Sunday, February 1, 2009

3-Sided Ring of Fire: Metallica, live at Allstate Arena

You can feel the heat from those things all the way in the upper deck...

The Dong was out in full, floppy force last week, checking out BOTH Metallica shows at the Allstate Arena in Chicago. Fisting Andrew Golata rocked a press box at the first show (they let him in despite his affiliation with our disreputable website) and sat among real journalists, while I (Keggs) and Ba went for the cheap seats on Tuesday, and sat next to a lot of fat stupid people.

Opening Acts:

F.A.G.-  The Sword came out with some sludgy, PBR-style '70s metal that I'm pretty sure Black Sabbath already wrote.  I can't listen to shit like this since I quit doing drugs.  Machine Head (one of my all-time fav's) only played 4 songs, but they seemed angry and piss drunk, and their very presence on this tour was a brave move on Metallica's part.  Grade= B

Keggs- I wish I could have heard the music a little better (Allstate has pretty bad acoustics) and we missed The Sword opening, but Machine Head was solid.  Grade= C+

Ba- I have just learned that the sheisty acoustics for the first two opening acts were acts of sabotage by Metallica. Metallica 1, other people 0. It was quite fun to make up lyrics since I couldn't hear a fucking thing. In their third song, Machine Head sung about a Unicorn that had fantastic balls. Grade = C


Keggs - I give the setlist a solid A (we got to hear "Whiplash", which gave me a stiffy) and thought they sounded better than when I saw them last, in 2000. James was awesome and they didn't play anything from Load/ReLoad/St. Anger.  There was lots of new stuff, which sounded great and arguably better live...  Grade= A

F.A.G.-  SIX songs from the new album!??!??!!!  What in the fucking shit hell is this shit!??  I understand the message here ("we're back, we're relevant again, etc."), but 6 long-ass songs from a new record is totally uncalled for. Especially when it means less songs from Master Of Puppets.  No "Whiplash" at the Monday show, but "Motorbreath" was a worthy substitute for an encore (although I could have done without Hetfield's "denim vest with no shirt" costume change).  Grade= C+/B-

Ba - I actually liked that they played a lot of their new shit. Let's face it, the stuff was created to be played live. "Broken Beat and Scarred" and "All Nightmare Long" were just fantastic. I had no problems with Hetfield this time (no retarded yodeling) and they actually sounded better this time than they did ten years ago. I'm not sure Metallica is a "novelty" band quite yet; they still play pretty fiercely and Rob is a great addition to the live sound. I'm mixed about the intentional non-inclusion of Load/Reload stuff. Yes, it sucks in comparison to their classic catalogue but we can't throw away songs like "Bleeding Me" and "Outlaw Torn." Grade = A-


Keggs - Laser light show? What is this, 1995? The stage was small and looked more like amature hour than a big ticket. Props were minimal (4 huge rotating coffins) and no other moving parts like a spinning stage for the drummer, etc. They also threw out some super-gay inflated black balls at the end of the show for the fans to knock around/steal. However, there was lots of fire. Fire is awesome. Grade= B

F.A.G. - One thing that immediately struck me was the post-rehab, family-friendly (possibly born-again?) James Hetfield. Most of tonight's stage banter was some variation of "Metallica loves Chicago. Chicago loves Metallica. Yeah!"  Lobotomized.  He almost sounded like Mongo from Blazing Saddles:  "Metallica just pawn in game of life."  I don't think he cussed once all night.  For reference, James Hetfield is supposed to sound like this:

Also, I second what Keggers said about the laser show and the inflatables.  That shit?  Gay.   Grade= C

BaNothing much to add here. I was a big fan of the laser lights/fog combination which mixed for a faux horizon of clouds; that they came out of coffins made it much cooler. Come on, man - lazers coming out of coffins is fucking awesome. I don't think there was a bad seat in the house considering All-state is not so huge. A point that should not be missed is that since the smoking ban in Illinois, concerts are enjoyable again! There was a refugee camp of smokers freezing their balls off outside the arena. Serves you right, pigfuckers. Let me also add that the "no smoking" ban clearly did not pertain to weed - of which there was plenty to be had in the arena. Grade = B


Keggs - Great energy, the place was totally rocking. Best part of the show by far, lots of moshing, headbanging and fist pumping action. Crowd was deafening. I was pretty sure the 12 year old sitting in front of me was going to have an aneurysm (or his dad had his hands down his pants). Grade= A+

BaHalf were newcomers, and half were AARP members. All were loud, all were trailer trash. Grade = A

F.A.G. -  Three words: Registered sex offenders.  Grade= A+


F.A.G. - Rubbing elbows with the bassist from Chicago metal legends Trouble, as well as Charlie Benante from Anthrax.  I also saw a guy who may or may not have been Dr. Phil Towle from Some Kind Of Monster, no doubt upset that the band didn't play any St. Anger tunes.  Grade= A+

Keggs - I got to sit next to Ba, which was awesome and nobody spit on us or tried to put their cigarette out on Ba's face, like the last time we were at a show together. Traffic wasn't bad, parking wasn't bad and we even had an empty seat to throw our jackets. The only thing missing was free booze and some free strippers. Actually, I got a free beer... (thanks Ba). Grade = A

Ba I can't help but think of the Metallica concert in Rockford a decade ago , where people got stuck in a cornfield for 5 hours before they could leave. Traffic was handled well, the show worked like clockwork (opening at 7:30, next band at 8:00, Metallica at 8:45). Vibe was great - the only thing I regrettably missed was the tit show. For this alone, I must give the grade of a B+. 

I hope you enjoyed our Arts & Entertainment feature. Next week:  Midget Porn: Can you actually spin them?

Bonus clip! Live from the show:

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