SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Every person has fantasies. “If a genie granted you 3 wishes, what would you wish for?” Here’s my top 3: Win the lottery, world peace, and have my own personal full-scale Metallica concert. Impossible, right? Well, I came as close as it could possibly get! A select few of us MetClubbers won the privilege of attending the private rehearsal for the upcoming World Magnetic tour at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, the band’s hometown. A was a little skeptical at first, I’ve attended soundchecks before. But as we entered the arena we could tell this was going to be big. The in-the-round stage was set up just like it would be for a regular concert. Above the stage were humungous metal coffins with the lights mounted on them. We were in for a once-in-a-lifetime ride.
After about 3 hours of mingling with other extremely lucky Metallifans, the loudspeakers blasted AC/DC’s “It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock n’ Roll).” Then the lights went out, the fog machines kick on, and the traditional Ecstasy of Gold blazed from the speakers. I honestly cannot remember the last time I felt that much adrenaline pumping through my veins! Then it was time for the magic to happen.
James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo, otherwise known as Metallica, took stage and the very small crowd went wild! We felt like we were on top of the world! They opened with the first two tracks of their new highly-praised album Death Magnetic, “That Was Just Your Life” and “End Of The Line.” Accompanying the music were a barrage of lasers, which they normally don’t use as part of their stage show. Next up was “Harvester of Sorrow,” which lead into “Wherever I Roam.”
Following a few seconds of silence, the war-effects of “One“ started up. After that number, which hits our country’s heart more than ever before (for obvious reasons), the band returned to two new songs, “Broken, Beat, and Scarred” and “Cyanide.” The album has only been in our hands for a month, but that didn’t matter. Those songs seem to written like they were made to be played live, and we were there to witness that this is true.
Next up was “Frantic” but something seemed off. About halfway through the song the band stopped playing. This was a ‘rehearsal’ so they were allowed to do that, but the band huddled together for a couple minutes, and Trujillo returned to a microphone and announced they were having difficulties, and that Kirk’s guitar was playing Chinese. Kirk jumped in on the fun by telling him not to give his guitar tech a hard time. Everyone loved the jovial interaction we were a part of. After some minor adjustments were made, the band members returned to their positions and treated us to “Until It Sleeps.” During the songs the giant coffins were lowered closer to the stage. As they were swinging around, James seemed somewhat distracted. They were within about a foot of his head, after all! Papa Het commented, “I was a little worried. I got killed by a coffin. How ironic.”
After they had worked out a couple inevitable kinks, Metallica raced into “Four Horsemen.” Following that came “The Day That Never Comes,” which is the first single from Death Magnetic. Without hesitation, the band blasted the familiar opening chords to “Master Of Puppets,” and we loved every second of it! “Fight Fire with Fire” was next on the setlist, which I enjoyed hearing for the first time live. Then closing out the main set were radio staples “Nothing Else Matters” and “Enter Sandman.”
The band quickly exit the stage, but they were gone for only about a minute. Ahhh, the benefits of a private show! When they returned, James expressed their appreciation for us being there, then quickly blurted out, “I’ve got something to say…” which is the opening line to “Last Caress,” followed by Garage Inc.’s companion “Blitzkrieg.” Topping off the setlist was crowd favorite “Seek and Destroy,” which the band has been using as a closer for the past four years. Why change something if it works perfectly?
After the 2 hour 10 minute performance, the immortalized metal gods left the arena. The realization that we were part of something better than good started to set in. MetClub is generous to its members, and so are the band members themselves. So to those who already have tickets to the upcoming tour, you will not be disappointed!