BT: Well this was it, the culmination of the first day. People know what they’re getting, namely Ride the Lightning played in its entirety for the first time ever. But how? And in what order? Will there be a Cliff Burton hologram? The band started with “Hit the Lights,” then played “Master of Puppets” and “The Four Horsemen.” Awesome! They were going to keep it old school! Oh wait, “Sad But True?” Isn’t that on the Black Album? That’s a little odd considering we’ll be hearing it tomorrow, but ok. Wait, and a Beyond Magnetic song? The one song you’re going to play from after 1991, and it’s a b-side?
Lightning starts with a montage, with the intro guitar music from album closer “Call of Ktulu.” The band joins in. Much like what they did with playing the Black Album, it looks like they’re going to play it backwards. Considering what a comparitively extreme album Ride was when it came out in 1984, to see a mostly-full airfield with a capacity of 50,000 headbanging in unison really underscored how far metal has come in the last 28 years. Playing “Escape” for the first time, James sounded almost apologetic about the song. It sounded great, and the crowd seemed appreciative to be hearing it live for the first time ever.
After Ride, the intensity level dropped significantly by them playing “Nothing Else Matters.” Wait, another song from the Black Album, and a ballad to boot? Then they play “Enter Sandman.” What the what? Guys, you’re playing the whole album tomorrow, why give us 25% of it now?! An encore of “Battery,” “One” and “Seek and Destroy” end the night amazingly well, with pyro and lasers shocking and aweing the crowd awake from the last 10 hours of their day and sending them off into the wilds of Atlantic City for the night.
ZS: In their defense, a weak show from Metallica is still better than most bands (an arguable claim to some, but I stand by it). With that said, the Ride The Lightning set was probably the sloppiest set I’ve seen Metallica play. It was pretty hard not to notice that something sounded way off during “Call of Ktulu,” and Kirk’s mistakes during “Fade To Black” were somewhat cringe-worthy. And the fact that their set-list was filled with poor choices, including the three Black Album songs (yes, they are standards, but we’re hearing them tomorrow!) and a Beyond Magnetic track, didn’t help matters. Sure they could’ve done worse (they could’ve played **gulp** a St. Anger single), but with such an amazing back catalog they also could’ve picked better songs to play. Considering how excited I was to hear Ride The Lightning, this was definitely a disappointing end to an otherwise great day.
By the numbers:
Songs played by Metallica that their festival is named after: 0
Songs played by Metallica that their stages are named after: 0
# of Metallica shirts: way too many to count
# of Arctic Monkeys shirts noticed: 3
# of Modest Mouse shirts noticed: 1
# of Iron Maiden shirts noticed: 5 that I remember, but we’re probably forgetting more.
Frontman of a band that looked most like a member of the audience: Fucked Up’s Pink Eyes