A Metallica summer stadium tour.
Hundreds of thousands of rabid metal fans across the United States and Canada, downing case after case of Budweiser and Coors Light, tailgating in parking lots in black tee shirts next to vehicles adorned with Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, and Anthrax bumper stickers, the tinny sounds of “Master of Puppets,” “The Four Horsemen,” “Harvester of Sorrow,” “Enter Sandman,” and “Spit Out the Bone” ejecting from factory default car speakers, through windows that are fogged up with marijuana smoke.
It’s a pretty, metal picture, albeit, one probably mostly from a bygone age. The fans of this summer’s Metallica stadium tour are just as likely to be respectable fifty-something’s or 14-year-old middle-school girls as they are to be die-hard twenty-something metalheads. When you’ve been around for more than 35 years, like Metallica has, and are more popular than you’ve ever been, you tend to draw multiple demographics.
Regardless of who is filling those stadium parking lots during this summer’s tour, Metallica is returning to the road in the ‘States, something they haven’t done in earnest for almost a decade, and that’s enough cause for celebration.
Now, the question is, what can the fans expect from Metallica’s summer stadium tour? The last time Metallica played a full stadium lineup was in 2003, post St. Anger. Since then, the band has mostly stuck to festivals and smaller, one-off gigs, sporadically in North America, but more often than not in Europe and elsewhere abroad. Metallica’s latest album, Hardwired… to Self Destruct, has been very well received by both fans and critics alike, and as such, the band has decided to hit stadiums again this summer. For a band that has been around for going on four decades, the question is, what can Metallica do differently to really wow the fans?
For some foreshadowing of the upcoming Metallica stadium tour, maybe we can look at a few very recent shows the band had done in Asia, specifically in South Korea, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore. All of these shows were played before monstrous crowds, and might be seen as a “warm up” for the ensuing summer stadium tour.
In each of these shows, Metallica opened with their usual “Ecstasy of Gold” intro music from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, accompanied by the footage of Tuco (“The Ugly”) searching the wild west graveyard – none of which should be a surprise to any seasoned Metallica fan. Next, the beginning of the title track from Metallica’s new album, “Hardwired… to Self Destruct,” can be heard, pre-recorded, as images reflecting the album’s artwork flash across the screen. After several measures of pre-recorded music, the band kicks in. Metallica has been following up the show opening “Hardwired” with “Atlas, Rise,” before descending into their extensive backlist of classics.
What is definitely going to be interesting is how many songs from their latest album that Metallica is bound to play on their summer stadium tour. Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, said that fans have uncharacteristically been begging for new stuff on the tour in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“The biggest surprise of the first couple of months post-Hardwired is how much the fans are demanding new songs.In 35 years of being in this band, I’ve never heard the phrase, ‘Play more new songs.’ It’s just not something that you hear, being in a rock and roll band in 2017!”
The Metallica drummer went on to say that “Spit Out the Bone” has been an early favorite with fans, prompting many to believe that the bone-crushing tune will be a staple of the stadium tour’s encore list.
And then there is the Gaga factor. Over several interviews since the Grammy Awards, Lars has been expounding on the band’s infatuation with the singer’s love of hard rock music, and has left the door wide open for Lady Gaga to appear with them whenever her schedule allows.
Summer heat. Stadiums throbbing with metal intensity. New Songs. Chance guest appearances.
It’s going to be a fun tour for Metallica fans.
[Featured Image by Charley Gallay/Getty Images]