Metallica: Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Tuesday 18 June 2019

Bay Area thrashers return to UK shores.

San Francisco’s metal titans brought the latest leg of their tour in support of Hardwired…To Self-Destruct back to Manchester for a victory lap. Following on from 2017’s tech-savvy arena jaunt, this summer jaunt feels more stripped back. Just a huge screen with HD visuals and the mandatory pyro flanked the band.

Opening with the title track of their 2016 album, the band rifled straight into a glut of older tracks including the massive Memory Remains, complete with Marianne Faithful vocal and a 60.000 strong choir of fans.

“You look beautiful!” proclaims James Hetfield for the first of many compliments towards this wonderful city. God That Failed and Unforgiven from 1991’s mega-selling ‘Black’ album both allowed the band to warm up and ease into their repertoire. Kirk Hammett stalked the catwalk complete with glittery pink/purple Converse trainers with his nails adorned with black nail polish. Rob Trujillo complements Hammett perfectly as they goaded the crowd with their timeless playing. Their ‘doodle’ section broke down into a cover of Stone Roses I Wanna Be Adored. Some people loved it, and some people probably had no idea what it was; still, it sounded great.

Hetfield continued to compliment the Metallica ‘famileh!’ “We’re here to have fun,” he hollers as Here Comes Revenge is lifted from Hardwired with Hetfield in the centre of the stadium with the ever increasing heavy rain. Moth Into Flamed completed a brace of newer tracks with the latter being one of Metallica’s strongest songs in years. More thank you’s followed; “Looking at faces that f+cking love music…thank you from the band and crew – you pay good money and it’s appreciated.”

The band got heavy(er) with Sad But True (backed by some awesome visuals) and another nod towards Master of Puppets with Welcome Home (Sanitarium). This led nicely into Rob Trujillo playing solo bass in the unwavering downpour as images of the sadly departed Cliff Burton were projected to the masses.

Surprisingly, St Anger was aired which is from the album probably polarises most Metallica fans. The video to this single was really cool, and on this more than damp night, it sounded good. It was a nice curveball from a band that has never been afraid to mix things up. It felt a little flat for some (with some punters just taking a seat or a trip to the lavatory).

If anything, the punters choice of a break was probably needed as from here on in, Metallica showcased why they’re one of the biggest bands in the world. One, Master of Puppets, Creeping Death, For Whom The Bell Tolls and Seek & Destroy, back to back, was an unbelievable run of songs. The bombast of One with pyro for days, the march of For Whom The Bell Tolls and the bands signature in Seek & Destroy wowed the audience and ensured that the rain did nothing to dampen spirits. The band looked like they loved every second on stage in the rainy city. Seek & Destroy saw the band all out in the centre, including Lars, who could be seen on the screens hitting his drums through puddles of rain forming on his skins.

The encore opened with a forgettable Lords Of Summer before the monster hits, Nothing Else Matters and Enter Sandman. Images of the Union Jack, James’ unique Manchester guitar picks and more pyro polished off a solid night at the office for Metallica. The driving rain made for a special atmosphere; one that you rarely find in stadium shows. The determination of the four gentlemen with the biggest of metal songs drove on the crowd and the energy to deliver a real spectacle that was not reliant on stadium show gimmicks.

Metallica should also be commended for their continued philanthropy. Prior to the show, the band offered a donation of £40,000 to a local charity, Coffee4Craig as part of their All Within My Hands foundation. Photos, videos and setlist information can be found here.

Metallica can be found online here. They are also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Words by Dominic Walsh. You can read more from Dominic at his author’s archive here. Dominic tweets as @dtwalsh83, and blogs about living with mental health here.



