The first time I saw Metallica perform live was in Seattle at the Kingdome on July 27, 1988, the second-to-last stop on the Monsters of Rock Tour featuring them, Kingdom Come, Dokken, Scorpions, and Van Hagar. It was right before …And Justice for All came out and of my group of friends at the show that hot summer afternoon I think I’m the only one who knew any of their music, though it’s not like I was a big fan, I’d just heard Master of Puppets a handful of time at my friend Jason’s house. It was a hell of a show.
The second time I saw Metallica live was almost exactly 29 years later, in a different stadium that stood literally where the Kingdome used to stand before it was imploded in 2000. We were at the south end of the stadium toward the top of the lower bowl… roughly in the same spot I sat for Monsters of Rock.
Two shows, one band, 29 years apart, and in almost the identical cartesian location. It trips me out just thinking about it.
In many ways the shows couldn’t be more different. Metallica is mainstream now, with pyro and huge screens and entire tractor trailers (literally) full of merch, a far cry from the underground thrash band that was on the verge of exploding with their first major hit. You can hear Metallica playing in supermarkets now. It is what it is.
As for the merch, Metallica have been putting out their live shows for quite a while, and with my ticket purchase I got an email offering me a two CD copy of the Seattle show for something like twenty-five bucks. Now I’ve heard about these live recordings, both complaints about the sound quality form prior tours and the complaining on Discogs about how these things have totally f’ed up the Metallica discography. But I’m 40-something-years-old and don’t need a Metallica shirt or poster or coozy, so why not get a recording of the show?
Well, it showed up in mail the other day. And it’s pretty damn good. I assume this was mic’ed through the soundboard, and it’s clear the crowd up front was also mic’ed because you can hear them throughout the recording, something that wasn’t audible from my seats out in what was the first base line of the ghost of the Kingdome. In fact by time “For Whom the Bell Tolls” kicks in I find myself wanting to pour a big Jack Daniels and close the laptop. So I think that’s what I’m going to do.
If you are on the fence about one of these CDs for a show you attend, they’re worth it. Now if you’ll excuse me…