Metallica at the Opera House

METALLICA Opera House, Toronto. November 29, 2016. Photo by Dustin Rabin - 2743

Photo courtesy of Warner Music / Dustin Rabin

 If you somehow didn’t hear, metal militia warlords Metallica played an intimate Toronto show November 29th at the creakingly cozy Opera House in support of the Daily Bread Food Bank.

Frankly, I’d be surprised if there was anyone within radius of the 100+ year-old building who didn’t feel some kind of thundering reverberation emanating from 35 years of hell-for-leather guitar riffs and equally furious drumskin pounding.

I probably don’t need both of my hands to count the number of bands who can say they’ve achieved the same heights as these headbangers with hearts of gold. In a year of seemingly nonstop misery as it pertained to musicians, it was downright refreshing to see a group as high profile as Metallica give back in a way. If nothing else, they certainly are keeping audiologists gainfully employed. While many people can’t wait to turn the page on 2016, the Blackened boys have reason to celebrate, namely about new album Hardwired… to Self-Destruct.

It’s their first full-length effort since 2008’s Death Magnetic, and combines the best bits of their traditional speed metal with the mainstream sheen Bob Rock gave them what feels like an entire lifetime ago on The Black Album.

Despite being advertised as a one-off promo gig in a venue with a capacity 1% percent of the size I last saw Metallica (the 2011 Festival d’été de Québec), only three fresh cuts were performed – “Atlas, Rise!”, “Moth Into Flame” and “Hardwired”, all of which were awesome and extremely worthy of inclusion in their reinvigorated setlists. This was more of an exercise to have a little fun in front of their loyalest of fans, not to mention warm up for the almost certain stadium tour to come. Which if it’s not named “Lords of Summer” in honour of the song that appears on the deluxe edition, someone in music marketing deserves to be fired.

For the balance of Metallica’s roughly 2-hour power workout, they proceeded to kick the bejesus out of Toronto’s longtime “horns up” destination. By the time Kill ’Em All classic “Seek & Destroy” sent us all into the unseasonably warm night, I could have sworn I noticed a few more cracks in the Opera House’s decaying ceiling. The only possible complaint I have is how they didn’t do “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” after teasing it TWICE, initially by mistake during the gunshots that introduce “One” (or so it seemed). By the way, I may not have ever heard a better progression of live songs in all my years of concertgoing than “One” into “Master of Puppets”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and then finally “Enter Sandman” to conclude the epic main set. Bless that Metallica they’ve still got it, Dad Rock be damned!

Oh, and don’t wait for the next drop-of-a-hat charity show by a big-name artist to give to the Daily Bread Food Bank this holiday season. Donate to them right $#@%ing now!

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