On Saturday night Sirius XM Radio hosted an invite only, private Metallica concert at the world-famous Apollo Theater in Harlem. Just the concept alone sounds great but for those lucky enough to get in, the reality was even better.
I was nervous. I have been a big fan of Metallica since their Kill ‘Em All Megaforce Record days. As a kid, Eddie Van Halen got me started playing guitar but it was Metallica who kept me at it. I’ve seen them perform live many times in the past, beginning back when they were ostensibly in their prime, the opening act relegated to just 15 feet of stage, warming up the crowd for bands like Ozzy.
So what would this show be like? Would they be old and fat? Unable to rock the house and get the heads a-banging? Would those of us in attendance be trying hard but failing to sweat to the oldies, desperately clinging to out misspent youths? Going into this, these all seemed like legitimate fears. Metallica are no spring chickens and let's face it, neither are we, the great unwashed, standing in the audience facing them. But Metallica has gotten even better with age.
I had no idea if they were going to come out and play an abbreviated set of a few of their hits but no, they hit the stage and smashed out two hours and fifteen minutes of some of the greatest rock and roll I have ever seen performed live. They played songs from all phases of their long and storied career to a packed house of fans who couldn’t stop smiling, high-fiving and headbanging at the dream that was unfolding before us. It felt like one of those scripted Hollywood movies where the cute-as-a-button teen heartthrobs go on a date to a concert and it’s as perfect as can be with amazing energy, sound and lighting coalescing into something that doesn’t exist in the real world. But on this night it did. Suffice to say this band is still very much at the top of their game and know how to destroy a crowd.
Metallica delivered the goods and then some. They are, quite simply Masters of Their Craft. These Bay Area Thrashers came uptown to NYC, picked our pockets, punched us square in face, and made off with our old ladies... but every one of us left smiling ear-to-ear and thrilled at having had this once in a lifetime experience.
In attendance on Saturday night was the “King of All Media” himself Howard Stern, Baba Booey, Sal the Stockbroker & Richard Christy, Ronnie the Limo Driver and Ralph Cirella, Howard’s stylist. The only person missing from the Stern Show as far as I could tell was Robin Quivers. Also spotted in the crowd was OG NYC Punk Rock Legend Handsome Dick Manitoba from the Dictators, Legendary Rolling Stone Writer David Fricke, Comedian Jim Norton, and nightlife impresario Nur Khan. The event was definitely for the fans, though—click through for a look at them, Howard Stern & Co., and of course Metallica.
Set List: Metallica at the Apollo Theater
1. Hit the Lights
2. Master of Puppets
3. Ride the Lightning
4. Harvest of Sorrows
5. The Day that Never Comes
6. The Memory Remains
7. Broken, Beat and Scarred
8. Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
9. Sad but True
12. For Whom the Bell Tolls
14. Nothing Else Matters
15. Enter Sandman
16. Creeping Death
18. Seek and Destroy