I had been dreaming of this since I was eight years old, and now, 13 years later, my dream was coming true, I was seeing arguably the greatest metal band in the world: Metallica. Since 1981, Metallica has written some of the most widely known songs across the world such as, “Enter Sandman,” “Master of Puppets” and often considered their most meaningful song, “One.”
Now, 42 years later, they are still at it, touring the world, releasing new albums and never compromising their music for fame. The concert was set to be a two-day event: the first show Friday, Sept. 1, 2023 and the second Sunday, Sept 3, 2023, with no repeated songs the entire weekend.
Their latest release is titled “72 Seasons,” and features an incredible display of talent. From the first track, also named “72 Seasons” to “You Must Burn!” and “Lux Ætera,” this album encapsulates all of the “seasons” that Metallica has been through together. The M72 World Tour was to promote their 11th studio album while showcasing some of the most popular songs they have ever written.
“Arizonaaa!” shouted lead vocalist James Hetfield as the crowd roared with anticipation of what they were going to start with. Hetfield began shredding “Creeping Death” from their 1984 album “Ride the Lighting,” which set the tone for the entire night. I was standing there in shock that I was actually seeing Metallica perform live, and it was already better than I could have imagined. Hearing the voice of Hetfield only sounded better in person, and it only seems to fit their playing style more as he gets older.
Next came songs from all over their index of music, like “Seek and Destroy,” “Nothing Else Matters,” “Hardwired” and “If Darkness Had a Son,” which span from their very first album “Kill ‘em All” to their most recent release of “72 Seasons.” There’s just something indescribable about hearing them play songs they wrote 40 years ago versus songs they wrote earlier this year. Their consistency over the last four decades just shows that they have kept their loyalty and integrity with each other since the beginning.
Seeing “Nothing Else Matters” live was one of the most beautiful things I had ever heard. Hetfield wrote this song about his late mother and missing his girlfriend while on the road. The plucking of the guitar strings paired with the softness of Hetfield’s harsh metal voice showcased the range that they have as a band. Not only can they play fast while keeping in sync with each other, they can play slow and tug on the emotions of the audience.
Although it was a mind blowing night, the best was yet to come. Leaving the arena, I remember talking to my dad about the songs they had to play on Sunday night, because Friday was just a warm up.
During the one day break between shows, that Saturday, I made a playlist to prepare for the following night, until I got a notification that James Hetfield had come down with COVID-19, postponing the second show to Saturday, Sept. 9. This was heartbreaking, considering the fact that I took time off work and school to fly to Arizona for the shows that weekend.
I bought another plane ticket for the Saturday of the newly scheduled show. I’d land just before noon, get ready, head to the concert and fly back Sunday morning; there was no way I was missing that show. As frustrating as it was, it gave me another week to study up on what songs they would be playing, and the anticipation only grew.
It would be an understatement to say the second show was worth the extra travel. The second show was without a doubt the best concert I have ever witnessed.
Night two featured classics such as “For Whom The Bell Tolls” and “The Call of Ktulu,” which were two more mind blowing masterpieces that can be found on their “Ride the Lighting” album.
“The Call of Ktulu” is a nine and a half minute instrumental that seems impossible to play. It’s one thing to listen to their music on your phone, but to see lead guitarist Kirk Hammet actually playing those notes live was unreal.
“For Whom The Bell Tolls” features incredible drums by Lars Urlich and dynamic bass playing by Robert Trujillo. Every once in a while I would see Hetfield gaze into the crowd, and it was obvious that he was taking in what they had built over the last 42 years.
Next came “One,” which is one of many anti-war songs, and one of the most known songs Metallica has released. It starts with slow guitar notes and soft vocals, but picks up quickly to tell the story about a soldier who was injured in combat. I highly encourage you to give it a listen.
Finally, to end the night the best way possible, they played “Master of Puppets” followed by “Enter Sandman,” which were the two most anticipated songs of the entire event. “Master of Puppets” shows off their insane guitar skills while “Enter Sandman” displays Urlich’s ability on the drum kit. Both songs lit up the entire arena; the rip of the guitar, the crash of the drums, along with every voice singing together was incredible. It was absolutely a childhood dream come true.