WORDS AND PHOTOS BY DAVID TAYLOR AND ROBERT A. CHADWICK, GO VENUE MAGAZINE
Thursday, September 6, 2018 was such a momentous occasion for Pinnacle Bank Arena and the city of Lincoln, NE. This concert marked the first time they played the city of Lincoln, Nebraska in the band’s 35 year plus career. And they did it selling the whole arena out, the second largest attended concert in PBA’s five year history. This was also an important concert for me, as Metallica has been one of my favorite bands since I was 12 years old. Anticipation for this concert had been built up since it was announced, so let’s get to the review.
To open up the show, they did not have the usual 1 or 2 opening bands. Instead they had what they were calling the “Light It Up Pre-Show Party” featuring comedian Jim Breuer and a DJ playing various hard rock/heavy metal songs. Jim Breuer, known for his James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich impressions, was telling Metallica-related stories, such as when James Hatfield invited Jim and his wife to dinner and taking a private jet with Ozzy Osbourne to Metallica’s MTV Icon special. They were firing t-shirts from a t-shirt cannon and upgrading some fans from the nosebleed section to the main floor. The crowd loved Jim and warmed up and ready for Metallica.
The time has come. Ennio Morricone’s “The Ecstasy of Gold” starts up. The crowd is ready. They kicked into “Hardwired” and the crowd went insane. Headbanging commenced. They had these cubes that would rise and drop from the rafters, with LED screens. It was really unique. They played a song they hadn’t played in almost eight years, “The Unforgiven III”, from Death Magnetic. Such an incredible song! Right after that, they played “Now That We’re Dead”, featuring a innovative middle drum solo with all the members drumming on taiko-like drums. It was like we were watching a Blue Man Group show. They played all the hits, some deep cuts, and a good chunk, five songs, of their latest album, Hardwired… to Self‐Destruct. “Fuel” showcased the amount of pyro they had. “Moth Into Flame” had these mini drones, resembling moths, flying out from under the stage, while the cubes had like propaganda and tabloid headlines. There had to be such planning for this incredible feat. They closed out their main set with “Master of Puppets”, such a masterpiece of a song. The encore featured “Spit Out the Bone”, a thrashy fan favorite off Hardwired, the ballad “Nothing Else Matters”, and “Enter Sandman”, a song that is played constantly across the overpass at Memorial Stadium during Nebraska Cornhuskers football games, so it was like full circle. Metallica brought a primal energy never before unleashed in Lincoln, NE. These guys may be in their 50s, but they’ve been visiting the fountain of youth for their playing, alone. I saw no deterioration whatsoever. I’m so ecstatic that Pinnacle Bank Arena are finally coming around bringing heavy metal/hard rock bands such as Iron Maiden, Avenged Sevenfold, and now, Metallica. These shows could’ve easily been in Omaha, but Lincoln has really come around as a true place to go to a heavy metal/hard rock concert. I am so glad to be a part of the Metallica family. This was a long time coming, easily top 5 of my favorite concerts. I hope Lincoln keeps on bringing these high caliber hard rock/heavy metal bands, as this genre of music is not dead in Lincoln, NE!