It has rained since Metallica’s last visit to Spain in 2019. We were there, ignorant of everything that was to come. A few months, James Hetfield entered rehabilitation due to a relapse in the hell of his addictions. Then the COVID pandemic. Those from San Francisco have gone through an ordeal, like everyone else, but in their case even longer. His concert at Mad Cool had something of redemption, magic and revenge at the same time.
Let’s put things in context: whoever writes these lines was lucky enough to see those from San Francisco from a privileged position, practically being able to touch James Hetfield, Robert Trujillo, Kirk Hammett and, on occasion, even good old Lars Ulrich. This chronicle is a reflection of this experience, but, as in all concerts, what each one has lived and heard depends a lot on hundreds of factors. For those around me, it was an unrepeatable experience.
Metallica have had the intelligence to know how to play, like no other group, with their repertoire. They haven’t released an album since 2016, but when they release their catalogue, they know where to put each song to make everyone who goes to see them happy. I think that, above all, they are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, knowing how to make the most of both.
At sunset, M.etallica met us again to the rhythm of “Whiplash”. And there is nothing better than starting with a classic to put the public in tune. The best? With two drums, dozens of microphones and two ramps, the entire quartet did not stop moving and, from the first moment, they were close to their audience. Energetic and sounding like always (or never!), our beloved San Francisco stars were soon bringing us “Creeping Death” and, to the surprise of many, “Enter Sandman”.
This, without a doubt, was a key point of the show. Turning expectations upside down, the band showed us their ace up their sleeve right at the beginning. Surprises were coming. The biggest of the night was, without a doubt, a hidden gem that no one expected.
Suddenly, and this is what I mean when I say that Metallica can play their set, James stops and asks us what we think of ‘St. Anger’. He knows that it is not exactly the favorite album of the vast majority of his fans, but he knows how to laugh at it and, not only that, but also value it. “People are starting to like it more”said the singer before the surprising response -positive- of those present. And he goes and plays “Dirty Window”. Neither “Frantic” nor the single that gives the 2003 album its title. And on top of that he adds a guitar solo. Speechless.
Only 16 songs played, but they were enough to make everyone happy. In “Moth Into Flame”, the pyrotechnics were so intense that if you were close enough you could feel the heat of the fire on your skin. If this isn’t an experience beyond music, I don’t know what is.
The band was happy, energetic, and that was noticeable at all times. We cannot forget, either, the precious detail that James Hetfield had in “Fade to Black”. And it is that, in the middle of the song, the singer stopped and said something like: “Suicide is not a fun topic. It seems that it is forbidden to talk about it. Metallica talks about it and we have all felt it close at some point. If you feel something like this, please talk to someone, because you are loved and valued.. For someone like him to get up and talk about this in front of tens of thousands of people is invaluable. Thanks.
To finish, Metallica gave us a jewel, “Damage Inc.”, followed by “One”. The best, however, was the ending: “Master of Puppets”, a topic that talks about addictions. When it was over, the band left, but not all of them. A burst of fireworks adorned the sky above Mad Cool and James stood looking at her, leaning on his guitar, smiling at home, as if, after three years of hell, he had finally won. He has done it, without a doubt, and he can be proud.
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Metallica are still very much alive after three years of ordeal and make magic at Mad Cool
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