For a significant contingent of metal fans, Metallica is the monolith of the musical genre. The band played two concerts to mark this milestone at the Chase Center in San Francisco last December to a sell-out crowd of die-hard, fan-club-only fans.
Rather than playing identical sets on two consecutive nights, the band decided to run through their playlist in chronological order, starting with Hit the Lights, Creeping Death and Trapped Under Ice on the first night, and ending with Spit Out the Bone, while night two kicked off older songs from their catalog, and ran in reverse order to their newer tracks. Hardwire, The End of the Line, and Dirty Window was first off the bat at the second gig, which ended triumphantly with the majestic thrash trifecta of Fade to Black, Whiplash, and Seek and Destroy.
Both nights were streamed live in their entirety via Amazon Prime Video. Metallica’s music is iconic, and they have more than a few timeless thrash anthems under their belts. For those filmmakers wanting to include similar music in their creations, have a look at this link for a range of royalty-free music that could optimize your production and infuse it with the atmosphere you’re looking for.
Band members James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Rob Trujillo played to a crowd of nearly twenty-thousand people on each of their two-night anniversary gigs and threw plenty of surprise tracks and rarities into their setlists that sat alongside their impressively comprehensive list of back-catalog anthems. For example, Fixxxer was played live for the very first time on the first night, while the second of the gigs featured tracks that hadn’t been included on a live Metallica set-list in a decade, generating delight among the suitably awestruck fans in attendance.
For those that were lucky enough to obtain tickets for either of the anniversary concerts, these gigs were experiences like no other. Spanning the band’s long career, reviews by those who managed to bag seats consistently cited the enthusiasm and passion with which the band delivered every single track - Metallica still clearly love what they do, and this shone through in their pair of sets. Reviewers noted the expert way in which the band slowly ratcheted up the intensity during both gigs, whipping fans into a frenzy before their final spectacular tracks of the night.
The concerts formed part of the wider Metallica San Francisco Takeover, which was a four-day series of events that took place across the city designed to celebrate the band’s fortieth anniversary. The events included a film festival, photo exhibition, and a number of curated gigs that featured other artists.
Metallica was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, and the majority of the band’s career has been spent in The Bay area of San Francisco - hence the location of the anniversary gigs. Metallica is widely regarded as one of the founding four bands of the thrash sub-genre of heavy metal (alongside Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth); the 1986 album, Master of Puppets, saw the foursome catapulted to commercial success, which is still cited as one of the most influential thrash albums of all time.
The release of the band’s self-titled fifth album saw them achieve their biggest mainstream success to date and has sold over sixteen million copies in the US alone - and counting. This album saw the band move towards a sound that wasn’t purely focused on thrash and marked the beginning of a period in which Metallica experimented with different genres and sounds. The Death Magnetic album of 2008, however, saw the band return to its thrash roots and drew levels of critical acclaim not seen since their earlier recordings.
Metallica has released ten studio albums to date, along with four live albums, a covers album, five EPs, thirty-seven singles and thirty-nine music videos. The band has been nominated for twenty-three Grammys and has won nine; they are viewed as one of the most commercially successful bands in the world, ever.
After forty spectacularly successful years, Metallica is looking forward to its next forty! The band is currently undertaking an international tour, with its next sets due to be held in Las Vegas in February. Following this, the foursome will travel to South America to play multiple dates in Chile, Argentina, and Brazil to thousands of lucky fans.
Metallica will also be headlining at the Bottleneck Festival in California, a venue local to them; other acts playing at the three-day event include Guns n Roses, Foo Fighters, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. In terms of a new album, although the band hasn’t confirmed any details as yet, a release is anticipated by fans to drop either next year or at some point in 2024.
Whenever the new album comes - if it does at all - the concerts in December to mark Metallica’s fortieth year, and the current tour, proves that the band remains the biggest metal outfit that the world has ever seen.