Metallica blows the lid off the Opera House
Metallica at the Opera House
- Artist: Metallica
- Location: The Opera House, Toronto
“How does it feel to be alive Toronto?” asked Metallica frontman James Hetfield early in the band’s hour-and-40-minute set at the Opera House on Tuesday night which was a benefit for the Daily Bread Food Bank.
The overwhelming answer had to be pretty good given the circumstances.
If you were among the lucky few that squeezed into the venue with a capacity of 950, which was bursting at the seams with fans and industry folk, make that very good indeed.
One of the biggest bands in the world arrived in town a few weeks after their latest number one album, Hardwired ... To Self Destruct, their first disc in eight years, and decided to play in a club instead of their usual arena or stadium.
Apparently the metal vets were looking for something similar to New York City’s Webster Hall.
“At first we thought it was Oprah’s House,” joked Hetfield, who was in good form along with guitarist Kirk Hammett, drummer Lars Ulrich and bassist Robert Trujillo.
Less than an hour before Metallica took the stage, the lineup to get in was still around the block while those without tickets (priced at $25 for fan club members and $100 for the rest although secondary sites were said to be charging up to $6,000 despite photo I.D. required to pick up tickets at the venue) crowded the sidewalk hoping a few would shake loose.
A small number of police on hand asked the ticketless to move along or they’d be charged with loitering, according to venue security who shouted warnings, as it got increasingly congested on the sidewalk.
Inside, it took no time for a full mosh pit to break out on the floor once Metallica were underway while enthusiastic fans sang, punched air and yelled “Hey!” in unison.
Playing on a plain stage save for white amps decorated with black lightning rods the fearsome metal foursome was loud - though not punishingly so - tight and ready to rock hard with their signature machine gun attack sound intact.
“Do you want heavy?” asked Hetfield at one point as if there was any choice.
The set list was a mix of old faves like Fade To Black, Harvester of Sorrow, One, Master of Puppets, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Enter Sandman and Seek & Destroy, plus new tunes from Hardwired including Atlas, Rise! and the title track.
But the evening began with a cover - Breadfan, by the ‘60s Welsh hard rock band Budgie - and the first of many Hammett awesome solos got underway.
Even Trujillo had a moment in the solo spotlight and Ulrich was playing so hard he had to get up at one point and stretch his legs.
However, it was Hetfield who grinned from ear to ear all night long and the crowd was right there with him.
Sad But True (followed by Kirk’s solo)
Fade to Black
Harvester of Sorrow
Moth Into Flame (followed by Rob’s solo)
Master of Puppets
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Whiskey in the Jar
Seek & Destroy