Metallica @ SECC 26-03-09

April 2, 2009

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Metallica/Machine Head/The Sword
SECC, Glasgow

Fittingly it’s a dark stormy night in Glasgow as the Metallica machine rolls into town for the penultimate date of their first UK tour in twelve years. Back where they belong at the forefront of all things heavy, their No 1 album Death Magnetic has reinvigorated the Metallica brand, creating a new generation of fans who’ve yet to experience this particular monster live. Not surprisingly tickets for tonight’s show sold out in record time.
But before the San Francisco legends arrive there’s the small matter of tonight’s supports – relative new comers The Sword and veterans Machine Head.
First up it’s retro metallers The Sword who bound around the stage with intent, striking well-worn poses. But before you can really judge the Austin five-piece, a sound best described as abominable turns their big riffing assaults into indecipherable walls of noise. It’s a repetitive performance that fizzles rather than dazzles.
Machine Head follow in an angry blur that provokes fists in the air from the faithful and yawns from those saving themselves for the real thing.
Finally the moment arrives, the lights drop. A sense of anticipation builds, fuelled by the euphoric strains of that intro blasting out from the curved stacks towering above us. A barrage of laser fired from coffin-shaped lighting rigs heralds the start of ‘That Was Just Your Life’ and we’re off, we never look back.
Playing in the round, complete with rotating drum riser, proves a stroke of genius as tonight Metallica do the impossible and turn an arena show into something approaching an intimate affair.
On the colossal ‘One’, bursts of pyrotechnics slap you in the face en route to its blistering conclusion, while ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ and ‘Master of Puppets’ bring the crowd to near fever pitch. It falls to ‘Enter Sandman’ to push them over the edge, the song’s potency fully intact eighteen years on.
By the end shouts of “Metallica loves Glasgow” ring out from the stage as the four take their well-earned applause but it’s Lars’ final thought that brings the biggest cheer of the night “next time we won’t wait 5 years to come back to Glasgow”. A hope no doubt shared by a buzzing crowd.


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