Metallica (1)

Leeds Festival 2003 review

published: Wed 1st Oct 2003

Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th August 2003
Bramham Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS23 6ND, England MAP
£95 for weekend (camping included), £40 any day
daily capacity: 55000
last updated: Tue 12th Aug 2003

I've never seen Metallica before, and I don't possess an album of theirs. Well, what can I say; I'm not a metalhead. However I am familiar enough with them that I know [or hoped] that I would have a passing memory of a lot of their songs and a decent knowledge of some. However going to a festival and not taking the opportunity to see them is simply unthinkable.

It seemed I was not alone in that thinking as the area in all round the main stage was packed with both the casual observers, those who were young enough to still be going through all the albums for the first time and the faithful who have been following Metallica for 22 years and 11 albums.

Metallica

It must be a heavy pressure for Metallica but they don't seem to show it when they eventually appear on stage a half hour late. It's straight down to business – and what glorious business, loud and urgent with a mean brute of a frontman. Yeah, he's no spring chicken but James Hatfield seems to grow more powerful as he gets older, and the voice even more threatening and commanding. I can see him as some sort of superhero; 'Metalman' - killing hippies with a stroke of his subsonic plectrum! There isn't a lot of finesse here, the effort is in playing loud, fast and insistently, and they do it well, well enough to deserve their reputations of monsters of rock somehow belying the fact that there really is only four of them. Mainly sticking to the older body of work they still managed to sneak in a couple of new ones; 'Frantic' and a version of 'St Anger' [with its strange beat and musical bridge].

Both these songs sound a retreat from the last few years style and a return to what Metallica do best – fast, aggressive, pained metal. This seemed to be reinforced with the misread sorrowful meandering through 'Nothing Else Matters' towards the end of the set that they played simply because even the might 'M' would have been bottle dif they hadn't. 'One' was noticeable for its absence, perhaps its absence was down to a hastily revised setlist caused by the delayed beginning.

Metallica

Prowling round the stage the three guitarists James, Kirk and Robert strove to drive the crowd on, whilst Lars grumped and banged like a good'un behind and judging by the mad blonde middle aged man behind me "I can't believe I'm 100 yards from my Hero's" they made their connection alright. It's hard to believe that four men can have such stage presence, and even if I didn't get the subtleties of their performance the sheer might of their performance won me over way before the ubiquitous pyrotechnical aided 'Enter Sandman encore.

A mighty cororate behemoth – yes undoubtedly, an impassioned band still enjoying what they do – without question. Welcome to the Metallica family!
review by: Tim Fellows aka 'salt'

photos by: Luke Seagrave

Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th August 2003
Bramham Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS23 6ND, England MAP
£95 for weekend (camping included), £40 any day
daily capacity: 55000
last updated: Tue 12th Aug 2003


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