Metallica Shred Through Their Stripped Down Set at the Fonda
The Fonda Theater
Just one night after Metallica performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live, fans in Hollywood got another chance to witness the legendary group. Masses of fans waited in enormous lines and torrential downpour, for the chance to see the band perform a sold out concert at the Fonda Theater on Hollywood Blvd.
With no opening band, Metallica humbly took the stage just after 9:30 to a very loud, eager and rabid crowd, which filled the lower floor area and balcony section. The walls vibrated with the guitar riffs of both Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield, the dominating thunderous bass of Robert Trujillo and the stamina filled drums of Lars Ulrich. The band’s chemistry on stage was raging with electric energy, so much so you could almost see the sparks.
With over three decades worth of material including a new album, Hardwired to Self Destruct, one might imagine the difficulty a band such as Metallica has in choosing the set list. Despite the tendencies to play only old songs, Hetfield, Hammett, Ulrich and Trujillo created a set that was a fair representation of the band’s career.
One of the best parts about seeing Metallica at this point in the band’s career is the vitality exuded both from the band members and audience. There was enough kinetic energy from fist pumping and head banging, to provide power and light to all of Hollywood. Fans on the floor all mashed together inside the Fonda Theater, despite the wet weather outside, for one hell of a rock show.
Robert Trujillo provided the backdrop of the evening, with his thumping and echoing bass playing, walking around with it hanging at times, and others with the instrument nearly vertical. Doing his crab like walk throughout the night, you could feel each note and thud from the bass in your chest. Trujillo’s style of punk, funk, and thrash came out and was the perfect compliment that fit with Lars Ulrich’s drumming,
Ulrich was a madman behind the kit for the night’s performance, with his black beanie and short grey beard, you could really tell his kit was taking a heavy bashing. As much crap as some people talk about Ulrich as a drummer, his performance at the Fonda was stellar, and the best he’s been in years in terms of speed, clarity, timing, aggression and depth of sound. He was on fire, and never sounded so good live.
The best part of seeing Metallica in this venue was the raw, stripped down aspect to the production, meaning no fireworks, or huge screens, just the band, stripped down with instruments and microphones, a welcome exercise in simplicity which allowed the songs to speak for themselves, and allowed fans to enjoy and consume them in their purest form with no distractions.
The band took several very short breaks in between songs to change guitars, or introduce a song, but there was not much filler. Every direction was either a sea of cell phones, head bangers or the horns being thrown up. The majority of the night saw no mosh pit, except for several instances when a fans attempted to incite mayhem during classic songs like "Master of Puppets," "Metal Militia," "One’ and ‘Harvester of Sorrow." After a while the temperature began to rise in the venue with all the body heat; half way through the set both Hammett and Ulrich had switched to wearing black tank tops.
Whether you are a die hard fan who loves every album, or a purist who only listens to the band’s catalog pre Black Album, there is no denying the sheer raw talent and energy the band exudes, and after more than three decades, the energy level doesn’t seem to be depreciating, but the opposite.
Hetfield, Hammett, Trujillo and Ulrich are all truly ecstatic to be up there, and it is evident from the bursts of synchronistic movements, to the gleeful facial expressions; the band members are enjoying every second of their time on stage, all while retaining a clear sense of humility throughout.
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Metallica weren’t the first heavy metal band, but it isn’t hard to figure out why they are one of the genre’s most important acts whose music has spanned generations and still influences and inspires musicians around the world. Concert goers in Hollywood got their money's worth for the night. All in all including a three song encore performance, fans at the Fonda were treated to just over 90 minutes of heavy metal music l from a band whose name is synonymous with the sound and genre.
Sad But True
Fade To Black
Harvester of Sorrow
Moth Into Flame
Master of Puppets
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Whisky in the Jar
Seek and Destroy
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