Metallica Concert Review 2019 - Birmingham, AL BJCC WorldWired Tour
By: Karl & Tonya from When It Was Cool (@wiwcool)
Nowhere did we see that comedian Jim Breuer was the opening act for Metallica for their January 22, 2019 stop at the Birmingham, AL BJCC Legacy Arena on the WorldWired Tour. So, imagine our surprise when we arrived expecting a concert to begin at 7:30pm that didn’t start until a quarter until nine. So, things didn’t get off to the best of starts. Also, mind you, that I-20 closed the day before directly in front of the BJCC turning Birmingham traffic into a dystopian nightmare. Things were off to a rocky start but I saw Metallica at this same arena in 1989 on the …And Justice For All tour and it was amazing so, Metallica please save us now.
After Jim Breuer stalled seeming forever in what was more of a pep rally for Metallica than a comedy set (I should point out that only after searching diligently this morning did I discover that Breuer was the scheduled opening act all along) Metallica finally took the stage and ripped through a setlist that was a mix of both old and new in a set that lasted over two hours of blistering heavy metal.
We had searched up setlists from a few previous stops on the WorldWired tour but the Birmingham show changed a few up by adding some more modern era songs and a couple of old school deep cuts from the Metallica catalog. The stage set up was pretty minimal but that’s a good thing. The focus was on the band who played in the round with all members playing to the entire audience and Lars Ulrich drum kit planted in the middle occasionally rotating to face the audience on every side. There was a nice and non-distracting collage of video screens above the stage, occasional pyrotechnics, and an amazing swarm of drones to accompany Moth Into Flame from the Hardwired… to Self Destruct album.
The show kicked off with Hardwired and Atlas, Rise then gave way to three Metallica classics: Seek & Destroy, The Memory Remains, and The Unforgiven. Seek & Destroy is, of course, a long time staple of a Metallica concert and a fan sing-a-long favorite. It was also played to virtual perfection. The crowd also appeared to enjoy singing Marianne Faithfull’s part to The Memory Remains and The Unforgiven was one of Metallica’s biggest hits.
Then we get a couple more Hardwired… to Self Destruct songs: Now That We’re Dead and Dream No More. Now That We’re Dead featured an interesting and fun drum-along sequence with the entire band drumming on some stage props. James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo may or may not have kept better time than Lars Ulrich. Settle down, I’m just joking. Lars was fine and the band was tight and played as heavy, loud, and amazing as ever. They’re probably as good or better than they’ve ever been.
Metallica then played a four song run of old favorites including an early career surprise that I had not seen in early setlists: For Whom the Bell Tolls, Welcome Home (Sanitarium), The Four Horsemen (the surprise), and Creeping Death.
Moth Into Flame was the last “new” song from the Hardwire… to Self Destruct album and this song featured a tremendous mini-drone light display.
The rest of the show was filled out by Metallica fan favorites: Sad But True (played a little slower and heavier and a highlight of the show), One (an absolutely tremendous performance), and Master of Puppets.
The encore featured three great Metallica classics: Battery, Nothing Else Matters, and the grand finale was, obviously, Enter Sandman.
The set was heavy, loud, and fun. Everyone seemed to be playing at the top of their game. This was my first time seeing Robert Trujillo live (Jason Newsted was the bassist when I saw them thirty years ago) and he brings a great live energy to the show. During one fun part of the set an attempt was made to play Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd… an attempt. Also, we got a little bit of Black Sabbath Ironman by Robert Trujillo (who formerly played with Ozzy Osbourne) and Kirk Hammett.
All in all it was a great set and a fun night even if the opening act comedian was unexpected (he was funny just unexpected). Lots of energy and veteran Metallica fans will love this setlist.
Fans of Metallica and heavy metal music need to check the NoFriender Thrash Metal Show Podcast hosted right here at When It Was Cool. Show host, NoFriender, takes a look at the origins and evolution of thrash style heavy metal and many of his episodes have dealt with (obviously) Metallica.
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