Errols Weekly Music Update.

November 15, 2009

Concert Review: Metallica at Madison Square Garden on Sat. Nov. 14, 2009

Concert Review: METALLICA at Madison Square Garden on Saturday November 14, 2009.

“It’s METALLICA…. Then everyone else.”

It’s Metallica weekend here in New York and they owned the greatest stage in the entire world last night at the legendary Madison Square Garden. It seems like it’s been an awfully long time since they have been at the Garden, at least ten years (obviously not counting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concerts a couple of weeks ago that they participated in). A lot has happened over that time and sometimes you can start to think that there are other bands out there that put on the best live performances. Well Metallica is back to remind everyone that it is them first, then everyone after that. Folks I’m telling you that last night’s performance was the best I have EVER seen them (and I have been to at least twelve of their shows dating back to 1986). They were so tight, so phenomenally talented and I know everyone who was at the show last night will agree-there were times when it felt like the Garden was shaking. There were two songs performed last night that will forever go down in the history of the Garden as moments one can never forget- “Master of Puppets” and “Enter Sandman” was two of the most unbelievable highlights that I have ever witnessed on that stage. The total frenzy created by James, Lars, Kirk and Rob was a sight to behold. There is nothing like a Metallica show and if you have never seen them live, you are totally missing out on a once in a lifetime moment every time that they take the stage, it can happen at any moment.

Let me take you through the day, my wife had to work and I had the house to myself as me and the boys were cleaning up. Forget the I-Pod today, the stereo went on and the volume was on extra high as I head-banged myself into a dizzy state as “Death Magnetic” was bringing down the walls. On the car ride in to meet my brother Rich and his wife, Joann, along with my cousin Jennifer with her husband Mike (all three except my brother were seeing them for the first time) I kept rotating between “And Justice..” “The Black Album,” “Kill ‘Em All” and “Master” with heavy volume all the way. I past a stretch limo and they must have seen me head banging because they rolled down the window and gave me the “\m/ \m/” sign. We met at the usual spot-Harrington’s-which was also blasting “Death Magnetic.” After eating there we walked into the Land of Oz, but not before we had to stop and get some T-Shirts/posters. Again with no offense to the opening bands- Volbeat and Lamb of God- but we were there to see the Masters.There was a long pre-game set-up after Lamb of God exited the stage and right about 9:00 p.m. I was getting a little antsy. The stage was set up right in the middle of Madison Square Garden, so no one really had a bad seat. It was an elevated stage, say about 5-6 steps high. The stage was in the shape of a rectangle with four microphone stands in each corner as well as two additional stands for the “long” part of the rectangle. Lars’ drum set was dead smack in the middle as it rested on a circular moving floor below it as he turned to all four sides of the Garden throughout the night, giving each section 25% of him facing them. The floor was gray, sliced up into squares and rectangles but also included these black blotches, which I explain a little later on. Attached to each side of Lars drum set were these black squares with circles in them (think a cannon inside a block) that ran the length of the stage. Overhead were four replica “funeral caskets” in each corner (which is portrayed on the album cover of “Death Magnetic”) that would creep down closer to them as they played. There were lights all along the floor of the stage as well as above them. The stage was surrounded by the metal guardrails used by the NYC Police department when there are parades and they were slanted at an angle so as to keep the fans at bay. Also included for the first time since I have been attending shows were members of a security team which were positioned inside these gates, standing approximately 3-4 feet apart from each other. Can you imagine? They were closer to Metallica than when the boys would add a “pit” on the stage back in the day and allow fans on the stage with them. (All you saw were arms reaching up to them back then, last night these guys were standing inside the fence and they reminded me of the London guards who are not allowed to smile as patrons take all kinds of photos of them). Anyway back to the action, right around 9:15 or so there was a prelude of “Ecstacy of Gold” as the anticipation was about to be over. Metallica was finally back where they belong- their home away from home- New York- on a Saturday night with a rabid bunch that was foaming at the mouth. As the “symphony” atmosphere ended then the lights went out and there is the heartbeat as you know “That Was Just Your Life” is ready to explode. As Lars smashed his drums in the beginning as Kirk, James and Rob were waiting in the wings and then BAM!!!! -Fast heavy guitars with the pounding of the drums and everyone’s heads. As James starts to sing there is this incredible laser light show that is going on all around him. The lights were “sprayed on” like those crazy cans that shoot out that stuff for Halloween. It seemed like the laser lights formed snakes surrounding James feet as he feverously played guitar while keeping on top of the vocals. From my vantage point, all I could see was James as the others appeared to be roaming the stage but they were in darkness as the spotlight seemed to be on James. There were so many different colors it really was spectacular as I thought to myself, man this is really high tech stuff for Metallica but then again nothing these guys can do surprises me anymore. Is there a better song to kick off the show than this one? Then like the album- the “one-two punch” continued with the knock down drag out “The End of the Line”- the lights now illuminated the rest of the band as the stop and go breakneck speed of this song got me so psyched I didn’t know what to do with myself. “You Reached the end of the line” growls James as the Garden faithful are already in 5th gear as Kirk, Rob and James continue to just hit every side of the stage and roam freely. Rob Trujillo is a beast; he was like a human spider. Think about most bass players you know-they appear to be so stiff and just stand there up right- not Rob- he gets down so low that I guarantee that he can win any limbo contest out there. He is in phenomenal shape to be able to do what he does and that goes for the rest of the band. No one plays like Metallica- like I said- “It’s Metallica.. then everyone else..”

