Metallica Wrap Up U.S. Tour @ Van Andel Arena
Metallica closed out their Worldwired Tour at Van Andel Arena Wednesday night with an 18 song set list and massive stage production in the round.
Metallica never let their fans down when putting on an event by making sure every detail is at a very high level.
To kick off the evening a DJ was spinning some classic metal and engaging with the fans while video screens when through tons of random photos from Metallica to check out.
Then came comedian Jim Breuer who really didn't do his stand but more rallied the fans to get them pumped for the show. Often getting off stage and getting into the crowd to find the oldest fan in attendance and even spotting a James Hetfield look a like.
Breuer, who was wearing a New York Yankees baseball uniform, informed the crowd he had lost a bet to one of the Metallica crew members and had to wear the uniform. The bet was explained later on the video screens when Breuer was invited to Metallica's tuning room where he was presented the uniform. Breuer is a long time Mets fan so it was obviously painful for him to wear the Yankees gear and we all got a good laugh including members of Metallica.
Breuer then introduced me, Tommy Carroll, to come up and introduce Metallica which I have to admit, was a pretty surreal experience in itself for me but one I will never forget. When I was escorted backstage to then be led to the stage I again experienced the crew, management and band all with smiles on their faces because they all love their jobs and are incredible hosts and give everyone outside their camp nothing but respect.
Breuer wrapped things up then went back stage where he and Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich were talking to the audience via the video screen in real time. That is a special touch when those cameras fire up backstage and the audience gets a peak behind the curtain.
Metallica's stage set up was in the round with Ulrichs drum set was on a platform the turns after so many songs so he would be facing the whole audience at some point throughout the show.
Metallica came out swinging with two songs from their Hardwired...To Self Destruct album that included Hardwired and Atlas, Rise! The video screens had been raised before they started and then all these video cubes that were raised and lowered throughout the night were pretty impressive to say the least.
Metallica then went into Seek and Destroy while the audience sang every word and at times being heard over the music if you can imagine that.
Metallica then riffled through The Memory Remains, The Unforgiven and then Now That We're Dead where four cubes came up from the stage that had digital drum pads on top of them and all four members played drums together in the middle of the song.
Creeping Death and For Whom The Bell Tolls were next really taking an already excited crowd to even another level of excitement. Then they went into Here Comes Revenge that was followed by guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujilo who ran through mini versions of Eye of the Beholder, Grand Funk's We're An American Band with the help of James Hetfield on vocals. Then Trujilo covered the famous Cliff Burton Anesthesia bass solo while video of Burton were on all the screens.
All throughout the show the video cubes raised up in down in a variety of ways, even looking like old TV's from back in the day. They used many artifacts from the photo archives of Metallica to even using local graphics that included the Whitecaps, Griffins, The Grand Rapids Drive. These cubes were a very cool dynamic that really added to the mood of the particular song they were playing.
Metallica then went into Phantom Lord followed by Fuel and that is when the pyro started for the evening and you could feel the heat from those all throughout the arena.
One of the stage highlights was when they went into Moth Into Flame, all these moth like drones with lights on them began flying out of the stage and hovering over Metallica with a very moth like effect which was really a unique stage trick that added a lot to the visual for the song.
Hefield then asked the crowd if they like it heavy in Grand Rapids and the place just lit up with excitement from the fans. The band then tore into Sad But True.
There was a huge video and music intro that was played before One for another special portion of the show. The video screens showing soldiers from World War 1 that really captivated the audience and showed the true meaning behind the song.
Master of Puppets was next and the Grand Rapids audience owned it taking on some of the lines of the song which was a peak moment of the night.
Metallica took a brief intermission then returned for Blackened, Nothing Else Matters and finally Enter Sandman.
Overall it was a spectacular night for a middle of the week show...but hey...it's Freaking Metallica...it doesn't matter what day of the year it is and its always a sell out. Metallica thanked the fans for sticking with them all these years and really showed a lot of love and respect to Grand Rapids. Metallica has been coming here for 38 years and I'm sure this won't be the last time either!
I didn't take a lot of photos since I was just enjoying the show but here are a handful of the ones I managed to get.