Live Reports   


Artists : MetallicaMass HysteriaMy Own Private Alaska
Location : Nîmes (France)
Venue : Arènes
Date : 07-07-2009
Audience : 11 000 people

Tuesday, late afternoon in Nimes. Funny to meet all these Metallica fans wandering about in the old pedestrian streets of downtown. Actually, a question arises: how many t-shirts the band has sold these last 25 years? Honestly might be counted in millions! Anyway, the sun is shining and the big event is coming : to see the biggest metal band in the world in these roman arenas built in the 1st century after JC. 2 000 years ago! Besides the band takes this great opportunity to shoot his next live DVD. That’s why the Four Horsemen already rehearsed last night on this ancient site. You could actually hear in the city streets the band’s balance on «Blackened» !

18h : the arenas are quite full. Many banners are arranged on the stands, amongst which a lot with the French colors – blue, white, red – mixed with references to Metallica. Special thumbs up to: «Metallica, What Else ?» !

Metallica before the stage!
Photo : Francis Zégut

The stage is in front one of the two bends. Meaning that some viewers in this bend will only see the back of the band playing most of the time. Hence the special mention on the tickets reduced visibility. Except that the seats are not indexed, that there’s no control whatsoever and that you actually had to get there early to get a good seat… The early bird gets the worm as they say!.

It’s the band from Toulouse, My Own Private Alaska, who opens the show at 19h.

Three seated musicians: a drummer right in front, a singer on the side and a third on the other side playing the piano. All that for a somewhat noisy music that reminds us a bit of the solo project of Mike Patton.
Then it’s up to Mass Hysteria to be on stage to set it up on fire. A good set, full of energy. The singer, Mouss, explaining to the audience that it is a dream coming true to be there for them and that they all had posters of Metallica in their rooms when they were 20 years old! Failles, the next Mass, will be released in September.

Then the roadies of Metallica come up to prepare the stage for the band. We’re having fun counting how many cameras there are: at least eight! Two in line with the stage, one behind, one mobile on tracks, one at the hand of an articulated arm on the right side and one at the end of a crane above the arenas! Not counting the three cameramen that are on stage, in charge of the close-ups on the musicians. The beginning of the concert is closing in and James Hetfield wife and children settle in the stand on the left side of the stage.

Everything’s ready…
Photo : Francis Zégut

21h45, the sun is setting and «Heavy Metal Thunder» of Saxon rings out in the arena. Then the audience gets the mythical intro: «Ecstasy Of Gold» from Ennio Morricone, sung in unison by the audience. All of a sudden the first sampled bars of «Blackened» ring out before the band comes leisurely up a few seconds later. Therefore there’s a gap of 15 seconds between the song intro and the starting riff, which is a bit breaking the dynamics. We’re far from the Damaged Justice Tour in 1988-89 where the band started right away «Blackened» after the intro in an outburst of pyrotechnics! Apart from this little hitch, the concert starts off great with a beautiful sound in this magical place, of course in open air, but not overblown like in a standrad stadium. In any case, in the pit, we’re in ‘Nam!

As usual the band has changed its setlist introducing as soon as the second bit the great «Creeping Death»
from Ride The Lightning, an album from which no title were played by Metallica on this 2009 tour! «Fade To Black» will then follow punctuated by a colossal «Harvester Of Sorrow».

With «One» and the exceptionnal «Dyers Eve», you could believe to be back in 1988 on the tour for their iconic album …And Justice For All.

Ah…if all the Robert could be like this one!

Justice will thus be king, as well as Death Magnetic
from which four titles will be played. However only « Master Of Puppets »; will be played from the same-named album. Of course, the pyrotechnics will be there on the usual bits like «Fuel» and «One».

James Hetfield took this opportunity to address the fans on his pride of being in this special place with a 2 000 years old history. The singer urging then the fans so as to make this evening unforgettable so that people will talk about it in 2 000 years time saying that Metallica played here in 2009! Roaring success!

Special note for «The Day That Never Comes» who is becoming a classic of the band. How can we not mention also «Broken, Beat And Scarred» which chorus, unlike the album, is sang in unison by Hammett and Trujillo ? And thta’s totally awesome!

James Hetfield is a God.

Each musicians is going wild. You can really feel that the band is shooting a DVD and that everyone gives all he’s got. Especially when a cameraman comes up close to them. After a huge «Enter Sandman», it’s already the curtain call. We’ll get «Stone Cold Crazy» of Queen and the two only extracts of the evening of Kill’ Em All : «Motorbreath» and «Seek & Destroy» on which there’s the now traditionnal black balloons with the logo of the band crowding the stage and being kicked in the crowd by Hetfield, Trujillo and Hammett !

And then it’s the end. The Four Horsemen salute at length the crowd, distributing tens (hundreds!) of mediators. Each viewer leaves this beautiful place with a huge grin on their faces knowing that they were blessed to live such a memorable event. A Metallica concert in the Roman arenas, moreover shot for a DVD: you cannot miss this! As for the others: you will find some consolation in the DVD…

It should be worth it…!

Set-list :

Creeping Death
Harvester Of Sorrow
Fade To Black
Broken, Beat And Scarred
Sad But True
All Nightmare Long
The Day That Never Comes
Master Of Puppets
Dyers Eve
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman

Rappels :

Stone Cold Crazy (Queen)
Seek & Destroy

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