James welcomes everyone to the show and thanks the crowd for supporting them as the familiar guitar licks for “Whom the Bells Toll” begins and the energy was at a fever pitch- I swear the upper section- the “400” section seats- were moving, it felt like an earthquake. I couldn’t believe it, could it get any better?!!! As I looked around the Garden and then at the boys I immediately knew right then and there that they were at the top of their game and this was going to be a night to remember. Towards the end of the song Lars stood up while he was playing and my jaw hit the floor, this guy is so awesome, so unbelievably fast but yet so technical that it is eye opening. The breakneck speed was actually turned up another notch as “Holier than Thou” had so many people snapping their necks that I wouldn’t be surprised if some chiropractors have an increase in patients on Monday morning. Kirk Hammett is so freaking out of this world good but he plays it very cool as he strolls around and it appears that he does it so effortlessly. Remember those “black” spots I told you about on the floor, well before “One” begins we all find out that it is the place where all the flames shoot out from, talk about your pyrotechnics, the stage actually looked like it was on fire. And again this is their “staple” which has to be played at all their shows and no matter how many times you hear it- it still has to move you. As the crowd prepares for the fast part I am doing the “Wayne’s World” bow- “we are not worthy”- as the blistering guitar riffs pierce every one’s ears, those box like figures lined up in front and behind Lars starts to spit out the highest controlled flame and the color wasn’t even red- again I’m speechless. As the 18,000 fans sang in unison “darkness imprisoning me.. all that I see.. absolute horror.. I cannot live..” I am in complete and udder amazement- by this song I knew it was the best concert of 2009. (Forget it don’t even try to tell me about anyone else). James then takes some time to talk to the crowd and asks the people to raise their hands if it was the first time that they were seeing Metallica live. Many people raised their hands and that put a smile on my face as one of my goals in life is to get everyone in the world to see them live, so now that number is down a bit. Anyways there were a smattering of “boos” and James quickly told them not to boo as he said we should all welcome them into the “family of Metallica.” I say the more the merrier and welcome ‘Tallica brethren. After a few new songs which again included that phenomenal laser light show for “Cyanide” James thanked the two opening bands for carrying the torch of bringing heavy music to the world. Then he dedicated a “heavy” song to them- “Sad but True”- and its amazing what time can do because now that song is being treated the way it was intended to- as a classic metal song that holds up to their earlier catalog of songs. At the end of this song, Rob has a small bass solo and at this point he is totally saturated- as the rest of us were. They take things down a bit with a Bob Seger classic-“Turn the Page” which everyone seemed to know.

