"How old are you?" Metallica leader James Hetfield quizzed a boy in the front row during a break in the chaos of Saturday night's show at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. "10? And this is your first Metallica show?"
The boy nodded, and an amused Hetfield said: "Well, hopefully you'll take your kids to their first Metallica concert. We'll still be here. Still doing our thing." As the capacity crowd roared, drummer Lars Ulrich pulled the boy on-stage, took a photo and handed him a pair of drumsticks. Metal with a soft spot, how adorable.
The band stuck mainly to the classic cuts from Master of Puppets ("Master of Puppets," "Battery"), Ride the Lightning ("Ride the Lightning," "For Whom the Bell Tolls"), ...And Justice for All ("One"), and Metallica (Black Album) ("Enter Sandman," "Nothing Else Matters"), but also peppered in songs from 2008's Death Magnetic ("Cyanide," "Broken, Beat & Scarred") -- essentially skipping over their awkward years (Load, ReLoad, and St. Anger).
The laser light show that opened the evening was as spectacular as the multi-colored pyrotechnic fireballs, but what really sold the event was the glut of 30-somethings in their vintage Metallica t-shirts wailing on some mean air guitar and tossing up devil horns like it ain't no thing. And, really, how could you not?
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Metallica's James Hetfield / Photo by Matt Kiser