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METALLICA is arguably one of the biggest bands on the planet today.  There extensive resume of accomplishments includes the release of 10 studio albums, 39 music videos, and 37 singles.  They have sold well north of 115 million records worldwide, and are considered one of the most commercially successful groups of all-time.  In addition, Metallica has won a ridiculous 8 Grammy Awards along with countless other accolades making them one of the most decorated rock bands in history.  It’s no surprise that 36 years later, this band of brothers is still selling out stadiums all around the world.  On Sunday, August 6th, METALLICA roared into San Diego in support of their 2017 WorldWired Tour. For the tens of thousands who packed into Petco Park that afternoon, there was a true sense of excitement and anticipation as show time neared.  Many had traveled in from all-over the country to see their all-time favorite band.  Expectations were high, and there was energy running through the crowd so intense you could cut it with a knife.  My only question going in was, would METALLICA hit a home-run “America’s Greatest City”?  Well, we were minutes away from show time and would all soon find out.

As the clocks hand hit six, French heavyweights GOJIRA were the first to hit the stage.  They started off their set with “Only Pain” off their most recent release, Magma. Their sound was so intense and caught many METALLICA fans who had never heard the band by surprise (I’m not sure how that’s even possible but we’ll leave that discussion for another day).  Joe Duplantier’s voice sounded incredible and the band was totally dialed in for their 9-song set.  My only wish was that the sun would have been a bit lower as the bright sun was literally blinding the band throughout their complete set.  GOJIRA closed with “Vacuity” off 2008’s Way of All Flesh album.  Great song to end their performance and left everyone in Petco wanting more.  If you have not taken time to really dig into this band, give their catalog a spin.  Definitely worth the time and you’ll no doubt end up loving this killer band from Bayonne.

Next up on the bill was Huntington Beach’s very own, AVENGED SEVENFOLD.  Probably one of my all-time favorite bands, I was super stoked to see them on this bill as direct support for METALLICA.  Understanding this was going to be abridged set, I had a general sense of what songs would make up their set (as I had recently see them the week prior at The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA).  2016’s “The Stage” started off the show, followed immediately by “Afterlife”.  Surprisingly enough, sound quality seemed much better in San Diego vs. Pasadena and can only attribute that to size of the venue (The Rose Bowl is so expansive).  Next up was one of my favorites, “Hail to the King”.  I was blown away by M. Shadows vocals combined with the amazing guitar tandem of Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates.  As usual, Johnny Christ killed on Bass, and newest A7X drummer Brooks Wackerman took it to a whole new level on Sunday evening.  He’s a perfect fit in this band and has a great chemistry with his band mates.  The 10-song set wrapped up with “Unholy Confessions” off 2003 staple Waking the Fallen.  Pure magic if you ask me. 

And now for the pièce de résistance, METALLICA!  There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield, and Robert Trujillo were going to implode Petco Park, and in the minutes leading up to show time there one could feel the energy levels throughout the stadium jumping off the chart.  The general admission area on the field (including the infamous snake pit up front) was bulging at the seams, and fans from all over the world were anticipating their rock and roll heroes taking the stage within minutes.  As lights dimmed, the now capacity crowd went crazy as the massive video screens lit up with the final scene from the 1968 Clint Eastwood masterpiece, “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”  Ennio Morricone’s “The Ecstasy of Gold” blasted from the sound system, and this was the signal for many that the show was about to begin.  Then out of nowhere, METALLICA appeared from the darkness and launched into set opener, “Hardwired”.  And as the boys were launching into hyperdrive, everyone in the pit knew at that moment, “We’re so Fucked!” Great song to start off what was to be an incredible evening of no-nonsense rock and roll with over 40,000 friends.

After crushing “Atlas Rise!”, Kirk and James took center stage and began the all-too familiar intro to “For Whom the Bells Toll”.  The general admission floor surged forward and many were seemingly levitated off the ground because of the push.  It was as if something or someone had taken over the crowd and from that point forward, there was no going back.  Each song in the set became more intense, and with each passing moment the energy and frenzy across the stadium grew more intense.  Classics like “Creeping Death”, Whiplash”, and Master of Puppets” sounded just as good live as they did on their respective albums so many years ago.  And when you add in what may have been one of the best stage setups I have seen in years (including lasers, video, and pyrotechnics), you could not help but be literally out of your mind with excitement throughout this show.

METALLICA wrapped their epic 2+ hour set with a three-song encore comprised of “Fight Fire With Fire”, “Nothing Else Matters”, and probably their most popular commercial release, “Enter Sandman”.  It was a fantastic way to end this impressive show and put a major exclamation point on what turned out to be one of the most amazing live performances I have seen in the last 15 years.  As the show came to an end and lights flickered back on, James, Kirk, Lars, and Robert came back out to center state for their final bow.  But they did something surprising that most bands don’t do.  They hung out on stage for another 5-10 minutes - high fiving fans, launching guitar picks and drumsticks, and sharing in all the energy that was will still radiating from the crowd.  A video then played highlighting the fan experience in San Diego, and many watched intently to see if they were captured at some point throughout the day.  Pretty incredible if you ask me, and highlights why 35+ years later METALLICA still sits atop the pinnacle of all things metal.  Until next time…

Stay Frosty and Rock On!


  • Hardwired
  • Atlas, Rise!
  • For Whom the Bells Toll
  • Creeping Death
  • The Unforgiven
  • Now that We’re Dead
  • Moth Into Flame
  • Wherever I May Rome
  • Halo on Fire
  • Whiplash
  • Sad But True
  • One
  • Master of Puppets
  • Fade to Black
  • Seek & Destroy


  • Fight Fire With Fire
  • Nothing Else Matters
  • Enter Sandman
Matthew Belter

Executive Editor - Long Beach

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