Then it was on to one of the highlights of the show, the performance of “All Nightmare Long.” I’m telling you folks –“Death Magnetic” is a phenomenal album and this track is definitely one of the standouts. Part of the song belonged to both Rob and Lars as Trujillo jumped up almost on the drum set and was jamming with Lars. At this point I wanted to leave my seat and head down stairs for the many different mash pits that were forming down below. (If I wasn’t so small I’d head in but I want to live). Kirk’s solo was righteous. After playing “The Day that Never Comes” the Garden blasted off to the moon as the opening licks to “Master of Puppets” (Mike knew he was in for a long song as he asked “Is there any song that is less than 8 minutes?”) and again I could swear that the Garden was shaking. I’m telling you right now when the house lights illuminated the crowd as everyone were out of their minds; I thought I was on another planet. This is what music is supposed to do to you- “Master!!! Master!!!!” At one point all three members surrounded Lars and it really reminded me of the small stage that the 1968 Elvis had with his band members in his comeback special on NBC TV. Metallica is the “Elvis” of their genre. Folks, the crowd was actually singing/hummingKirk’s guitar solo-again something I have never heard. Then if that wasn’t enough to knock out the Garden fans, the blistering “Fight Fire With Fire” really seemed to bring in the walls. As I looked over the stage it appeared to me that the band was under a microscope with all the equipment above and when the caskets moved down it was like a mad scientist was looking through the microscope and saw all these people basically breaking out of their skin to the ear shattering “Fight.” At this point I wondered how these guys do these shows, this is not your father’s band-these guys beat themselves up physically to deliver the goods every time- it is simply amazing the energy they have. Whew, at this point I am out of breath and luckily they take it down with the splendid “Nothing Else Matters.” At first Kirk played a guitar entry but then James came out sat down at the edge of the stage and did the song with just the guitar. I could feel the sweat dripping off the back of my hair on to my neck and I was glad that they took it down. But you know it wasn’t going to last, right? As I previously mentioned they performed “Enter Sandman” at a level that I have never seen them reach. And believe me; this song is always on their set list. I don’t know what it was but it was the best rendition I have ever heard them play. Again when the house lights hit and showed everyone thrusting their fists above their heads, it was a sight I will never forget. As they exited, we all knew they were coming back I again had to do the “Wayne’s World” bow as I was completely blown away by their performance.

They didn’t let the crowd wait too long as the beginning of the “Frayed Ends of Sanity” began even the fans who don’t know Metallica recognize the opening because it was featured in the “Wizard of Oz.” “Ooh Wee Ooh, Ooh Ooh.. Ooh Wee Ooh, Ooh Ooh..” as Lars was playing the drum part with just his feet and egging the crowd to sing louder. They paid homage to “Diamond Head” as they performed a cover of “Helpless” and this song really moves, the bass line felt like my chest was going to crack it was so loud. Lars was also a beast and he really shined on this track. James asked the crowd if they wanted anything from “Kill ‘Em All” and they laced into “Whiplash.” At this point it was like Metallica in 1984 all over again as the “mash pits” again broke out all over the Garden. From our vantage point we could see the crew bringing out these huge boxes and I could see the huge “beach balls” ready to go. As James thanked the crowd, he asked if everyone could give it their all as he wanted the house lights turned on as they were going to play their last song-“Seek and Destroy.” As they released the balls, they looked like over sized black bowling balls and they completely engulfed the stage and surrounded Lars as he was trying to play. Rob, James and Kirk each kicked the huge balls into the crowd. The lower level did all they could to send the balls higher but could not because they appeared too heavy. As I looked around the Garden, a smile came across my face as I knew I just witnessed another fantastic night in the history of the palace of 34th street. The crowd was having a blast with the music as well as the over-sized beach balls. As the show ended, the boys soaked up the adoration from the loyal fans of Metallica as they all walked around the stage taking bows and waving to the crowd. Lars then took the mike and said a few words and thanked everyone for coming out. No Lars, Thank you, Thank you James, Kirk and Rob. You guys tore it up and proved to everyone out there that “It’s Metallica… then everyone else…”

