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Metallica - Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam – 11/06/2019

June 11th, 2019, saw the mighty Metallica roll into Amsterdam for a second helping from their Worldwired tour. Some fifty thousand or so fans showed up... very surprising given the ticket prices. We decided not to spend upwards of 2000 euros on a meet and greet (they used to meet fans for free), instead shelling out a mere 140 euros for a standing spot in the Golden Circle.

 

 

We missed support acts Bokassa and Ghost. Pure laziness on our parts, I’m afraid... the sun was shining and the beer tasted too good... but we did manage to drag our beer-addled, snack-ridden, sloth-like selves into the stadium just before Metallica were due to start... even stopping at the primark-sized merch stand on route. Luckily they started more than half an hour late. A blessing in disguise, it was, as it took about as long to find the almost perfectly concealed entrance to the Golden Circle and then trudge down the narrow alleyway which ran along the entire length of the football pitch before opening up to a security cordon where we had to show our cute, little black wristbands before being granted access.

 

Cue The Ecstasy of Gold, always the very best of gig-intros and heavily featured, recently, in the documentary “Sad Hill Unearthed” in which Mr Hetfield also appears, singing it’s praises... rightly so. It always gives me goosebumps. Ennio Morricone’s masterpiece is followed by the grumbling, rumbling intro to Hardwired... and then boom, the boys are on stage bashing out the opening riffs to a big roar of approval from the gathered crowd.

 

Unfortunately though the sound was utter and total crap where we were standing, so we gritted our teeth, pumped our fists and reminded ourselves of the old days when this greatest of bands used to thrash it up in oversized cowsheds and ice rinks. The Arena is not an improvement but it smelled better. Metal! Nothing phases us old school metal heads anymore anyway, nothing that is except needing a piss halfway through the second song, The Memory Remains, and realising that you have to reverse-hike the long march back to the battery of dixies housed back at the entrance to the arena. Luckily my bladder isn’t quite geriatric and the Golden Circle remained a metaphorical rather than a literal naming. Oh for the old days when we just used to piss in a pint cup.

 

 

While I was lightening the pain in my bladder the band kicked into the much loved, brain-frying Ride The Lightning... always a classic. I marched back to the tones of The God That Failed, stopping halfway to cool my face in a blast of air belching forth from somewhere in the stadium’s underbelly... and this is where the set got boring... The Unforgiven, Here Comes Revenge, Moth Into Flame, Sad But True, No Leaf Clover.... yawn... and the grand finale St Anger. God I hate that song. For a band that has released arguably four of the greatest metal albums of all time and certainly THE greatest metal album of all time (Puppets, obviously) they somehow don’t seem to want to give us the classics... after much grumbling, moaning and ranting about their setlist choices, halfway through the show, we were rewarded for our long wait. In quick succession we get One, Puppets, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Creeping Death and Seek and Destroy. This is what Metallica are about! When you strip away the corporation, the marketing, the glitz, the huge video screens, the pyro, Lars’ bullshit and the legions of hipster fans you are actually left with a band that really has written some absolute metal anthems and that delivers them live, flawlessly and with uber balls.,These songs are the shit and this is what made Metallica and that is why we love them... perhaps less than we used to (25 years of shit releases will do that to a fan!), but we do still love our boys and we love them even more when they give us the old tunes. Bang that head that doesn’t bang!

 

The gig rolls to an end with Nothing Else Matters and Enter Taxman and I have deliberately neglected to mention a stupid detour to an André Hazes song... wtf! You are Metallica, the greatest of all metal bands, not a fat, sweaty crooner from a trailer park! Not funny! Rob Trujillo does however deserve an honourable mention for singing a song in Dutch, kudos!

 

 

As we walk out of the stadium I am left feeling unfulfilled... From Puppets, Kill and Justice they played a total of one song each... No Disposable Heroes, Sanitarium, Whiplash, Battery or Hit The Lights. They played three songs from Ride yet no Fade To Black or Trapped Under Ice. Most songs are from the most recent release (understandably) and the Black album, hmph! A five song reminder of the album that propelled them out of the metal world, our world, and into the realm of popular music and stadia (not our world). Not good enough, Metallica, and at 7,77 euros per song this wasn’t a good night for unit cost. They should at least have aimed for 6,66! I’d like to see the Metallicatz do a 4000 date, 10 year, club show tour to finish off their mammoth career... but the chance of that happening is as small as Ulrich’s white, Nike hightops. We head for the train station, one of our posse remarking that he hopes that the Brussels gig is better. (AJ)