“JUST PLAY THE METAL,” a red-faced fifty-something shouts from the back of the SSE Hydro in Glasgow after Metallica’s seasoned front-man James Hetfield dedicates Moth Into Flame to the late Amy Winehouse.
You would’ve hit a full house of Metallica bingo within 20 minutes of the band taking the stage. Flames? Check. Hetfieldisms (yeeeeaaaahhh!). Check. Gloriously overwrought guitar solo? Check. Lars’ liberal take on traditional timekeeping? Check. Check. Ch-check.
I could easily, happily even, write a list of comedic things overheard at the sold-out WorldWired Tour: “Earplugs?! At a Metallica concert? Are you mental hen?” (another middle-aged man), but with an unexpectedly spectacular performance from the Californian metal icons, it would only detract from the matter at hand.
The veteran rockers have been touring for 36 years and despite some missteps along the way in the middle (Lou Reed collaboration, anyone?) they have retained a fairly consistent, generation-spanning fan base.
The most fervent fans, however, wouldn’t hesitate to admit things were edging on stale. In a bid to shake things up, the metal luminaries did what all ageing rock bands before them have done (I’m looking at you, U2) and produced a stadium tour, in the round.
A ninja-star shaped stage leaves Hetfield inches away from 10-year-old Robert, who is no doubt reeling today as he tells his friends of the joy of the front-man shaking his hand, handing him a set of plectrums and drumsticks (with bonus shout out to Robert’s dad for taking him along) and Scotland specific merchandise (a Scotland top emblazoned with Metallica logo) topped off a show smattered with stunning production values.