Set List:

Prelude: (Ecstacy of Gold)

1.          That Was Just Your Life

2.          The End of the Line

3.          For Whom the Bell Tolls

4.          Holier than Thou

5.          One

6.          Broken, Beat and Scarred

7.          Cyanide

8.          Sad But True

Short Trujillo Solo

9.           Turn The Page (Bob Seger)

10.        All Nightmare Long

Short Hammett Solo

11.        The Day that Never Comes

12.        Master of Puppets

13.        Fight Fire With Fire

Hammett short solo again

14.        Nothing Else Matters

15.        Enter Sandman


Opening verse of “Frayed Ends of Sanity”

16.        Helpless (Diamond Head)

17.        Whiplash

18.        Seek & Destroy



  1. My brother nailed the review down to a tea…I can say that of all the times I’ve seen Metallica there was none better than last night at the garden…the proof was seeing my wife Joann sing along to every song…when Enter Sandman came on she had to get a closer look so she ran down the steps for a better view (the smile and energy on her face said it all when she returned)

    The boys were at the top of there art last night…and the roar of the crowd last night was a clear indicator that Metallica still rule the Metal gods.

    Comment by Rich — November 15, 2009 @ 7:27 pm

  2. My brother made me feel as if I was at the show. You can really sense how much he enjoyed the show by his description of the details.

    Comment by Graig — November 16, 2009 @ 12:26 pm

  3. The show was not introed by The Unforgiven III; they play a recording of Ennio Morricone’s “The Ecstasy of Gold” to open the show and have done so since 1983.

    Comment by Lauren — November 16, 2009 @ 12:31 pm

  4. Don’t know if I’m just crazy but I could swear they speeded up the tempos on all thier older songs…especially the slower ones like Sad But True and Nothing Else Matters. Sorta makes sense in keeping with the faster pace of all the songs on Death Magnetic, but for someone like me who’s been listening to Metallica my whole life it was wierd to hear those songs played at a different tempo.

    btw completely agree Master and Enter Sandman were mindblowingly awesome. Woulda liked to see them give a shout to Mariano Rivera on Sandman, but hey they’re probably Angels fans anyway!

    Comment by NYC_Harley — November 16, 2009 @ 2:38 pm

  5. Thank you for this read. I’m sitting here at my desk, feeling like ass, trying to relive in my mind what was one of the greatest nights of my life and you nailed it perfectly. I’m glad it wasn’t just me who thought it was the best I’ve seen them. I brought two friends of mine who were casual Metallica fans, and big fans of music in general, and both said it was the best concert they’ve ever seen and aren’t sure they’ll ever see a better one. I was in the 400 level and I can attest that it surely was shaking. Never experienced anything like it, and may never again. I’ll remember Metallica in the Garden 11.14.09 for the rest of my life.

    Comment by AJ — November 16, 2009 @ 3:11 pm

  6. Correction to your setlist. The prelude wasn’t the Unforgiven III, it was the Ecstacy of Gold from “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly”. Metallica has been using that song as their entrance music since the late 80s.

    Comment by Dave — November 16, 2009 @ 7:15 pm

  7. The prelude isn’t “Unforgiven III”, its “Ecstacy of Gold”, which has been their intro since their first shows in ’83.

    Comment by Nabz — November 16, 2009 @ 7:50 pm

    • Sorry about that, Thanks for the correction

      Comment by ea0217 — November 16, 2009 @ 9:09 pm

  8. I agree with you all….the 2 Garden shows were my 8th and 9th shows dating back to 1998 and they were BY FAR my favorite Metallica shows! AMAZING….I actually liked Sunday better….anyone else agree?

