Thursday, March 07, 2019

Concert Review: Metallica at the Sprint Center

A record-setting crowd bid farewell to heavy metal at the Sprint Center on Wednesday.  Members of the audience of 19,646- the largest-ever gathering for a concert at the arena- gave Metallica and their concert-going days a worthy sendoff.

Even though an adorable little boy with a seat directly in front of mine tossed up devil horns for two hours, the concert felt more like a rowdy Irish wake than a passionate rock and roll revival.  I got the sense that most of the men in their thirties and forties who dominated the audience were bidding farewell to the rock-loving portion of their lives with one final blowout.

Most gave it everything they had.  There was little difference between the giddiness of the grown men at last night’s concert- “can you believe that Metallica is going to be on that stage in a few minutes” a wobbly man shouted as he shook me by the shoulders- and little girls at an appearance by the boy band BTS.  The misty nostalgia of my neighbor indicated that he had no intention of going to another show.

The members of Metallica reflected the outlook.  James Hetfield even trotted out the sad catchphrase “thank you for supporting live music,” a phrase usually uttered by unworthy hacks.  And while Metallica may be a lot of things, unworthy isn’t one of them.  Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo and Lars Ulrich were admirably energetic.  The astounding production supporting them equaled their intensity.  An inexcusably muddy sound field was the only snag.

While a fraction of the nearly 20,000 people at last night’s show will attend a concert featuring Slayer and Lamb of God in seven weeks, Metallica’s winning effort acted as a heroic last stand for the majority of the weary headbangers.

I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

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