'tallica boys complete the Big4
This is it! Every single soul in front of the Apollo Stage knows they are witnessing history today. This is one of these gigs you will be telling your grandchildren about. "Yes, I was there when the Big 4 played together on one stage, for the first time in metal history."
Except for the bassist, RIP Cliff, Metallica still represents the original band that transformed Bay Area Thrash Metal into an international phenomenon. We can obviously not ignore the band's split from Dave Mustaine, but without that happening back in the day, today would not have been such a big issue. Cliff Burton would be gazing down from wherever he is with an immense feeling of pride.
After a typically theatrical and lengthy intro video, the mighty Metallica takes to the stage with an enormous roar from the crowd that probably stretches all the way back to the Saturn Stage.
There is no doubt that Metallica is larger than life, and they know it. Opening with 'Hit the Lights' they take to Slayer's challenge to pump out the heaviest thrash show today. Blasting through earlier tracks such as 'Master of Puppets', 'Shortest Straw', 'Welcome Home (Sanitarium)' and 'Ride the Lightning'; as always, it is 'Seek & Destroy' that gets the crowd moving. It is kind of sad that Mustaine could not join the band for this, but I guess it is absolutely crazy to even suggest this.
Whilst Metallica is clearly one of the biggest bands on this planet, they were probably not on top-form tonight. No expense is spared with flame blasts warming up the fans closer to the stage, and spectacular fireworks for those a little further away, Metallica pulled out all the stops. You would expect a loud, raw thrash show, after Slayer absolutely ripped Knebworth a new hole, but Metallica was more theatrical, almost in a stadium rock like fashion. Blasting through classic thrash tracks, does not distract from this. Gone are the days that pimply teenagers listen to them in the confines of their bedrooms, today Metallica is massive and uber cool.
After a brief visit to the "Reload" and "Death Magnetic" albums, the rest of the show solely consists of tracks from "Kill 'em All", Ride the Lightening", "Master of Puppets", "...and Justice for All" and the "Black" album. "Load" and "St Anger" are completely ignored by the band and fans alike, as if it never happened.
The ultimate and obviously expected encore of 'Am I Evil', with the stage filled to the rafters with the rest of the Big4, is a tremendous conclusion to the biggest event of the year. Witnessing Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax and Metallica on the same stage was unforgettable, but the cherry on top was the inclusion of Brian Tatler on stage and Kirk commenting that if Brian didn't write this track, none of us would probably be here tonight. The vocals are shared by Kirk, Mustaine and Joey Belladonna; and bring goosebumps to the toughest metalhead here tonight.
There was no way that Knebworth was going to let Metallica go without further encores, so the evening is neatly wrapped up with 'Battery' and 'Creeping Death', finishing bang on 11pm. Even though the last two and a half hours was not enough for the crowd, the boys must pack it up.
A great, great day in the history of metal comes to an end.