REVIEW: Metallica at the Fiserv Forum

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“I heard you guys are gonna kick our asses,” said James Hetfield to an absolutely packed Fiserv Forum on Tues. October 16. With thunderous uproar, Metallica took to the stage to play for the first time in 8 years in Milwaukee. Not much has changed in those years, except our favorite metal band got a little older and so did their fans, but don’t let detract from the sheer 2.5 hours of pure metal bliss that occurred. Opening with their title track off their latest album Hardwired it was clear they don’t have one bit of rust on their middle-aged bones. This latest album, Hardwired To Self-Destruct is a welcome return to the familiar songs that we grew up listening off infamous albums like Ride the Lightning and Kill Em All. Dirty, fast, melt your goddamn face off thrash, and what a way to start this epic night.

In their 36 years of performing it’s safe to say that Metallica has perfected their on-stage performances. While they may not have that same alcohol-rage induced stage presence they used to in their earlier years, that didn’t distract one bit from every member of the group moving all around their 360-degree stage. Each member picked a corner, shredded that crowd member’s face off and then moved on to the next. There also was something comforting about their presence; you felt that they wanted to be there. Frontman James Hetfield had no shortage of greeting the crowd, singing Milwaukee’s praises and moving on to the next song with a seamless transition. It wasn’t until Seek and Destroy came on that I really noticed a shift in an otherwise lackadaisical crowd. As soon as that iconic riff started, the Fiserv Forum went nuts. I mean 1983, pissed off at the world, end of days type nuts. Or maybe that was just me. It was then that the crowd knew that we were in an amalgamation of Metallica hits, new kick ass songs, and special treats all mixed into one.

After that, we were given a walkthrough of what Metallica’s show would be. Hetfield told the crowd we were getting everything tonight right before stepping into Harvester of Sorrow off …And Justice For All. In an almost comedic way, that I can’t tell 100% if he was serious, Hetfield came back to the mic and asked us “Did you guys like that? I hope you did.” Almost like he was still in a young metal band hoping to please his fans. The legendary Metallica frontman, asked us, wee peasants, if we liked his little song.

Then it was nonstop, face-melting riffs and screaming guitars for the rest of the show. About halfway through, after  Hetfield and Drummer Lars Ulrich departed the stage for a much-deserved break, Kirk Hammett, (do I really need to introduce these guys?) lead guitar and Pat Trujillo, the bassist, played a 10 minute solo tributing Milwaukee with an instrumental version of Gone Daddy Gone, Freddie’s Dead, and (Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth. Right after this, the real crescendo of the show began.

Motorbreath followed by 20-foot flaming blasts accompanied by Fuel, followed by Moth to A Flame with lit up pocket drones filling the stage. Then in a welcome hiatus of headbanging, Hetfield again addressed the crowd this time talking to a 12-year-old girl who was at her first show. Metallica played a tribute to her in the form of Sad But True and as I dripped in sweat from the amount of jumping, head banging I knew what these last few songs would be.

The stage went black. Sounds of gunfire off in the distance rattled through the stadium. The faint sounds of a helicopter off in the distance could only mean the obvious. One. It was epic. It was awe inspiring. I was seeing One live for the first time in my life and holy shit did it hold up. The solos, thumping bass, the dueling guitars. It was absolute insanity. Oh and then the finished their set with Master of Puppets. No big deal.

Thankfully Metallica did not hesitate in giving us an encore. A final send-off of Spit Out the Bone, Nothing Else Matters and finally Enter Sandman. The song that never fails to remind me of bartime and one hell of a way to end such an epic night. They’ve been at it for 36 years and their age didn’t show once. “Metallica loves Milwaukee!” James Hetfield exclaimed to end the show. And Milwaukee loves Metallica.

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Setlist:

Hardwired
Atlas, Rise!
Seek & Destroy
Harvester of Sorrow
The Unforgiven
Now That We’re Dead
Creeping Death
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Fade to Black
Motorbreath
Fuel
Moth Into Flame
Sad but True
One
Master of Puppets

Encore:

Spit Out the Bone
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman

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