On a steamy Wednesday on the 5th of July in Orlando, Florida, hundreds lined up for their first crack at gaining front row access for Metallica’s triumphant return to the Sunshine state as early as 6AM. After twelve hours of baking in the sun, Volbeat and Avenged Sevenfold took the stage and anticipation grew as the giant stage setup was finally unfurled for the fans. The crowd howled along with the chorus to Clint Eastwood’s The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly’s theme, “The Ecstasy Of Gold” as Metallica came on stage as the giant LCD screens exploded in color and pyro special effects. The one-two punch of new songs “Hardwired” and “Atlas, Rise!” set the early tone but it wasn’t until “For Whom The Bell Tolls” that everyone remembered why Metallica is still the ultimate metal act going today. James Hetfield told the crowd, “We don’t give a shit about your political views, age, gender, or race, you’re here tonight!” A quick survey by Hetfield found that a good quarter of the audience was seeing the band live for the first time! The Metallica setlist didn’t stray from the previous nights on the tour. Five tracks from the new album, the four big hits from the Black Album, and the classics, Master Of Puppets, Fuel, One, and Fade To Black. But every MetallicA show is unique and they added some exciting surprises for the Central Florida fans.
“FUEL” Orlando July 5, 2017
Four giant red drums were brought to center stage as each band member joined in a group drum solo for an extended version of “Now That We’re Dead”. During “Halo On Fire”, Robert Trujillo and Kirk Hammett came down to the Snake Pit for a duel solo that segued into a Cliff Burton tribute as Trujillo played an inspired version of “Anesthesia”. An eight year old fan next to the largest mosh pit was spotted by Hetfield and after an exchange together, James dedicated “Sad But True” to the lucky fan! The band played clips from their 3-D film “Through The Never” as they ripped into “Fade To Black”. “Hit The Lights” featured a swirling fireball that accompanied Kirk’s guitar solo. For the final song before the encore, they set up a mini-stage on the edge of the giant oval walkway and declared it was a copy of their “Garage Days Revisited” era. As the audience roared, the speed metal riffs of “Seek And Destroy” ended the opening set.
Hoping to hear my favorite Metallica song, “Battery” in the encore but they pulled a setlist switch and powered through “Fight Fire With Fire”. Giant fire balls exploded off the side of the stage that practically singed the eyebrows of any fans in the side seats. “Nothing Else Matters” and “Enter Sandman” closed the show as 50,000 fans chanted “off to Never Never land” in unison. Despite some stadium issues, Camping World Stadium in Orlando continues to struggle with their ridiculous parking situation that delayed many fans missing the opening acts, Metallica put on an amazing massive show that thrilled the longtime fans and added new converts to the mix.
“THANK YOU ORLANDO” – Nothing Else Matters
**My friends’ sons are seen in the video banging on the fence to get in!
Original pictures by Mike Pease for Mikedailyjukebox.com