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Metallica rock crowd at Manchester's Etihad Stadium - review with pictures

By Andy Richardson | Music | Published:

A vast black wave of heavy metal fans approached the colossal Etihad Stadium on a surprisingly warm Tuesday evening for rock icons Metallica.

Metallica at Manchester's Etihad Stadium

Norwegian trio Bokassa and Swedish hard rock band Ghost had opened the party but now the boys were back in town. The first time the other fabulous foursome played in Manchester was at The Apollo September 17th 1986.

On one of the last legs of the mammoth WorldWired tour, heavy metal legends Metallica put on an extraordinary performance at the iconic Manchester City Football club.

An estimated 60,000 fans packed their way into the stadium for a very wet evening of the band’s famous hits and new content from their tenth studio album Hardwired…To Self-Destruct, released in 2016.

Their famous intro of Ennio Morricone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly composition The Ecstasy of Gold set the mood for the evening. We were in for a treat.

Drinks were flowing. Everyone happy. Except… You had to feel for a few guys as they had to be whisked away by some of the countless paramedics on sight from excessive alcohol. Poor lads.

Stormy clouds loomed overhead as James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich and Rob Trujillo rocked up to the stage shortly after 7.50pm, diving straight into thunderous drums with Hardwired.

For the casual fan, it was a great was to be introduced to their more recent work. They took things down a notch with Reload’s eerie The Memory Remains.

With almost perfect timing, the rain began with some fans retreating to shelter under the roof, some contributing to the water with flying cups and bottles, however this didn’t faze Hetfield and co, who with their endless supply of towels continued on with Disposable Heroes, from one other greatest heavy metal albums Master of Puppets. Songs from this were a common feature of the evening.

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As the night rolled on as the rain persisted, Hetfield thanked the audience for their support. “Thank you, guys, so f****** much. We really appreciate the support after 38 years”.

Metallica at Manchester's Etihad Stadium

Aside from all the face-melting riffs, deafening drums and powerful vocals, one of the surprisingly beautiful moments of the night was when guitarist Hammett and bassist Trujillo performed a delicate cover of Mancunian lads The Stone Roses’ I Wanna Be Adored which was much appreciated by the crowd.

Following a round of applause Trujillo continued with a brief before Hetfield and Ulrich returned to the stage for part two of the gig with the fan favourites, beginning with Grammy Award-winning One from …And Justice for All.

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You could feel the wall of drums smack your chest as the second half of the song kick into action and the crowd singing their hearts out.

Drummer Lars Ulrich was front and centre for For Whom the Bell Tolls with his vociferous performance and Hetfield impressive vocals.

The loudest reaction of the night was during the popular Master of Puppets. I couldn’t stop smiling. The sheer piercing roar from the fans, you could probably hear them in Liverpool. Momentarily breathless from the spectacle.

Another highlight was during the penultimate piece, Nothing Else Matters, where Hetfield extended his slow sensual solo at the end to reveal the guitar pick he’d been performing with during the set – written on the front Metallica 18.06.2019 and turned to reveal We <3 MCR, with fans giving a roaring applause, a wonderful gesture to the Mancunians.

The night closed with the song that made Metallica a household name – Enter Sandman. You walk into any metal bar and you’ll hear this playing at least twice every night.

The gradual build up, almost like constructing the song before our eyes, each musician made their introduction before the crowd lost their minds in the madness before Hetfield began singing. Fireworks and 20 foot (or more) high flames throughout the final song was worthy of new year celebrations.

Three years of touring and almost 170 shows later, their hugely-anticipated concert did not disappoint.

Just wow.

Andy Richardson

By Andy Richardson
Feature Writer - @andyrichardson1

Feature writer and food critic Andy Richardson interviews celebrities, writes columns and hangs out with chefs for stories that appear across all group titles.

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