|» Metallica 2007 07 12||
Opening for Metallica on this European tour hasnt been all sunshine for HIM, and thats not only because were seeing really bad weather at the moment. There have been reports that on the Wembley-gig, for example, a large number of the audience turned their backs on the band during their performance, and several things were apparently thrown towards Ville Valo. This kind of retarded behaviour is luckily mostly absent from the show in Stockholm, even if there is the occasional flying object seen around the Finnish superstars.
Then again, HIM isnt exactly a band that you associate with Metallica, even if Valo has hinted that the upcoming album Venus Doom is partially inspired by Master Of Puppets. Which means that they feel rather misplaced on a stage that is obviously too big for them to fill. Sure, the new song Dead Lovers Lane clearly shows new sides of HIM (the song is rather long and contains heavier parts and a solo) but the old material never really takes off in this context and hardly impresses the ordinary guy who came to see Metallica.
The tour has obviously taken its toll on the band members, who look gloomier than ever. Ville Valo himself mostly looks uninterested, as if hes waiting for the whole thing to end, and he also occasionally delivers really poor vocals. No, if there was something positive about the show, it was the new songs, which except for Dead Lovers Lane also included Passions Killing Floor and the single Kiss Of Dawn. These tracks hint that it might be worth checking out the band the next time theyre in town, after all. But this time it felt like HIM were on the wrong place at the wrong time.
5 chalices of 10
The preparations for Metallicas first arrival in Stockholm in nine years could have been better. Rain, rain and even more rain. But as the start of the concert was approaching, the dark clouds started to drift away more and more, which secretly made me dream about an evening just as magical as a certain one in Gothenburg three summers ago. You see, it always feels special when the greatest metal band ever (something I am not the only one who thinks, obviously) is performing in your home country. And yes, once again Metallica proves that they play in a division of their own.
The band sets the bar high right after the customary Ennio Morricone-intro Ecstasy Of The Gold has faded out, as they open with Creeping Death followed by For Whom The Bell Tolls possibly my two favourite Metallica-songs of all time. Quite brilliant, of course. The only bad part is the sound volume, which doesnt seem to be cranked up to eleven, if you know what I mean. Its not until the fourth song, the Master Of Puppets-track Disposable Heroes, that everything falls into place. Which is rather ironic, given that I have always preferred Ride The Lightning to Master Of Puppets. It might just be my imagination, but during this thrash-monster of a song the volume seems to reach that perfect level you rarely get to hear, and it stays that way throughout the rest of the show.
The stage is sparsely decorated, with the grey Sick of the studio-banner as the foundation and two separate floors, but it all still looks really classy. There are three screens, two big ones on each side and an enormous one as a backdrop behind the band, which mostly projects images of what is happening in the venue. The whole thing is best used in the Cliff Burton-tribute Orion, when James, Kirk and Robert stand on the second floor with a barren wasteland on the backdrop behind them. The eight minute long instrumental conveys many different moods, and the screen seamlessly moves along with it, showing clouds, sunsets and lightening bolts. Very powerful. And while were discussing the visual aspect of the show, everybody that has been to a Metallica-concert knows that the intro to One is always rather special. There is machinegun fire, fireworks and really loud bombs which probably made people outside the stadium fear that Stockholm was suddenly at war.
A concert with Metallica rarely becomes predictable thanks to their large back catalogue. Ten songs are new in the set list since the Gothenburg-show three years ago, for example. There is always a certain dynamic as well, with long and complex pieces like Fade To Black and Master Of Puppets sharing the stage with shorter, sing-along hits like The Unforgiven and Sad But True. The inclusion of No Leaf Clover is rather surprising and sounds really emotionally charged, and it also comes with its bombastic orchestrated intro from the S&M-album. Its actually quite a shame that there is no time for any more songs from the infamous Load-Reload era, especially as The Memory Remains becomes such an arena-beast with the help of the audience. You kind of want to hear more of those tracks in this context. I could go on about missing songs, that it is a crime to leave out classics like Blackened, Battery and Damage Inc. But then again, there are no songs in this particular set list that I would want to be without either.
One thing that strikes me about Metallica is that they still seem to love what theyre doing. Even when theyre playing worn-out but at the same time completely necessary classics like Nothing Else Matters or Enter Sandman there is no lack of energy or joy. And when the guys remain on the stage for a long time after Seek And Destroy has disappeared into the breezy summer night, there is genuine love between the fans and the band. Lars Ulrich gets the final word. In Danish he says something like: We will see you soon again, we have an LP coming out next year!. We can only hope that Metallica havent had too much fun on this tour, because then they will probably never go back into the studio to complete that damn album.
10 chalices of 10