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METALLICA slays on last date of US tour, setlist available

Posted on February 6, 2009

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So much about METALLICA is deeply ingrained into our consciousness that amidst all the CDs, documentaries, merch, hype, missteps, tributes, parodies, media, video games and radio dominance, you could almost forget why all those aspects exist in the first place: because JAMES HETFIELD, KIRK HAMMETT, LARS ULRICH and in this instance ROBERT TRUJILLO absolutely smoke as a live act. Anyone who skipped the Superbowl to catch the last date of Metallica's US tour, at the Prudential Center in New Jersey, can attest to this.

Tearing through opener "That Was Just Your Life," Metallica freed Death Magnetic's first cut from the album's stifling mix, before classics like "Creeping Death" and "Harvester of Sorrow" engulfed the arena. Hetfield and especially Trujillo's beastly stage prowling made them dynamic performers, while eye of the hurricane Hammett sounded liberated to rock at such a frenzied pace, holding down the band's collective fort and unleashing several solos that even DAVE MUSTAINE would concede the greatness of. Much has been made of Lars being the band's weak link, but he effectively kept the band's timing and handled an early stage set malfunction (that landed in his kit) like a champ.

All of Death Magnetic's tracks benefited from a live setting, with "The End of the Line" and even the tired "The Day that Never Comes" threatening to throttle everyone in their seats. But the indisputable highlight among new songs was "All Nightmare Long," an eight-minute scorcher highlighted by Hammett's murderous solo, Hetfield's feral barking and a mid-breakdown fist bump between Hetfield and Trujillo to remind us that they were having as much fun as the sold-out crowd.

But Metallica knows what keeps us coming back, and the standards arrived in large numbers. No matter how much we've all heard them, it's hard to imagine anyone really appreciating "One," "Enter Sandman" or "Master of Puppets" until hearing the crowd's chants race with the band's performances. The rarity "Breadfan" erupted into the arena-shaker that it never was for BUDGIE, and "Blackened" may have been the show's highlight, punctuated with fiery geysers that silhouetted Hetfield's frame as he hoisted his Gibson Explorer. The heated tale of nuclear winter seamlessly gave way to an unguarded rendition of "Nothing Else Matters," establishing the latter as, for better or worse, the finest ballad to ever escape from the minds of a thrash metal band.

Hetfield graced us with a hearty, enthusiastic thank you before leading the band into the closer, a furious yet somehow communal "Seek & Destroy." As if we had to be reminded.

Openers THE SWORD provided some high-energy stoner rock and MACHINE HEAD gave a fairly standard best-of set, but both bands were reduced to afterthoughts once Metallica showed them, and the headbanging crowd, how to properly melt an arena.

Setlist:

"That Was Just Your Life"
"The End of the Line"
"Creeping Death"
"Harvester Of Sorrow"
"One"
"Broken, Beat & Scarred"
"Cyanide"
"Sad But True"
"Welcome Home (Sanitarium)"
"All Nightmare Long"
Kirk Solo #1
"The Day That Never Comes"
"Master Of Puppets"
"Blackened"
Kirk Solo #2
"Nothing Else Matters"
"Enter Sandman"
"Die Die My Darling"
"Breadfan"
"Seek and Destroy"

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