Metallica w/ Avenged Sevenfold and Gojira
BC Place, Vancouver
August 14, 2017
Review by Amanda Waschuk photos by Jacob Zinn
Metallica fans flocked in swarms arriving as early as 1pm to BC Place, the biggest concert venue in Vancouver, for their chance to see the metal band for the second last show of their WorldWired 2017 tour supporting their latest album Hardwired.
Hardcore fans willing to shell out some extra cash could purchase the “Whiplash Experience” that allowed early entry and access to merchandise as well as a “Metallica Museum” filled with memorabilia including Lars’ pilgrim hat inspired by Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple. These lucky fans also had the opportunity to play some of the boys’ instruments. Guitarist Kirk Hammett is a known horror movie fanatic, covering his guitars with classic monster designs such as the vintage Dracula guitar that you could hold and take pictures with. He even went as far as to have himself turned into a sort of zombie/vampire wax figure that manned the fake merchandise booth around the corner from the buffet. Later, during the show he donned a guitar with the Karloff Mummy image from a movie filmed in 1932.
My first thought when seeing opening band Gojira for the first time was whether or not it’s possible to give yourself a concussion from headbanging that hard. It was only 6pm but members of the crowd were mirroring this heavy hair whipping partly due to their love of metal and partly due to the partying they had already clearly been doing pre show… There was even a girl up on her man’s shoulders a few people back from the front throughout this set.
Avenged Sevenfold got the crowd warmed up for Metallica quite literally. Their flames and pyrotechnics were very prominent and extra hot with one crowd member telling me the last time they saw the band in Prince George everyone in the front row legitimately had part of their eyebrows singed off. Unfortunately for this show, you don’t get the entire Avenged Sevenfold experience which includes more theatrics and they even worked with the producers of Cirque du Soleil for their latest stage production. But the rollercoaster tempo of the bands music still incited clouds of pot smoke, half full drinks flying in the air, and one gentleman with a wheel chair to crowd surf to the front (separate from his chair) twice!
Being in BC Place meant the sunlight from outside seeped through the multimillion retractible roof and still kept the venue really bright. Thankfully by the time Metallica hit the stage, the sun had just set and the proper atmosphere took over the stadium. As per usual, the classic western film “The Good the Bad and the Ugly” played on the screens as the intro to the show before Kirk, Lars, James, and Robert burst out playing “Hardwired” and “Atlas Rise” the first two songs from their newest album.
While speaking to the audience, James got very political stating we all come from the same place and it shouldn’t matter who you marry or what colour your skin is. These seemed to be a reference to the white supremacy issues that happened in Charlottesville on the weekend and clearly Metallica stands on the right side of the issue.
“The Unforgiven” started with James playing two guitars (almost at the same time) and ended with the crowd being completely enraptured by a giant flame that danced back and forth across the stage for the song’s entirety. This meant the band exiting the main stage area and saying hi to the fans in the back by walking around the snake pit on their big runway extension.
Massive hit “Wherever I May Roam” was a couple songs later and then “Halo on Fire” which was followed by a guitar solo from Kirk Hammett who shreds so hard he has to wrap tape around his picking hand so it doesn’t split wide open and bleed all over his guitar. And then a bass solo by Robert Trujillo while video played as an ode to Clifford Lee Burton the original recording bassist who died in a bus accident while on tour in 1986.
When asking the crowd how many first timers there were, it garnered a significant amount of cheers showing Metallica still has a growing fan base. James then stated “welcome to the family, thanks for showing up!” and pointed out to a ten year old girl, giving her props for spelling Metallica right on her sign.
There were a lot of recycled visuals from other tours and not nearly as many props as the last time they were in town for The Full Arsenal Tour. Although during that tour was when they recorded footage for their movie “Metallica: Through the Never” and even shot all the outtakes in our beautiful city with fans paying only $5 for their tickets (and all that money being donated to charity).
For the song “One”, it felt like you were in a war. Intense lights and loud gunshots made for a sensory overload that suited the song and it’s theme like lasers of modern warfare. “Master of Puppets” was next with background visuals lined up perfectly so it looked like a puppeteer was controlling Lars.
After “Fade to Black”, the band all convened onto the part of the stage that jutted out into the crowd and a drum kit dramatically rose from underneath the stage not just for Lars to play but also a young boy who they plucked out of the crowd. Adorned with massive yellow hearing protection headphones, this little star in the making created a few beats of his own before hitting the first note of “Seek and Destroy” when Lars switched him places.
As with most bands, Metallica saved their most popular classics for the encore. “Nothing Else Matters” and “Enter Sandman” ensured no one bothered to try and beat the massive exodus and stayed to soak in every drop of metal they could.