Great performance but maybe not the right crowd?
The titans of metal are back! It's dark and the crowd is massive, there's an awful lot of people here. A good sign for sure but how will Metallica measure up? Is this the right crowd for them?
They end up only being 15 minutes late, which is pretty good for them given their previous track record. Opening with 'Creeping Death' the assault on your senses is immense! A massive screen is erected behind the main stage, showing the band in full attack mode and the sound is typical Metallica - loud and well played. Night turns into day as the band move into 'Fuel' with a huge set of flame-throwers firing away either side of the stage. The chanting is building and the crowd are beginning to warm, literally! The vocals feel a little strained at times but this is just nitpicking, Metallica are the ultimate in seasoned veterans and in all likelihood they will never play a bad show.
Robert Trujillo is certainly having a lot of fun although I wish he would stop looking so pained. He constantly has what can only be described as a 'pre-ejaculation expression'! 'Ride the Lightning' and 'Harvester of Sorrow' sound as good as ever before Mr Hammett throws in a couple of short solos here and there in the lead up to 'Sanitarium'. This is one of the only down points of the set with the vocals sounding unusually weak.
We are treated to new song 'Cyanide', which I'm pleased to say is bass heavy and strong sounding and it suits the band quite well, I get a feeling of maturity from this track. The crowd have been somewhat subdued up to this point but after 'No Remorse' and 'and Justice for all' fill in the gaps for 'Master of Puppets' the crowd really gets moving.
Finally 'Nothing else Matters' comes along and frankly I'm disappointed as they seemed to rush it. It just didn't feel as warm and powerful as it should, plus as I look around there's no sea of lights, in fact, I feel out of place with my lighter. Not letting me down totally however, the lack of lighters are made up for by the barrage of fireworks for 'Sad but True', with even more for 'One' before the crowd finally get moving like you'd expect for 'Enter Sandman'.
The encore consists of a Misfits Cover and the Anti Nowhere League's 'So What', which sound a little too happy and dare I say it, poppy for Metallica. Some of the crowd actually left after 'Enter Sandman', which suggests this isn't the right crowd for Metallica as any self respecting fan knows that 'Seek and Destroy' needs to be played and played it is! A great finish to the set.
You can't make a show on good music alone, you need the presence and the stage but you also need the crowd and this is what feeds back to the band. Leeds didn't have the crowd I feel and I think the band might have known it. It wasn't a special performance in the way that Download 2006 was. Don't get me wrong, the gig was immense but by Metallica standards it wasn't their best.