Metallica + Kvelertak @ Genting Arena, Birmingham, UK – 30 October 2017

Posted by Gig Junkies on Monday Oct 30, 2017 Under Metal, Thrash

Review by Zyllah Moranne-Brown with photography by Bianca Barrett

Tonight the family gathers at the Genting Arena; youngsters and old, metal heads and music fans, people who have seen these guys multiple times and those for whom this is the first experience. Thirty six years since formation and eight since they graced this particular venue – welcome to one of the biggest bands in the world – hold on to your horses – Metallica are in town.

Metallica

Tonight’s gig is, unsurprisingly, nigh on a complete sell out. A few punters choose to check out support for tonight, heavy metallers Kvelertak;  (pronounced Kuh-vell-er-tack) a band from Norway that plays rock music. A great opportunity but not the easiest for them, as everyone is here for the main guys.

Metallica

I first ‘saw’ Metallica at Monsters of Rock. When I saw saw them, I was a teenager, my mate a massive Jovi fan who’d dragged me along to Donnington Park.  I vaguely remember sitting on the motor circuit track, chilly and damp (although glorious sunshine the day before, thunderstorms and subsequent mud pies came out to play that day), as early afternoon some long-haired blokes dressed in black took to stage and played loud trash metal. That was (scarily) thirty years ago and Metallica subsequently took on and now rule the world. To put in context – they are one of THE biggest bands in the world, over 120 million record sales (so far). Not bad for a bunch of thrash metalheads.

Metallica

Tonight is their first time back to the Genting Arena (subsequently renamed from the LG Arena) since 25 March 2009, as part of their WorldWired Tour; in support of their latest outing since ‘Death Magnetic’ in 2008; ‘Hardwired… To Self-Destruct’, which has critics claiming it’s the best thing they’ve done since The Black album…

Metallica

James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Rob Trujillo  are running a tad late to their scheduled gig start time, but no matter – the fans are up for it and as and they clap and sing along to  AC/DC’s  ‘Long Way To The Top’  as it blasts form the speakers. As the song ends, lights drop and to a huge cheer, accompanied by ‘The Ecstacy of Gold’ Morricone’s music from classic spaghetti Western ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’, the band members run up an isle to take them to the stage in the centre of the arena. This is an ‘intimate’ gig with Metallica, as up close and personal as you can get.  And here we go  ‘Hardwired’ and ‘Atlas, Rise!’ take us on our metal journey, a mass of digital cubes dangling from the ceiling, starting off as monitors then clearly massive digital blocks which rise and fall.

Metallica

“How we feeling already Birmingham? Waiting so long for your friends Metallica to be here… Metallica is pleased to be here…” the friendly Hetfield welcomes us all. ‘Seek and Destroy’ the impish and massively energetic Ulrich brings out his true thundergod; ‘Welcome Home (Sanitarium)’ there appears to be people in those digital boxes suspended from the ceiling, trying to break free. The punters around me are well happy “It’s f***ing Metallica” says one seemingly astounded to be in their presence, to a friend.

Metallica

Hetfield tells us they are really proud of their new outing, it’s been a while. “First you must die…” snears Hetfield. ‘Now That We’re Dead’ sees digital cubes holding drums rising from the stage floor, and a slightly bizarre take as all the band members play drums. Fans around me are still transfixed: “Holy shit…” The charismatic and skilled exponent of stage craft and of holding an audience in the palm of his hands, Hetfield: ” We apologise if it’s a little to heavy for you…”

Metallica

‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ – a firm fan favourite and hey, they’re in metal heaven. A quick break from Ulrich and Hetfield, as Hammett and Trujillo  do a take on local lads Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’. “Oh Lord yeah!” Metallica do have a local link. Ulrich post-potential tennis star and pre-metal thundergod, came across Black Country metalheads Diamondhead.  A core inspiration for the band that went on to become Metallica, tonight they play Diamondhead cover ‘Am I Evil?’

Metallica

Hetfield chants: “Gimme fuel, gimme fire, gimme that which I desire….” and flames rise, quite literally.’ Moth To The Flame’, dedicated to Amy Winehouse, and another bizarre stage antic as little glowing moths fly above the bands heads. Hetfield chats to the fans; no dress code for a Metallica show; show up and have a good time. One fan tonight claimed to have seen Metallica 140 times, which receives a round of applause and Ulrich ‘feeding’ him some water……

Metallica

And now – BOOM! the anthems ‘Sad But True.’ Then the screens show footage from the 1971 anti-war film ‘Johnny Got His Gun’ – we know what’s coming. The epic ‘One.’  Halfway through the song and about to go into full thrash metal flow a major tech problem, the sound has gone. The band confused, a quick break, and someone plugs the appropriate plug back in again, and BOOM the band continue where they left off, mid-song.  Then to ‘Master of Puppets.’

Metallica

Encore, of course, and stuff the curfew, newbie ‘Spit Out The Bone’ before the epic ‘Nothing Else Matters’ and ‘Enter Sandman’.

Metallica

So. Metallica. They NEVER fail to disappoint, they are truly epic live. Last time at this venue I was one of the punters that stood 10 foot away from the stage. And the ticket – circa £30. I admired them for that, given gig ticket prices were already rising stratospherically. Tonight’s tickets are 3 times as much so mixed feelings, cos hell they can command and more that ticket prices.  Of course the old songs and fan favourites are the best; and personally I’d do less of the digital gizmos, because they just don’t need it. Metallica remain a force of nature, a tight band of musical brothers, a force to be reckoned with and truly unmissable…

Metallica

See the full Metallica photoset on our Flickr Page.


Setlist:
Hardwired
Atlas, Rise!
Seek and Destroy
The Shortest  Straw
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Now That We’re Dead
Dream No More
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Halo On Fire
Am I Evil?
Fuel
Moth Into Flame
Sad But True
One
Master of Puppets

Encore:
Spit Out The Bone
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman

Listening:
Master of Puppets [1986]
…. And Justice For All [1988]
Metallica (aka The Black album) [1991]

One Response to “Metallica + Kvelertak @ Genting Arena, Birmingham, UK – 30 October 2017”

  1. Gig Junkies » Blog Archive » Metallica ‘WorldWired’ Tour Smashes UK Attendance Records Says:

    […] Check out Gig Junkies review of Metallica at Birmingham Arena! […]

Leave a Reply