Fresno Beehive

Metallica is one of the greatest metal bands ever. They proved it again in Fresno.

Metallica’s James Hetfield, right, with Lars Ulrich, left, as the band appeared at Save Mart Center on its WorldWired Tour Sunday night, Dec. 9, 2018 in Fresno.
Metallica’s James Hetfield, right, with Lars Ulrich, left, as the band appeared at Save Mart Center on its WorldWired Tour Sunday night, Dec. 9, 2018 in Fresno. ezamora@fresnobee.com

No one does the old-school thrash-metal chug as well as Metallica.

The band is ranked among the Big Four American thrash metal bands. The others are named Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer.

Of those, Metallica has become the most accessible and mainstream. It is the only of the four that could pull off a concert of the scope seen Sunday night at the Save Mart Center.

Yes, there were the laser lights and pyro (on “Fuel” and “Enter Sandman” in particular). But there were also some neat visual tricks done with the rows of video cubes hanging above the stage and the synchronized fleet of drones that flew around the stage during “Moth Into Flame.”

Think on that. Metallica has a fleet of tiny drones.

It also has three generations of fans, who packed the Save Mart center to the ceiling. There was a 6-year old girl (wearing pink earmuffs and flashing the devil horns) and a 68-year old woman with T-shirt that said: “Savage as F$%k”.

Her name is Melissa Savage.

Make no mistake, Metallica still brings it fast and heavy and ear-ringingly loud. The band played an 18-song set that pulled mostly from the early days (pre- “... And Justice for All”) and the band’s latest revival (2016’s “Hardwired... to Self-Destruct”). Fans got little from the band’s catalog from the 2000s, with the notable exception of “Fuel,” which proved a fan favorite.

The songs weren’t album perfect, but it didn’t matter. The band hit the needed marks — the chugging riffs, the drums breaks and plenty of James Hetfield’s signature “YEEEAAAH.”

Other thoughts:

  • What’s the best way to get a Metallica crowd excited? Remind them just why they came to the show in the first place; to get their asses kicked by Metallica. Comedian Jim Breuer (and to a lesser extent, Joe Sib) delivered that in spades. Having the comedian serve as the tour’s host/emcee was fairly brilliant. Here is a guy who is as big a Metallica fan as anyone in the room. Plus, he has stories to tell (his impression of Ozzy Osbourne ain’t bad either).
  • There was major love for Fresno at the Metallica merch booth, including a Bulldogs-themed T-shirt. The dog had a demon skull, obviously.
  • This might have been the time to buy into the VIP experience. There was a Metallica museum set up, apparently.
  • Where were all the heshers at? Or, do metalheads just not have long hair anymore?
  • Yes, there was a circle pit. And yes, it was ruled by a shirtless dude with a shaved head.

Setlist

Hardwired

Atlas, Rise

Seek and Destroy

Ride the Lightning

Welcome Home (Sanitarium)

Now That We’re Dead

Creeping Death

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Fade to Black

Hit the Lights

Fuel

Moth Into Flame

Sad But True

One

Master of Puppets

Encore

Spit out the Bone

Nothing Else Matters

Enter Sandman

  Comments