Live Review: Metallica — The Big Four Indio, CA
Sun, 24 Apr 2011 10:41:40
Metallica are the Clint Eastwood of rock 'n' roll.
Not only do they continue to evolve with every show and album, but they also kick just as much ass as they did when they first aimed their guns at hard rock supremacy thirty years ago. Eastwood’s tougher than ever with Gran Torino, and Metallica proved the same during last night’s first-ever U.S. "Big Four" show.
Metallica's set fittingly commenced with "The Ecstasy Gold" from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The film clip practically burned off the giant screens flanking the stage as James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett sparked up the opening riff to "Creeping Death." Metallica ripped through the song with smart-bomb precision and deft technicality honed by decades of destroying crowds worldwide. Hetfield sounded menacingly malevolent as he got the entire Indio Polo Field screaming “Die” along with him. Lars Ulrich pounded out a powerful tribal beat during the bridge as Robert Trujillo's bass rumble could’ve signaled another Biblical plague. Hammett's solo blazed and burned as Hetfield smiled "Creep on this, goddamnit!"
"For Whom the Bell Tolls" resounded with a heavier and bloodier beatdown of guitars, drums, and bass while Hetfield’s voice carried through the desert. "Burn fucker, burn," was the frontman's apt call-to-arms on "Fuel", which propelled the mosh pit into a veritable frenzy as fire surrounded the band.
Hetfield stands out as the greatest frontman heavy metal has ever seen. With an inviting grin, he exclaimed, "We hope you're feeling good because we're going to take you to another level here. This is history tonight, and we're glad you’re part of it."
After that, Metallica launched into a flawless, fiery "Ride The Lightning," which saw Hetfield rip through the riffs and impenetrably deliver every devilish line. He showed a timeless versatility on "Fade to Black," jumping from the classically inspired acoustic intro into the searing refrain. He asked, "Do you feel what I feel?" The answer proved to be a resounding roar from the field, and he brought this Ride the Lightning classic to life.
Like Eastwood, he doesn’t have to say much to get a reaction, and he's only stronger on the likes of "All Nightmare Long" and "Cyanide" from Death Magnetic than ever before.
"Sanitarium" saw Hammett channel Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page with a psychedelic intro before breaking into a heart-wrenching rendition of "Orion" later on where the entire band locked into this transcendent symphony of solos, beats, and bass lines. Trujillo stirred up a total bass cataclysm, while Ulrich served as the linchpin to the all-encompassing aural assault. Fireworks abounded during "One", as the audience held on to every word. A double dose of immortal infectiousness came on "Master Of Puppets" and "Blackened" both of which could've been the soundtrack to the final shoot out in any classic Eastwood flick due to their combination of virtuosity and violence.
Members of Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax joined Metallica during the encore for a visceral cover of Diamond Head's "Am I Evil?", and together they evinced why they’re all still at the top of the hard rock heap.
"Hit The Lights" and "Seek and Destroy" sent everyone off with one final sonic explosion as Metallica exited with little pomp and circumstance. Their work (giving the world one of the best shows ever) was done, and they sauntered off quietly and with class—just like Eastwood would’ve.
Were you at The Big Four?
Check out this feature where Slash and members of Korn, Slayer, Anthrax, Slipknot, Godsmack, Stone Sour, Black Veil Brides, Asking Alexandria, Alter Bridge, Five Finger Death Punch, and celebrities Michelle Rodriguez, Leigh Whannell and more share when they first found Metallica here!
Check out our review of Slayer at The Big Four here!