Metallica decided to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of their record Metallica, the so called Black Album, with a short european summer tour.
Back in 2006, they also celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Master Of Puppets, but this tour didn't get to France. This time for the Black Album, we had one concert here and it's the largest metal event in Paris for 2012.
Not long after the tickets were released, the concert was announced as sold-out. But more tickets went on sale a few days before the show, in order to break the black market. Hard to tell if the objective was achieved, but at least one could move easily inside the Stade de France. Finally, it wasn’t sold-out, but still filled with 74,000 people.
The Black Album is Metallica’s best selling record, so there were not only ”die hard fans” tonight, but also many occasional fans and curious people. Still, it’s a great achievement for Metallica as this was their largest concert in Paris ever. Nevertheless, ticket prices were high, even higher that a one-day ticket for a festival (even festivals headlined by Metallica). I think that for this price, the promoters could have invited other groups, beside Gojira and The Kills.
Metallica is the kind of band that likes to surprise the fans. Even when they’re supposed to be predictable, they’re not.
Since we were celebrating the Black Album, after the Ecstasy Of Gold intro, it seemed logical that the first chords of Enter Sandman would follow.
Wrong! The band started the set with Hit The Lights!
It was followed by the full version of Master of Puppets. This is normal nowadays, but during the Black Album tour of 1991-1993, only half of the song was played.
The band continued with some more Kill'em All: No Remorse! That was another cool surprise even though it wasn’t played in full: the middle part was missing, meaning a solo, a verse and one chorus.
After an excellent version of For Whom The Bell Tolls came another surprise: Hell And Back.
This tune from Beyond Magnetic was played live for the second time in history.
The song is quite slow and not so well known, so the crowd wasn’t that excited, but I think it was a privilege to hear it! Hell And Back was the only post-Black Album song Metallica performed tonight.
The band went backstage and the screens showed a short film about the recording of the Black Album and the tour that followed.
Logically, the band returned on stage to perform the entire record.
Would you expect Enter Sandman? Wrong again! They arrived on stage with The Struggle Within!
It was followed by My Friend Of Misery and The God That Failed. That’s right, they performed the entire Black Album in reverse order!
To me the highlights were The God That Failed, Don't Tread On Me, Wherever I May Roam, The Unforgiven and Sad But True.
The songs were performed perfectly but you really had to be in the mood for the Black Album in order to appreciate it.
Remember that back in '91, people was talking about the "end" of Metallica.
The Black Album is a great record, but not all the songs have the same power, especially compared with some previous records.
In fact, three songs from this record were never played live before this tour: The Struggle Within, My Friend Of Misery and Don’t Tread On Me.
In terms of atmosphere, it was very different depending on the place from where one was watching the show.
The quality of the sound, the crowd's response, and the way to see and appreciate the show depend a lot from where you see it.
In addition to the seated space, there were two different tickets for standing general admission, divided by a barrier.
But between the stage and the crowds there was a place called the Snakepit, a small pit between the stage a platform where about 200 VIPs, friends of the band, guests, fan club members and contest winners could see the concert.
That’s where I was and the atmosphere was great! We had a lot of space, no crowdsurfers and we just couldn’t be closer to the stage. In fact, we were surrounded by the stage!
I had the impression of attending a private Metallica concert, like the intimate show at the Trabendo in 2003, but with a large stage and a huge sound.
Enter Sandman was probably the most expected song of the evening, and they ended the Black Album part of the show with it.
The encores started with Battery, where the flames came out from behind the stage.
It was followed by One, and it’s usual war-like pyro.
The concert ended with a very festive version of Seek & Destroy, as the crowds played with dozens of Metallica balloons.
The band thanked the audience and said that they were proud to play their biggest concert in Paris right here, in the stadium where France won the ’98 soccer World Cup.
It’s also Paris’ largest concert venue so they really couldn't have done better than that!
As I left the stadium, I could hear many different comments. It went from "it was the concert of the year" to "Metallica is definitely over”. Well, at least this hasn’t changed that much in the last 20 years!
To me, hearing so many rare songs while being in the snakepit was an experience I'll never forget!
But after attending quite a few Metallica concerts, I loved the show but I cannot say that this one was the best.
Setlist Metallica – Stade de France – Saint Denis, near Paris, France – May 12 2011
Intro: The Ecstasy Of Gold (from The Good The Bad And The Ulgly)
01. Hit The Lights
02. Master Of Puppets
03. No Remorse
04. For Whom The Bell Tolls
05. Hell And Back
06. The Struggle Within
07. My Friend of Misery
08. The God That Failed
09. Of Wolf & Man
10. Nothing Else Matters
11. Through the Never
Don't Tread On Me
13. Wherever I May Roam
14. The Unforgiven
15. Holier Than Thou
16. Sad But True
17. Enter Sandman
20. Seek & Destroy