i saw metallica five times so far. and for this tour, i saw them twice. and i was still mulling over whether or not i’ll dive headlong into the tout kingdom that is eBay and secure a ticket for the brum show on wednesday. for this tour i’ve spent approximately 180 squids on tix and merchandise. not to mention, that when death magnetic came out i had to buy the limited coffin. actually, i bought two. all this money channelled in to the metallicoffers, and that’s from one fan. any surprise that lars recently sold this painting by basquiat that he owned for a cool fourteen million bucks at christie’s?

i actually left the fan club (or metclub for short) shortly after the acrimonious leaving of jason newsted plus with the release of the well-loved st. anger, possibly fueled by watching some kind of monster. perhaps seeing the ill-treatment of jason all these years and how you get to see lars and his then missus bidding for fine art sickened me as a fan. then again, it’s not that i didn’t know the hazing jason had to face from three bandmates still grieving for the loss of a friend, and it’s not that i am ignorant of the fact with the successful sale of records, these guys in the band should be able to do what they bloody want with their hard-earned millions. nevertheless, the naïeveté i displayed left me disinterested in a band i loved since i was in fourth form.

i wasn’t bothered with any of their outdoor shows following the ’03 earls court show. it wasn’t until i got whiff of the news that they were doing a new record with rick rubin, my ears started to perk with some interest. like a jilted lover whose girlfriend nak rujuk balik, i was suspicious of their so-called heavier new stuff (st anger was heavy, but wtf). i was highly critical of the live rendition of the then unreleased cyanide and was raising my eyebrows when the single the day that never comes came out. when the album came in through the post from amazon, i have to say i took all the negative things i said about them back. and when i heard lars telling the audience to see them again INDOORS in the february/march of 2009,i sheepishly re-applied for a metclub membership (i unfortunately lost my senior standing, but what the hell) and immediately obtained the sheffield tix thru their metclub pre-sale in october 2008. for the notts show, i had to join the average punters in the online queue as the metclub passcode was valid for one show only!

from the setlists in the north american shows, i was glad to see changes of songs (not all) every night. besides, the ’96 and ’03 shows were seen from a seated vantage point, so i made it a point to get standing tickets for these shows. what i noticed was the setlist comprised a couple of new tunes to start with followed by two random oldies, followed by some old/new ‘tallica must-plays, followed by an encore of covers (anything from the creeping death EP to the garage inc double LP).

for the notts show, i wasn’t too bothered with the opening acts. the arena floor for notts was somewhat small which meant that on arriving in the middle of the machine head set, we knew we were gonna get ace views of the band. damn, the last time i saw them this close was in 1992! ennio morricone’s the ecstasy of gold that came on the PA just drove the entire arena mental.

i could perhaps go on a song-by-song description, but i just feel like writing some thoughts i had on the shows. one thing good with watching a show 8 months into a tour is that a band has polished its act. yeah, the ‘tallica’s established and how can i expect a bad show from them, right? well, if jason had to buy the master of puppets record to learn the thing that should not be after being in the band for yonks – i’d say any band will definitely sound polished after 8 months of touring! at notts, we were treated to the four horsemen and leper messiah (if you go to livemetallica.com, they’ll give you stats on which song was played last in which city etc), whilst at sheffield we were given lightning and the not-so-old memory remains. leper messiah was my highest point amongst these oldies, as i’ve always been fascinated by this tune from day one as a fan.

one had the pyros but without the explosions, much to my relief (i cannot tahan being terkejut one… hahaha). puppets was played in full (well, it has always been since the 2003 shows). no leaf clover was ever a pleasant surprise in notts although i would have preferred minus human. the sheffield alternative for the jiwang section was the unforgiven, and both shows had the compulsory nothing else matters. notts had another highlight – it was the first time ever that they played judas kiss!

for the encore covers, being at both shows meant i’ve listened to helpless, breadfan, the wait and wait for it.. am i evil! i must’ve shat myself listening to to the opening riff to evil, man. a high note it was when they ended their trademark two-plus hours show, as they played seek and destroy, with black balloons dropping from the arena ceiling!

the ‘tallica played with much vigour which comes highly in my books as all of them are in their mid-40s. i remembered reading how matt sorum (velvet revolver/GnR) was gobsmacked after listening to a demo played by lars. pretty much along the lines of “that’s fast – do you know how old you are now?”. will it be the same metallica in 2019? perhaps medical technology would be somewhat advanced then.

trent FM arena, nottingham 25.02.09 set: that was just your life / the end of the line / the four horsemen / leper messiah / one / broken, beat & scarred / the judas kiss / sad but true / no leaf clover / all nightmare long / the day that never comes / master of puppets / fight fire with fire / nothing else matters / enter sandman / [encore] breadfan / helpless / seek and destroy [photos]

sheffield arena 28.02.09 set: that was just your life / the end of the line / ride the lightning / the memory remains / one / broken, beat & scarred / cyanide / sad but true / the unforgiven / all nightmare long / the day that never comes / master of puppets / battery / nothing else matters / enter sandman / [encore] am i evil? / the wait / seek and destroy [photos]