Gig review: Metallica in Auckland

Last updated 05:00 14/10/2010
METAL MAYHEM: Metallica perform in Christchurch.

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You've seen moshing, but you haven't seen moshing like this.

You've heard guitar riffs, but you haven't heard them fly as thick and as fast as these.

And you've probably had your hair singed by pyrotechnic displays at Vector Arena before, but you haven't been close enough to toast marshmallows on giant fireballs blasting out of the stage.

For all that, and much, much more, you can thank Metallica. The first of two sold out shows in Auckland proved the American metal legends were in town to do things bigger and better than anything the city has seen by a rock supergroup before.

Christchurch may have got them first, but Auckland got Metallica at their best, with a full stage set up that had laser beams scanning the stadium, giant silver coffins hovering like UFOs and black balloons bouncing around during an encore that consisted of Budgie's Breadfan, Motorbreath and a frenetic rendition of early track Seek and Destroy.

But it was the show's first half that really set the scene for a night of metal mayhem as front man James Hetfield pronounced: "Metallica's in a good mood and we're keen to have some fun."

So was the crowd. You want to see moshing? Check out the manic Metallica fans that reacted to a mid-set double whammy of Whevever I May Roam and Sad But True, the Black Album standouts that came with grinding riffs perfect for headbanging, fistpumping and slam dancing performed by sweaty black-clad fans around the stadium.

Even Hetfield could be seen doing his own Wendy Petrie fist pump after those knockout blows.

You want riffs? Kirk Hammett proved to be an effortless axe man, strolling around Vector's central stage - another first for the venue that meant there wasn't a bad seat in the house - like he was on a lazy evening walk while hammering out some of the fastest, and most recognisable, licks known to metal fans.

During an incredible rendition of For Whom the Bell Tolls, bassist Robert Trujillo stalked the stage like a caged lion, drummer Lars Ulrich bashed his drums into submission from a standing position and Hatfield got down on his knees as they all tried to keep up with Hammett's furious riffage.

A main set-closing rendition of Enter Sandman was performed in unison by so many ecstatic air guitar wannabes it's probably some kind of Guinness world record, a trick repeated for Death Magnetic single The Day That Never Comes, Master of Puppets and rare live track No Leaf Clover.

And you want pyro? That came early during the show's fourth track, a brilliant Creeping Death that saw Hetfield beginning the song standing in a circle of flames before the whole stage erupted and breathed fire over the front rows, heating the stadium up to boiling point.

"That was 'o' for awesome," slurred one happy fan afterwards. Metallica may have been rocking for nearly 30 years, but it's hard to disagree. Long may the metal kings reign.

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October 13: Vector Arena, Auckland

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