Metallica – Sacramento, CA – 12.7.18
Golden 1 Center – 12.7.18
Words and Photos by Curtis Vadnais
Heavy metal troupe Metallica brought their critically-acclaimed 2018 WorldWired Tour to Sacramento, California’s Golden 1 Center last Friday. The tour stop marked the second to last date for the string of 2018 dates for the Bay Area natives, ending in Fresno, California on Dec. 9. The group have been on the road since 2016 promoting their most recent record, Hardwired… to Self-Destruct, expanding the trek each year to various stadiums and arenas all across the globe. After the band finishes their North American run next year, they’ll be taking the production to Europe for the summer and have plans to expand it even further, such as Australia through the earlier half of 2020.
For this run, they opted to play several cities they haven’t touched down in for years, even decades. Metallica hadn’t played the Farm-to-Fork Capital since 2009, so it was a highly anticipated return for die-hard attendees. This also marked the band’s first performance at Golden 1 Center, which replaced the now defunct Sleep Train Arena (known as ARCO Arena when Metallica last visited) in 2016.
As to be expected, the legendary rock quartet didn’t disappoint. Performing in the round, they delivered a jam-packed 18-song setlist with some of the deepest cuts from all across their discography including Kill ‘Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, …And Justice for All, The Black Album, and Hardwired…To Self-Destruct. Metallica is known for bringing an individualized experience to every city in which they perform, so it’s unlikely they stick to one setlist. They delighted fans with wild-card performances of songs such as “The Shortest Straw,” (the first performance in the U.S. in six years) “Whiplash,” and “Battery.”
Each Metallica tour delivers an unforgettable production, and the 2018 round is no exception. The stage design featured 52 LED visual cubes that harmoniously ascended and descended as they performed. Key highlights of the night included “Moth Into Flame,” a number accompanied by several micro-drones that fly across the stage in synchronization with the music, as well as “Creeping Death” in which pyrotechnics were utilized around drummer Lars Ulrich’s kit.
Towards the end of their 90-minute set, frontman James Hetfield took a moment to reflect on their first performance in Sacramento. “Thirty-three years ago, Metallica played their first show at Memorial Auditorium here in Sacramento. We’re so happy to be back. We could not have dreamt this any better, seriously. Thank you. The Metallica family is nationwide, it’s worldwide. You’re in the family now, whether you like it or not. All are welcome—anytime, anywhere. We have at least three generations here tonight,” he acknowledged. It’s pinnacle moments such as these that display how appreciative the band is of the community that surrounds them, and it’s undoubtedly reciprocated.
Metallica’s latest release, Hardwired… to Self Destruct is available now.