Friday, November 20, 2009

Rockin' Out: Metallica/Lamb Of God/Volbeat @ Madison Square Garden 11/15/09

As you can see, having an elevated vantage point at Madison Square Garden did not help me take better pictures. One of these days I will remember to bring my actual digital camera to the show with me.

This past Sunday night was Round 2 with Metallica at Madison Square Garden. I was hoping it would be an improvement on Saturday night's show which was not bad, but certainly not great and fortunately my hopes would be fulfilled.

The first difference between this night and the prior night was that we were seated in a lower level section off the floor which allowed a much better view of the entire stage and would also prove to offer significantly better sound quality. The second difference was that we got to the venue in time to see show openers Volbeat. I already discussed my history with Volbeat and subsequent reversal of opinion upon seeing them live in an earlier post, so I'll just simply reiterate that this is a great live band that is well worth checking out.

Next up was Lamb Of God who had felt a little lackluster the night before, but with the improved sound of our new seats they came across as much more lively and energetic as I have come to expect from their live performances. I have to say that they didn't exactly look comfortable on a stage that large and I certainly don't see them as being the heir apparent to Metallica's arena filling throne [Slipknot is really the only metal band of the next generation that is in the running for that title which is unfortunate because the genre desperately needs some more bands to get in that queue, but that is a discussion for another day], but there is no denying that they have some great songs and can play well live. I was happy to hear personal (and apparently crowd) favorites like "Now You've Got Something To Die For", "Walk With Me In Hell", "Laid To Rest" and "Redneck". I do love LOG and look forward to seeing them again in the future, but perhaps in a more appropriate sized venue.

Feeling pretty happy with Volbeat and Lamb Of God's performances, I was getting a gut feeling that the evening was headed in the right direction. Earlier in the day I had mentioned to some friends that the concert would be ideal if Metallica played "Dyers Eve", "Fade To Black" and their cover of Killing Joke's "The Wait". In the land of Metallica fandom, hearing "Dyers Eve" live is considered to be a real rare treat, so my hopes were minimal that I would actually get to hear that or "The Wait" although I did have a pretty good feeling that "Fade To Black" was a at least a better than average possibility. Metallica stormed the stage and just like the night before opened with "That Was Just Your Life" and "The End Of The Line" from Death Magnetic. They then proceeded to absolutely level the place with "Creeping Death", "The Shortest Straw" and "Fade To Black". Those three songs in a row already placed this evening's show far above the night before, but Metallica wasn't done yet. After four more songs from Death Magnetic (including the excellent "My Apocalypse" and "The Judas Kiss" neither of which had been played the night before) and set list standards "Sad But True" and "One", they delivered the killer one-two punch of "Master Of Puppets" into "Dyers Eve". I was two out of three on my wish list and couldn't be happier. Next up was two more standards in "Nothing Else Matters" and "Enter Sandman" and then the band exited the stage to prepare for the encore. On this tour, Metallica always plays a cover song as the first song in their encore, so I was anxiously awaiting to see if my luck was good enough to get "The Wait". I didn't get it, but I did get the always awesome Misfits' cover "Last Caress" before they went into "Trapped Under Ice" from Ride The Lightning. Like "Dyers Eve", this was the first time I was ever getting to see the band play it live and I was absolutely floored. The night closed with another standard in "Seek And Destroy" and Kirk Hammett was doused with what appeared to be whip cream pies in celebration of his birthday at the end of the song by road crew and members of the opening bands.

All in all, it was an amazing weekend of live metal music courtesy of Metallica and further proof that they are more than deserving to be one of the biggest bands in the world.

Volbeat "The Garden's Tale"

Lamb Of God "Laid To Rest"

Metallica "Fade To Black"

Metallica "Dyers Eve"

Metallica "The Shortest Straw"

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