Previous articleLast Hurrah for Chivalry / Hand of Death: Two Films by John Woo – review
Next articleIDLES announce Dec mini tour of big venues


  1. It was Absolutely One Hell of a night!! Unforgettable is an Understatement! And the Rain just made all the better ( I think that would be th first & Last time I could say that!! )
    Thankyou Metallica!!! For playing on in the rain.. For An Absolutely Amazing experience & with great people around us!
    My first time seeing the band ‘Live’..On a Stranger ‘s Shoulders haha Such a Brilliant Sport’ “Where are you ‘My mate ‘The Viking’ Nearly had a @larsulrich Drumstick!!! Only the security ‘BOY’ n front o us gave it to Two massive guys from Latvia, who already had one?!! Fair? I think not..I did fight to the death for it, It would’ve been a Dream come true! But since it was ‘Handed to him, I had to ‘Let go in the end :”( Guy needed up being cool! But #LarsUlrich if you see this..Contact me pleaaassee
    Thankyou #KirkHammett for coming over to the Far right side..That was Boss! And Rob too, James, A gentleman, #Metallica I Just couldn’t imagine a world without you!!
    Can’t wait until next time… ; ) ✌Much Love & Respect from you #UK Metallica Family’ ❤

  2. Sorry, So many typos in there I should have read it over..Although, It changed a few words a few times..did I run out of space I was thinking??..Sorry
    Great Review by the way!! ; )

  3. I could not agree more with your review. I was upfront – at the front of the stage that came out into the crowd – for the whole gig (including for Ghost who, I was surprised, were avsolute fun to watch). It was such an event that the elements aligned, it seemed, to enhance the show – just as well, as I had to surrender my body spray “it’s flammable,” they said! Talking of flammable, the pyro for One was so hot I thought I was gonna burn. It was by far the best I’ve seen them play (and I’ve been to a few of their gigs, being a fan for 36 years and seeing them play the Justice… tour in the late eighties). Another amazing thing about the show was seeing kids, with their parents loving it. Thank you Metallica for a cracking gig. Shame I didn’t manage to snag a plec, but next time maybe. \m/

    • Wasn’t ‘Somethin’Else’ I had to ‘Surrender’ my lil’ up opened 330ml Bottle of Evian ( The Bottle ) It could’ve been used as a Weapon apparently haha
      I bought a pink poncho , Put it down, or dropped it?? But instantly realised
      Went back to check, & it had gone!? I mean, Seriously?… Got another, But a clear one,
      But if only I’d had the pink one, I would be able to see us on Utube [ The Only thing it would’ve been any good for ] I did initially intended to make a Flag! But, No sleep for weeks trying to get tickets ( Experience ) & a Hotel.. JC!
      I actually found the 2 guys from Latvia I fought with for the drumstick ( I’ve marked it on ‘Metallica Mondays Utube video )
      I can’t see me though Literally Seconds after the shot, I would’ve been right next to them ( guy with the long hair putting his elbow out so no-one could get by the bar!?! “Boooo”
      You know. You get That cool lad who let me on his shoulders, to someone like that?? Not cool!
      I did manage to get a pick though, Which I’m thankful for. Still Devastated over that drumstick though. “Next time EVERYTHING Crossed & Wishful thinking. I mean, What are the chances??
      So, Again
      @LarsUlrich “You owe me one ”
      @PaulCoe \m/ I hope you get that plec’ ; )

  4. I was also on front row, between front barrier & walkway. I too have seen them 10+ times over the years, pretty much every time they’ve played Manchester. I’ve never seen their stadium show before, a couple of festival headlines apart. I thought tickets were dear but you can see where the money went- the spectacle of their stage show & roaming HD cameras was awesome. They never disappoint and don’t have ‘bad’ gigs, but this was one of if not the best gigs I’ve seen from them. It was all the better for their setlist, which included several of my favourite songs they’ve never played in Manchester before, disposable heroes unforgiven 1 & god that failed. I’ve seen backstage footage of them, lars has all previous set lists on a laptop & arranges each setlist to be different from previous gigs in that city. Not many bands can or do do that !! The whole gig is on YouTube as part of their ‘Metallica Monday’s’ series, and I recommend you watch it for it is indeed marvellous. Altogether an awesome spectacle & an epic gig. Check this out – if you freeze it at 1:53:50, that’s me !!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here