Metallica

Telia Parken, Copenhagen - 2019

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Metallica’s been a frequent guest around these parts recently. They’re on their third year of the Worldwired tour (after the release of the Hardwired… To Self-Destruct album), and they’ve been to Denmark at least once a year during this tour. And we’re happy to see them.

“I feel that we’re gonna have a lot of fun tonight, alright? I hope you’re in that kind of mood. But if you’re not, we’re gonna change that.”
- James Hetfield (vocals/guitar)


This time around, there was both a dose of the well known, and a bit of the unknown. Starting with the stage - Metallica’s last visit to Copenhagen saw them using the square stage in the middle of the room, whereas tonight had the more regular stage at one end of the stadium, yet with a distinct Metallica touch - a double catwalk enclosing the “snakepit”, where a select few fans could stand within reaching distance of the band.
There was no backdrop, but a group of huge video screens sided by the latest logo M to the right, and A to the left (as seen from the crowd, of course).
On the edge of the regular stage, there was a row of oversized light-bulbs.

Not only was the setlist changed from their last visit, we’d expected that much, but it apparently changed from night to night, making every gig something unique. An impressive feat, no doubt.
The band was of course the same, but there was a slight changing of roles at one point - more on that later.
So, yeah, Metallica as we know and love them, and at the same time Metallica, reinventing themselves within the boundaries of their given field. Not a shabby way to go about it, wouldn’t you say?

Considering what had happened to Ghost only moments before, I was a little afraid that the gig would be killed by the notoriously bad sound of Telia Parken, but as soon as the intro songs were out of the way, and the band kicked it into gear with Hardwired, those fears were immediately put to shame - Metallica delivered a fat, heavy, delicious sound, where everything was clearly distinguishable from everything else. This was probably one of the best mixed Metallica shows I’ve been to, and it was a true delight to the ear.
The song choices helped of course. Sure, there were a lot of safe choices, and personally I could have done without Frantic, and even the classic Nothing Else Matters, but on the other hand I was greatly pleased to find No Leaf Clover kicking up some dust in the middle of the set. It’s not every day that one gets out and about. And at the beginning of, or just before, depending on how you see it, the bass solo, there was a very nice surprise, as we were told the boys (in this case only Robert Trujillo and Kirk Hammett) would play a local favourite, and that we should just join in on singing when we felt like it. The local favourite was none other than D-A-D’s classic Sleeping My Day Away, and although Trujillo was handling the vocals for once, the crowd deafened him out completely with their own voices. A magic moment.

One had one (see what I did there?) hell of a pyroshow opening it, with explosions, huge pillars of fire, and even rockets flying overhead, and during the song, there was a cool video running in the background, with soldiers marching forth, all wearing different era designs of the Metallica skull as heads.
While standing by my above statement about Frantic, I will say that it provided us with an absolutely brilliant lightshow, with lasers firing out of every corner of Telia Parken.
Late in the set, another special detail happened. At the outermost part of the catwalk, a drumkit rose out of the ground, and saying that they wanted to be a bit closer to us, and to each other, the whole band now moved out there for the next couple of songs, a most brilliant Creeping Death and a loud and wild Seek & Destroy.

On the whole, it was a perfectly lit band we saw this night. I’ve been a bit hard on them for their last couple of visits, because I know what they are capable of, and tonight they gave us just that - everything they were capable of!
Throughout the evening, it was all smiles on the faces of all the band members (well, not counting some of the weird faces Lars Ulrich dons while playing intensively), and Hetfield made a lot of fun smalltalk, which actually felt like t came from the heart and the situation, rather than something repeated at each show. For one thing, he gave a few comments on how often Hammett and himself was changing guitars (not with each other), and truly, it was quite remarkable how often it happened. Once, they both even had their guitars changed in the middle of a song!
We weren’t lacking in crowd contact in other aspects either. At several points, all three string benders could be seen reaching out, and even taking a knee at some points, in order to shake hands and bump fists with the audience - especially the snakepit people, as they were closest after all. Ulrich also spent some time on this, when going back and forth during the band’s move to the front of the catwalk.

The boys took a little bit of time to warm up, which is fair, but once this was done, they were all moving fast all over the place. The feeling was intense, and I won’t hesitate to say that this is the best the band has performed in years. I was especially taken by Hammett’s solos. Sure, he was playing the same solos as always in the songs, but there was an intensity and feeling to them, that doesn’t often come across.
All in all, we got to see a band that was perfectly present, musicians having the time of their lives, and an institution proving just why they got so damned big in the first place.

Setlist:

It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll) (AC/DC song)
The Ecstasy Of Gold (Ennio Morricone song)
Hardwired intro

Hardwired
The Memory Remains
Ride The Lightning
The God That Failed
The Unforgiven
Here Comes Revenge
Moth Into Flame
Sad But True
No Leaf Clover
Sleeping My Day Away (D-A-D cover)
Solo (Trujillo)
Frantic
One
Master Of Puppets
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Creeping Death
Seek & Destroy
Spit Out The Bone
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman

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