Minneapolis, August 20, 2016. The city veins flowed with black and hardcore “don’t fuck with me attitude”, as 50,000 people funneled into the $1Billion U.S. Bank stadium sparkling in the setting sun after a long day of rain.
Evangelists lined a street corner, preaching warnings of the devil music we were about to absorb over a megaphone, claiming we are not Christian and offering brochures on how to be like Jesus.
The crowd was as I expected, tatted-up sleeves muscling patched leather vests with faded VIP concert stickers from the 80’s proudly displayed, and of course plenty of shlonc (short in front & long in back); some of the best people-watching in all my life. With a much anticipated entrance into the grandiose stadium, I was directed below ground to my seat and waited on nightfall for Metallica to begin.
The stadium is so freaking loud. Marcy, the usher was kind enough to share her earplugs with me (still in the package) and I googled a well-rated audiologist during the opening bands - no joke. When Metallica started, I risked the hearing loss.
Opening with “Creeping Death” followed by “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, they were on early target to blow the glass roof off this new construction.
The show, as Dallas-native Mark Hiduke best stated, “Melted my face off”. Pretty sure there’s plenty of face to green up the grass for Vikes cleats this season. I have to say I was a bit disappointed with the GA crowd. I wanted heads banging, thrasher body-surfs, and scary-ass mosh pits. I envisioned super-hardcore; the floor erupting into this disastrous chasm creating a sweat & blood heat inversion. Instead, everyone’s face melted off. I mean it was intense to see people wide-eyed, actively analyzing the performance wondering how the fuck these guys have been at it so long and still sound unbelievable. Perhaps James Hetfield’s dissertation resolved preconceived notions to the space-time continuum during his CalTech tenure, earning his Ph.D. in Astrophysics. He sure as hell mastered the art of blowing minds, seems feasible his ability to reverse time.
But going back in time would almost be an insult to these guys - they actually got better with time. The band formed the year I was born. I saw them for the first time when I was 16 at Marcus Amphitheater in Milwaukee. These guys did more than deliver Saturday night; Metallica ambushed us. We didn’t even see it coming. Our melted faces revealed our metalheads.
An aggression driven sinsichium of heavy electric & bass guitar and drummer-rips shaming any Venice beach muscle show, chaotically echoed within the steel vessel that is US Bank stadium, producing a massive sound that destroyed us all. We will never understand this band’s power.
The stage set was ridiculously awesome; huge electric backdrops flashing vivid imagery with each Metallica masterpiece, and lasers lots and lots of lasers for “One”.
The show was like pulling 10 g in a Learjet 60 upon take-off; That feeling you get just before unconsciousness. It was the momentum needed to get that Viking ship rocking.
I know its not Chicago; dammit I love Chicago, but Minneapolis TO ME is Chicago’s sister city - kinda like Houston is to Dallas, albeit different states. Minneapolis is cool, in a very unassuming way; I uncover hidden treasures every time I visit. I just happened to be lucky enough to catch the best show of the decade this last visit. With concert venues like First Avenue and 7th Street Entry (locally known as The Mainroom and The Entry), an influential nightclub made famous by Prince’s 1984 film "Purple Rain", one can’t help but find the city cool, very cool….freezing in the winter in fact. There was a dirty rumor in the stadium that Metallica was going to play a Prince song for the legend who resided just outside the city in Chanhassen. Unfortunately, that highly anticipated moment never happened for me. I was trying to imagine the song…I’m sure it would have been awesome. Maybe I’ll get lucky and Metallica will make a YouTube video of this fantasy song, kinda like the re-do verse they performed at the end of “Leper Messiah” because James forgot to sing lyrics during the heavily amplified machismo rock session we all apparently got lost in.
Metallica’s performance at the most expensive new venue was one of limited shows they played all year. They’ve been busy hammering out their newest album, "Hardwired to Self-Destruct", available November 18, 2016 according to their website.
Without reservation, the first encore song was their Live debut of “Hardwired”. I mean, shit. The Evangelists were right, Metallica was there to deface us. We’re so fucked.
Clearly there is no need for a button; this article will self-destruct in 5, 4, 3, 2. … .. .
"For Whom the Bell Tolls"
"The Memory Remains"
"Leper Messiah" (followed by Kirk’s guitar)
"Welcome Home (Sanitarium)"
"Sad But True"
"Wherever I May Roam"
"Master of Puppets"
"Battery" (followed by Kirk’s second guitar solo)
"Fade to Black"
"Seek & Destroy"
"Hardwired" (Live debut)
"Whiskey in the Jar"
"Nothing Else Matters"
"Enter Sandman" (followed by “The Frayed Ends of Sanity” jam outro)