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Earls court London England 20/12/2003


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Not content with getting our asses kicked for one night only, the Metallicaworld on tour crew returned to the fold for another onslaught from the things that should not be. A set list change was to be expected and that’s exactly what we got. Tonight my friends the boys were on fire, leaving no stone unturned, the smiles upon their faces said it all and with James proclaiming, “we’re feeling pretty good, you better watch out” you know that its going to be a little special. 

Feeling pumped up by the time AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top, If You Want to Rock and Roll” is finished the lights dim and the striking chords of the Ecstasy of Gold thunder across the 17 000 strong crowd, the Metallica frenzy is just beginning. With the opening favourite of Battery sounding as strong as ever, and then firing remorselessly into the Four Horseman (my personal favourite of the night) and the not to oft heard Ride the Lightning, the ‘tallica boys don’t let up tonight. Its classic after classic after fucking classic.

Hetfield’s voice is stronger than I’ve heard it for a while (don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying it was weak before, but its been stepped up a touch) Kirks leads are as sweet as ever and the strong rhythm section of Rob and Lars have tightened up even more so over the summer and overall we have an unbelievably tight and powerful sounding Metallica dishing up all our favourite tracks.

The start of Sanitarium tonight really gets those shivers going tonight, being played at a fractionally slower tempo allows the melody to really come across, but still manages to punish us yet further a the song develops into its behemoth like manner. Bellz begins with its usual rousing kick drum intro and a bass solo from Rob before out of no where the song kicks in with the entire crowds arms punching the shit out of the air.

Tonight choosing only 2 songs from St Anger to include in the set, we get Dirty Window and Frantic from St Anger but surprisingly not the title track. The band have really transformed these songs into being part of the Metallica show with crowd interaction aplenty helping them to really come across well with an incredible amount of power and energy, particularly with the rolling riff of Dirty Window a newer addition to the set, although quite honestly it sounds like its been there for years. Sad But True is placed between these songs and sounds fucking monstrous. James begins the song by singing the chorus from the platform behind the drums before the crowd sing the “Sad But True” part and then the song proper begins.

Sorrow, Puppetz and Fight Fire with Fire bring the main set to a close and do so with a phenomenal amount of power. The hulking riff of Sorrow to the sing-a-long and melody of the full length Puppetz, which we seem to get treated with more often than not these days, onto another set rarity in Fight Fire with Fire, which sounds fucking incredible nearly twenty years on from its original release, like every other one of Metallica’s songs, it stands the test of time. Its interesting to hear some of the songs that haven’t been played for a while with the new sound that the band seem to have now, a very clear sound, very crisp. It gives the songs a whole new breath of life (not that they needed it anyway) and adds a new dimension to the live performance.

Seek and Destroy, a set standard, never tires and sounds as fresh as ever. The huge crowd singing every syllable and are quite frankly deafening. The set standard of Nothing Else Matters never disappoints, particularly now that Lars and Kirk indulge themselves in a bit of instrument swapping and we get to hear Lars play Smoke on the Water on guitar which is always something to behold. Creeping Death picks the energy back up with a vengeance with the “Die, Die, Die” part being sung by every person in the building.

The sounds and bombs and gunfire mean only one thing, One is hear and a great version it is, rounding of the set with Sandman is a winning combination. Pyrotechnic mania in these last songs, which is something that always gets the crowd going. The band returns to the stage and gives us Blitzkrieg and Motorbreath to round off the evening. An absolutely stunning gig, the fifth time I have had the chance to see Metallica play and the best time also. Every time I have seen this band play they deliver, but tonight it was taken to a whole new level of power and energy, with the announcement at the end of the show that they’ll be back in the summer, you better make sure you are there because as we speak this band are taking no prisoners.

Olly Smith 2003


Earls Court Set List 2.jpg (65735 bytes) Set List

The Four Horsemen
Ride The Lightning
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Sad But True
Dirty Window
Harvester Of Sorrow
Master Of Puppets
Fight Fire With Fire
Seek And Destroy
Nothing Else Matters
Creeping Death
Enter Sandman







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