Metallica play intimate, emotional show at Webster Hall; debut “Moth Into Flame”

Posted by on September 28, 2016

Photo: Jon Landman

Photo: Jon Landman

Although it technically started last month with the unveiling of “Hardwired” before their show in Minneapolis, the promotional machine has kicked into high gear for Metallica’s forthcoming Hardwired… To Self Destruct, which will be out on November 18th. In the past week, they’ve played the Global Citizen Festival, unveiled a new single, played a SiriusXM town hall, and sat in on an interview with Howard Stern. And all that’s before they play The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon tomorrow. And in between all of that, they managed to play a special fan club only show at the tiny 1,500-capacity Webster Hall last night.

The fan club only show went on sale on Sunday, with the $25 tickets benefiting City Harvest. They went quickly, with many diehard fans complaining of being shut out of buying tickets. There was a moment for many fans yesterday when they realized that yesterday also happened to be the 30th anniversary of the day that original bassist Cliff Burton died, making it that much more of a special evening. Outside the venue, it was a carnivalesque atmosphere, with the line stretching literally around the block. Many that were shut out from buying tickets showed up anyway to celebrate. The Old Bridge Metal Militia, some of the band’s earliest die hard supporters, showed up with a banner, and when Webster finally started letting people in at around 7, there was a palpable energy in the crowd.

Forgoing the typical Ennio Morricone “The Ecstasy of Gold” intro, the band walked onto the stage without any fanfare. “Before we get started,” James Hetfield said, then launched into their cover of Budgie’s “Breadfan” without a word. As some expected, they did pay tribute to Burton by playing “Orion,” which was the first time in several years they played the instrumental track from Master of Puppets. They also played “Hardwired” and gave “Moth Into Flame” it’s live debut. Aside from the songs from the new album, as well as “Enter Sandman,” “Holier Than Thou” and “Sad But True,” the rest of the set came from …And Justice For All and before, ignoring the 25-year gap between the Black Album and their new one.

The band seemed relaxed, and without a whole stage to run around, didn’t move as much as normal (aka no crab walking for Trujillo). Hetfield sometimes walked behind Lars’ kit, while Kirk Hammett generally remained stationary, close to his wah pedal at all times. Musically, they were spot on, with Hammett doing a brief solo before the band played “Fade to Black.” We already know that Metallica will be playing next year, and when saying goodnight, Hetfield said that we’d see them next year, “probably across the river in a place that’s outside.” Even though they’ve only played a handful of shows this year, they’re still amazingly tight, energetic, and more than ready for the Worldwired Tour to kick off.


Set list:

Holier Than  Thou
Harvester of Sorrow
Fade to Black
Moth Into Flame
Sad But True
Master of Puppets
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Enter Sandman


Whiskey In the Jar
Seek & Destroy

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