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METALLICA - Prudential Center, Newark, NJ 1/31/09

Fat Freddy

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I'm going to refrain from going into my standard Metallica spiel because you probably have all heard it a thousand times, if not from me, then from someone else (in a nutshell: "I loved'em back in the day, I was disappointed in the Black Album, I hated LOAD and RELOAD, I VIOLENTLY hated ST. ANGER, f**k those guys, they're dead to me now, yadda yadda yadda")... but even a jaded prick like me had to admit that last year's DEATH MAGNETIC was a pretty damn solid album. Maybe not a total return to form tour de force like we've all been hoping for over the past decade and a half or so but definitely a step in the right direction.


Therefore, when my reporter buddy Brian told me he had a comp ticket for me to check out Metallica at Newark's brand-spankin-new Prudential Center arena (new home of the NJ Devils) I looked forward to it with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. I'd seen a few set lists from this tour on the Net and it looked pretty promising; they seemed to be skipping over the dreaded LOAD/RELOAD/ST. ANGER trio entirely and were concentrating on a lot of MAGNETIC and similarly minded old-school material. If nothing else, I reasoned, this would be a much needed night out away from the wife and kids. :lol:


It was bitterly cold when my pal and I arrived in Newark and by the time we'd survived the long wait on line outside simply to enter the arena we were both thoroughly frostbitten. An even longer wait ensued inside as we lined up at the "Will Call" window to pick up our tickets. Between that and the length of time it took us to find our seats, we'd missed almost all of the first band on the bill, The Sword. Don't know much about them but we did hear their last song and it sounds like the kinda stuff that's up my alley -- swirly, doomy, no-frills Sabbath/C.O.C. styled heavy rockin'. I was bummed that I'd only gotten to hear the one song, and would like to check them out further in the near future.


Next band up was Machine Head, and though I'm not particularly a fan, they did a decent job of warming up the frigid crowd as more people filed into the Prudential Center. They were nice enough to play the one song of theirs I do like, "Imperium," and surprised everyone late in their set with a gutsy but sloppily played cover of Iron Maiden's "Hallowed Be Thy Name" (!!). Overall, Robb Flynn looked like he was having the time of his life playing in front of such a legendary band and ran around with a shit eatin' grin on his face the whole time. Though crowd reaction to MH started off slow they had the place pretty well rockin' by the end of their set.


Finally came the Big Boys, and my inner Teenage Metal Fanboy's pulse rose as soon as the lights dropped and their "Ecstasy of Gold" intro tape blared. Metallica blitzed into Newark with the MAGNETIC lead off track "That Was Just Your Life," surrounded by some really whiz-bang lookin' laser beams and had the place in the palm of their hand from the get-go.


A word about the staging on this tour for those of you who haven't seen it yet: Metallica is playing "in the round" with the stage set up in the middle of the arena floor. There's a General Admission section immediately surrounding that where fans can stand, before the reserved-seating starts. My friend Brian and I were in the first tier of seats, seven rows back -- dynamite seats!! :lol:


Metallica sounded great and looked happy to be there. They played a big hunk of the new album (set list will be at the end of this post) plus a lot of oldies that I had never seen/heard them perform live. When they busted into "Hit the Lights" (!!) or the NWOBHM chestnut "Blitzkrieg" I couldn't help but smile. I sat down and took a break when they played "Nothing Else Matters" (I never did like that song much) but other than that I was on my feet for nearly the entire set. There were some way-cool pyro effects during "One" (when the pillars of fire blasted off in the center of the stage we could actually feel the heat they were putting out!) and the lasers returned during the midsection of "Master of Puppets," giving things a "Laser Floyd" feel for a few moments. :lol: As I'd hoped, nothing from the LOAD/RE-LOAD/ST. ANGER era was given an airing... personally I think most of the stuff from those albums would've sounded out of place in this set list, as DEATH MAGNETIC is more of a throwback to their vintage JUSTICE/Black Album era vibe, so the new stuff complemented the classic tracks better than songs like, say, "Fuel" or "The Memory Remains" would've.


The final song was "Seek & Destroy," which was fun because James asked them to put up the house lights so he could see all of us in the audience. When the lights went up and they kicked into the song, hundreds of HUGE black beach balls with the Metallica logo on them dropped out of the rafters into the crowd, which got bounced back and forth around the arena for the entire tune. Most of them ended up back on the stage, but it was quite a funny sight on our way out of the arena, passing a couple of guys who'd grabbed a beach ball and were desperately trying to squeeze the air out of it so they could take it home with them :rofl:


All in all, I had a blast, and I'd have to say that this show and the MAGNETIC album have done a lot to repair my faith in Metallica. I may never again be as fanatical about them as I was in my high school days but it was great to see them last night, kicking massive amounts of ass and having fun doing it. Anybody who's trying to decide whether or not this tour is worth the ticket -- it is!


Set List:

Intro (The Ectasy of Gold)

That Was Just Your Life

End of the Line

Ride the Lightning

For Whom the Bell Tolls


Broken, Beat and Scarred


Sad But True

And Justice For All

All Nightmare Long

Kirk Hammett- solo

The Day That Never Comes

Master of Puppets


Nothing Else Matters

Enter Sandman




Hit The Lights

Seek and Destroy


Here's a few crappy pix I took with my cell phone camera:


Looky Maw, kewl lazers-n-stuff!







This one was taken during "Seek & Destroy" -- note all the beach balls.

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You STILL suck though for seeing em for FREE though..... :rofl2:


Hmmm, jealous much? :whistle:

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Sounds like a great show. But I hate that "In The Round" stage setup.


It was actually pretty cool. They had microphones set up on all four corners (and also in the middle on each of the "long" sides of the rectangle) so the guys could run around and James could get "face time" with all segments of the audience without missing any of the vocals.


Of course, I was only seven rows back... I imagine the peeps up in the cheap seats probably couldn't see much of anything either way. :lol:

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By the way, if anybody's interested, those black Metallica beach balls they used in the show are turning up on eBay, unsurprisingly... though why you'd want to pay $60 for one (!) is beyond me :blink:



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