Metallica / Volbeat / Avenged Sevenfold
August 20, 2016
US Bank Stadium
By Jeff Mozey
Photo by Jeff Mozey
Metallica Fuels Up The Fire
Around 50,000 fans showed up for the sold out Metallica performance at the new US Bank Stadium. This was the largest turnout of the entire year for any venue in Minnesota. The attendance count also beat out country artist Luke Bryant, who played at the stadium the night before. Even though Metallica was the second music act to headline the venue, fans were glad that they were the first rock band to break in the new venue. Two other hard rock acts took the stage before the main event, Denmark's Volbeat and Avenged Sevenfold who originates from Huntington Beach, California.
Unfortunately, the sound in the newly built football stadium wasn't very music friendly. The further away from the stage you went, the less clear the sound. It was Almost as if the stadium had too much reverb and all the different instrumentals meshed together in one loud mess. As any new venue will attest, there are always things to work on and improve. However, from my location near the stage, both Volbeat and Avenged Sevenfold sounded great.
Some stand out things about Volbeat was guitar player Rob Caggiano giving props to Local icon Prince by wearing a Purple Rain shirt in his home state of Minnesota. I spotted two fans talking about the shirt between songs with smiles on their faces, so the shirt was a good call. The cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" was also a great addition to the bands set. Vocalist Michael Poulsen's vocals were just right for the song.
Avenged Sevenfold came out and early in their set had balls of fire shooting into the air. The band entertained the crowd with familiar songs such as; "Beast And The Harlot," "Hail To The King," and "Bat Country." The band has had a very strong fan base for many years and usually headlines the Target Center here in Minneapolis, with a capacity of about 20,000. But when the band arrived in Minneapolis a few days before this show, they announced a free surprise performance at the historic First Avenue Venue with a limit of 1,500 people. Some fans waited throughout the night to be sure to get in. As a point of interest, First Avenue was the first venue that Metallica performed at in Minnesota. This was back in 1985 for only $7.50 at the door.
Now everyone was warmed up for Metal's biggest band, Metallica. The stage had very dim lighting as the rest of the packed stadium was surrounded by darkness. The only other light that could be seen was the many camera flashes coming off the walls of the stadium. But soon, Metallica stomped onto the stage and took off with Ride the Lightning's "Creeping Death." Right away, you couldn't help but noticed the amazing production that went into this show. The five giant video panels behind the band had live video, but also themes, patterns and photos that would fit the mood of the current song. An example was during the song "Fuel," rings of fire would be displayed on to the panels. But if that wasn't enough to keep the viewers attention, huge streams of actual fire were shot into the air on each side of the stage. I could feel the heat from where I was standing. I could go on about the lighting, but it was also spot on. I suggest checking out some video online to see how well the lights worked with each song.
About a quarter way in to the set singer, James Hetfield, asked the crowd if anyone was a fifth member. I wasn't aware of what a fifth member was until recently. A fifth member is someone who is part of the official Metallica fan club. The club had a poll to find out what song the fans wanted to hear the most. "Leper Messiah" was the big winner and Metallica delivered. It's refreshing to see a band as large as Metallica still connect and involve fans with what they do.
Metallica played a total of 19 songs, mostly familiar tunes and fan favorites; "For Whom The Bells Toll," "Master Of Puppets," "Seek And Destroy," "Fade To Black," and of course finishing off the set with "Enter Sandman." Besides this only being the second show for Metallica this year, what made this show even more special was the live debut of the new Metallica single "Hardwired." Only being released days before the show, I had a good feeling that we might get a taste of the new song and sure enough Metallica didn't let us down. Some audience members seemed confused as to what this new tune was. But the majority already seemed to be singing along with it. The new Metallica album Hardwired...To Self-Destruct is set to release on November 18th of this year.
During the final song of the bands encore, "Enter Sandman," hundreds of giant black inflatable balls with Metallica written on them fell from the ceiling. Loud cheering could be heard as fans bounced each ball back into the air. Some fans also started to deflate the balls to keep as a souvenir from the show. Ending with fireworks from each side of the stage, the Metallica show was over. This night was more than just another concert, it was an event.
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