"Is this where all the wild animals are?" Metallica singer James Hetfield shouted at the 43,000 people jammed into Supersport Park on March 18, and it was easy to hear in the crowd's roaring response
"Is this where all the wild animals are?" Metallica singer James Hetfield shouted at the 43,000 people jammed into Supersport Park on March 18, and it was easy to hear in the crowd's roaring response just how wild they were about being the first to ever witness the hard rock band perform in Africa.
At a venue normally reserved for the more sedate sport of cricket, Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Rob Trujillo were a force of nature, the sheer visceral power of the foursome's fiercesome sonic attack undeniable even for those fans who had turned up to see other acts like Simple Plan, Collective Soul and Seether.
Headlining the first-ever Coca-Cola Collab Massive Mix festival, Metallica didn't hold back from delivering a two-hour-plus show that contained everything the group's South African fans were expecting. The set list tore into the group's extensive repertoire, with blistering onstage performances and some straight-up rock and roll antics like Hetfield jamming his guitar into an onstage amp.
Truth be told, the devotion of the group's fanbase here is such that Hetfield, Ulrich, Hammett and Trujillo could have strolled onto the stage and played the American national anthem over and over again and the response would have been just as rapturous. Opening with "Creeping Death" off 1984's "Ride the Lightning" proved an inspired choice, giving Metallica the opportunity to showcase a mixture of rapid-fire guitar riffs, colossal drumming, pounding bass and Hetfield's growling vocals.
For another 16 songs the pace was unremitting; a persistent wall of sound that not even Hetfield's frequent guitar changes could interrupt. The encore was another five-song musical firestorm for the faithful that drew mainly on the group's iconic "Black Album." "Sad But True," "Nothing Else Matters" and "Enter Sandman" were all deployed with lashings of musical muscle, never betraying just how many times Metallica has worked through these songs over the past two decades.
The closing "Seek and Destroy," from the group's first full-length album, "Kill 'Em All," was an appropriate nod to an audience whose heads are probably still spinning.
Here is Metallica's set list:
"Harvester of Sorrow"
"Welcome Home (Sanitarium)"
"For Whom the Bell Tolls"
"Wherever I May Roam"
"Fade to Black"
"Sad But True"
"Nothing Else Matters"
"Master of Puppets"
"Seek and Destroy"