wondering if the show was still happening—9:15 p.m. rolled around and the lights finally went down. The crowd started roaring and one at a time, each band member ran like football players through a tunnel of fans toward the giant stage in the middle of Portland’s Moda Center.

The stage looked like a hulking ninja star with giant cubes that pulsed up and down, projecting different imagery throughout the show. Some focused on various logos Metallica has endured over their careers while others showed photos of the band in their heyday on up through current.

Starting off their set with much newer songs, “Hardwired” and “Atlas, Rise!,” lead singer James Hetfield told the crowd, “I hope you’re ready to have some fun because tonight we have in store for you a lot of new songs, we have a lot of songs from the middle of our career, and if you’re good, you might get an old song!” Then, the intro guitar riff to the classic “Seek & Destroy” began and the crowd went wild. Metallica then continued with “Holier Than Thou” and another classic “Welcome Home (Sanitarium).”

Metallica manages to succeed in that their fanbase is ever so present in a wide age range. You could see the generation that grew up along with Metallica as well as the younger generation (fan spawn?) who carry the Metallica fan base torch.

With the stage set up in the middle of the arena, no one person had a bad view, as each band member rotated corners of the stage while Lars Ulrich drummed his heart out in the center, facial expressions galore. I would think after 40 years of touring and putting out music, the band must do something to keep the fans coming back, hell even keep them going, and we witnessed that with an extended drum solo played by all members drumming in the middle of “Now That We’re Dead.”

Visually, Metallica went all out with curated imagery and production for each song. “Fuel” had nonstop pyro that encased Ulrich, while “Moth Into Flame” showcased numerous moth-like drones coming up from under the stage for synchronized movements that faded in and out of the light (get it, moth into flame?!).

Like the concerts of most iconic bands with long discographies, the crowd was pleased with each song but when an old classic came out, you knew that was what everyone wanted to hear. “Fade to Black” gave me straight up chills with its long musical intro and the low roar of the entire crowd singing along with Hetfield. This was followed by guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Rob Trujilla breaking up the set with a cover of “Taken By Surprise,” by Poison Idea.

With such a large library of tunes, Metallica was not able to cover all the hits in one night and some classics were not played, but instead are in a rotating setlist by city. “Unforgiven” was noticeably missing from Portland’s setlist, as well as songs from their much received comeback album, Load.

Metallica closed out the night with a three-song encore, capped off by the mainstream classic, “Enter Sandman.”

Atlas, Rise!
Seek & Destroy
Holier Than Thou
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Now That We’re Dead (with extended middle drum solo with all members of the band)
Creeping Death
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Fade to Black (followed by Kirk & Rob’s solos incl. ‘Taken By Surprise’ by Poison Idea cover)
No Remorse
Moth Into Flame
Sad but True
Master of Puppets

Spit Out the Bone
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman (with ‘The Frayed Ends of Sanity’ outro)

Review and photos by Sunny Martini

Metallica and Jim Breuer