METALLICA WILL PLAY THE BLACK ALBUM IN ITS ENTIRETY AT THE DOWNLOAD FEST 2012
In 2006, Vince and I got on a plane and went to the Download Festival in Donington, England, where we saw, amongst many other things, Metallica play Master of Puppets live in its entirety. And even though Cliff Burton was obviously not available to do the show, and Lars Ulrich’s drumming skills aren’t exactly top-notch anymore, and James Hetfield’s vocals have not leased but actually purchased a summer home on Planet Blows Donkeys, we had a great time. I mean, you kinda just had to have a couple of drinks, close your eyes, and go with it, y’know? ‘Cause why complain when they’re playing an awesome album at the end of a second day in the middle of an awesome fest where you literally have seen and will continue to see literally dozens of awesome bands? So, whatever.
To the best of my knowledge, ‘Tallica never pulled the same schtick with …And Justice for All, but apparently they are going to return to Download this summer to play the Black Album from start to finish. And that’s cool, ’cause it’s pretty much the last decent record they ever made, and it’s not like anyone is gonna pay to see them play Re-Load in its entirety.
And that Bob Rock-produced opus probably lends itself more easily to modern Metallica’s skill set than their other classics. The pace is generally slower and the songs are shorter on the Black Album, so Lars may actually be able to play the same song as the rest of the band; and that release was the beginning of Hetfield going all Elvis on us, so his crappy latter-day vocal style will actually fit (as opposed to trying not to cringe as he “sings” his way through “Battery,” for example). And there are some rarely-played songs from this album, like “My Friend of Misery” and “Don’t Tread On Me” — y’know, the one where they play a little bit of a song from West Side Story at the beginning, for maximum metalocity? — that could be kinda fun to hear live.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is this: I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch modern Metallica play this album from start to finish, but as one of many, many things I’d see during the course of a weekend? Sure, why not, right?
Let me know if I’m being too kind in the comments section below (I’ve been told that sometimes I’m too easy on bands). And if you live in Europe but don’t think you wanna go to Download but do think you’d like to see Metallica rip through “The Struggle Within,” fret not: I’d wager that they’ll end up headlining several other Euro fests, and they’ll play the Black Album at all of ’em. That’s what they did with Master, anyway.