    Comment by bhaas1375 — November 16, 2009 @ 11:45 pm

    • METALLICA…..2 nights at MSG….AWESOMEEEEEEEEEEEEE!….We had so much fun! …..
      I agree …I liked Sunday better but both night was AWESOMEEEEEEEEEEE!

      James rocksssssssssssss!!!!!

      Comment by Daniela — November 18, 2009 @ 12:25 am

  9. Great review my friend! Glad I was apart of this amazing show and clearly you were glad too!

    Comment by John — November 17, 2009 @ 1:19 am

  10. I am so glad that i was fortunate enough to be able to have Metallica be my first metal concert. He’s not kidding about the 400 Section seeming to vibrate. I was up there and the view was spectacular. When the night started with E.O.G, I could feel the balcony itself swaying very slightly. And forget it, when M.O.P came…I thought the thing was gonna collapse. The energy is something else. I kept thinking “Im not really here…this is a dream”. It felt so surreal, but then my eyes and ears were assaulted with the sights and sounds of a true METAL concert, and it was then, when I knew that i was experiancing something life changing. Thank you, Metallica.

    Loyal soilder of the Metal Militia

    Comment by Victor VonWolfolk III — November 17, 2009 @ 5:24 am

  11. Errol – great write up. You amaze me more and more everytime I read your passionate reviews. Keep them coming. Sorry I missed the concert — Melinda and I would have had a blast.


    Comment by Rosanna — November 17, 2009 @ 10:20 am

  12. I was there Saturday…..I had to be there Sunday too…. it was AMAZING! I dind’t feel this good in so long if ever…

    I agree…. “It’s Metallica… then everyone else…”

    JAMES I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Daniela — November 17, 2009 @ 1:41 pm

  13. Does anyone have the setlist for the show on the 15th?

    Comment by Chris — November 19, 2009 @ 8:11 pm

    • Here you go, the 15th….

      1. That Was Just Your Life

      2. The End Of The Line

      3. Creeping Death

      4. The Shortest Straw

      5. Fade To Black

      6. Broken, Beat And Scarred

      7. My Apocalypse

      8. Sad But True

      9. One

      10. The Judas Kiss

      11. The Day That Never Comes

      12. Master Of Puppets

      13. Dyers Eve

      14. Nothing Else Matters

      15. Enter Sandman


      16. Last Caress

      17. Trapped Under Ice

      18. Seek and Destroy

      (minus one thing, the solos, sorry…)

      Comment by lady — November 20, 2009 @ 9:14 pm

  14. Good write-up of a fantastic show. The energy in the Garden that night was incredible, and I was amazed at the end of the show: even after guitars were handed over and equipment was being packed up they stayed onstage almost 10 minutes, thanking the crowd, waving, shaking hands, flinging guitar picks, etc. In almost 100 concerts over 28 years I’ve never seen a band hang around like that after a show, just taking it all in.

    Comment by Christopher — November 20, 2009 @ 11:18 pm

  15. i wasn’t there (unfortunately), but i saw them on oct. 1 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. all of their shows are unique, and all are the best. i watched a lot of recordings from different shows on youtube, and they all have the same format. however, when u’re actually there, it’s mind blowing, absolutly amazing. my wife have seen them before, however at the end of the show she was speechless. i think from now on i’ll do my best never to miss a show that will be performed around my home area.
    the reason they had security around the stage now is that they wouldn’t want any intruders, or better said casualties (like it happened to James somewhere in the beginning on ’90) when all those pyrotechnics get fired up.
    Thank You METALLICA

    Comment by dorin — November 25, 2009 @ 8:02 pm

  16. Authentic words, some truthful words man. You rocked my day!!

    Comment by Schnarchen Blog — December 9, 2009 @ 3:48 am

  17. It’s my dream to some day see Metallica on some legendary stage like Madison Square Garden. Fortunately, I was able to see them on this same tour as you did, but here in Finland. And, I think they’re still the biggest band on the world. At least on stage! (:


    Junssi the Metallica Discography Guy

    Comment by jubakala — July 27, 2010 @ 8:25 am

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