Words & Photos by Scott Murry
On Wednesday night, a bitter cloud hovered over Île Notre Dame, merging with its fellow storm cloud of rage. A heavy shower doused the heavy music fans that awaited Metallica to bring their WorldWired Tour. Soaked and steamy, fans were not deterred to see their metal gods. With 45 minutes until their stage time, the sky cleared, and a beautiful warm hue filled the park. While clouds and thunder might be more metal, a prismacolor atmosphere makes for a better show. The Canadian fans began to cheer “oh-eh” in the tune of “olé.”
Crunching chords and Kirk Hammett’s screeching medleys were soon drowning out the cheers as Metallica introduced the new album Hardwired … To Self-Destruct. For a band with such longevity and adorned tracks out-aging half of the audience, the positive reception of new material must feel good. “We love Hardwired, and hope you do too. Don’t worry … we still have old songs to play too.” Loads of fans sang along to “Moth to the Flame” right after, which lead ax-lord James Hetfield introduced as a track about the dangers and absurdities of fame. Despite reports of him and Hammett “feuding riffs” they played side by side and appeared to be loving it. As they shred I wonder … did they influence Yo Yo Ma’s epic solos or vice versa?
James growled “obey” during the 1986 track “Master of Puppets.” Standing in an ever-stoic pose on a massive 50+ ft. stage of lights flanked in the band’s signature “M” and “A,” I think it’s working. Shirtless dudes with long manes yelled into each other’s faces, feeling on top of the world in that moment. Throughout the set, Hetfield graciously thanked the crowd for being with them after so many years. An altruistic tone, he embraced everyone from all walks of life, noting religion, politics, and beliefs needn’t divide, “Metallica doesn’t care what you eat, what you don’t eat. We care about similarity. Here. Together celebrating life.” There’s a platform to get behind: Hetfield 2018.
They’ve already got the big show thing down to begin a political campaign. This night alone was full of fireworks, smoke clouds, and massive drums. Not just drummer Lars Ulrich had a big wadaiko drum, but bass-ape Robert Trujillo, Kirk, and James formed a circle to blast out some Stomp-esque beats. So beyond politics, a broadway show isn’t out of the question. The presence had everyone ready to cast their ballots.
Whether fans got into Metallica in the 80s, 90s, aughts, or yesterday, the change of temperament in the clouds seemed to reflect the band’s sunny disposition of current day. Lars summed it up at the end of the night, “Montreal we love you for coming out for all these years, and we’re just getting started.” That’s right, we’ve got another Rolling Stones legacy in rock music.
Avenged Sevenfold wasn’t as lucky with the weather prior to Metallica, but lead M. Shadows ran up and down the stage in flannel and aviators like a young Axl Rose regardless. Addressing that it rains every time they play outside in Montreal, a mix of cheers and boos bounced back. “But I’m alright with it if you are,” Shadows proclaimed to an eruption of screams. Pyrotechnics blasted from the stage, as the band set the stage.
Volbeat opened with their metal rockabilly blend, crooning Misfits vibes in the heat of the late afternoon. There must be a certain level of stress and pressure in opening for one of the most successful bands in the world, but they stirred up the venue with heavy licks that wold have Johnny Cash tapping his toes.