×

Review: Metallica sets this amazing concert record during SoCal show

Review: Metallica sets this amazing concert record during SoCal show

Metallica topped Taylor Swift, the Super Bowl and every other event at SoFi Stadium as it drew nearly 80,000 fans to the SoCal venue on Friday night.

It was the biggest crowd in the history of the venue, which opened in September 2020.

The Bay Area band — consisting of vocalist-guitarist James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo — then basically tied their own record by drawing a similar-sized capacity crowd on Sunday.

Metallica was able to accomplish the feat — twice — due in part to the “in-the-round” setting, where the stage was placed at the center of the field. This allowed promoters to sell more tickets than usual, as fans could be seated on all sides of the stage and still see what was taking place. Typically, such as in the case of Swift, thousands of seats aren’t sold because the big stage sets would block the views.

Furthermore, Metallica’s in-the-round stage was actually hollow in the center, with the space used to accommodate even more fans. It was a nothing-short-of-brilliant way to maximize space and sell as many tickets as possible.

The fans who purchased the more than 156,000 tickets for the two-concert stand, which was part of the group’s massive M72 World Tour, were treated to approximately three dozen songs during four hours of stage time. The band played a completely different setlist each night, making the performances feel more like two lengthy sets — rather than two full shows — separated by 46 hours.

Having closed Night 1 with a high-adrenaline run through three straight classics — “Fuel,” “Seek & Destroy” and “Master of Puppets” — Metallica picked right up where they left off and kicked off Night 2 with a powerful version of “Whiplash” from the 1983 debut “Kill ‘Em All.”

It was the start of another epic three-song run, as the band followed up “Whiplash” with equally muscular takes on “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “Ride the Lightning” — both of which hail from 1984’s genre-defining sophomore effort “Ride the Lightning.” (That album also produced the two best moments of Night 1, as Metallica delivered absolutely stunning versions of “Creeping Death” and “Fade to Black.”)

“Even if it’s your first show, you are now part of the Metallica family,” Hetfield said in welcoming both new and old fans to the concert.

The group is touring in support of its 11th studio album, this year’s “72 Seasons,” and the new material translated well in concert. The group played three songs from the new album — “Dirty Window,” “72 Seasons” and “You Must Burn!” — all of which came during the first half of the show.

Metallica sounded great as it continued through such longtime fan favorites as “The Call of Ktulu,”  “No Leaf Clover” and “Wherever I May Roam,” eventually closing the show with the potent combination of “One” and, of course, “Enter Sandman.”

The Los Angeles shows were Metallica’s only scheduled stops on the M72 World Tour. Yet, Metallica fans are certainly hoping that will change and the biggest Bay Area band of all time will see fit to announce some NorCal dates in the near future.

Setlist:
1. “Whiplash”
2. “For Whom the Bell Tolls”
3. “Ride the Lightning”
4. “Dirty Window
5. “72 Seasons”
6. “If Darkness Had a Son”
7. “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”
8. “You Must Burn!”
9. “The Call of Ktulu”
10. “No Leaf Clover”
11. “Wherever I May Roam”
12. “Moth Into Flame”
13. “Fight Fire With Fire”
14. “Whiskey in the Jar”
15. “One”
16. “Enter Sandman”

James Hetfield of Metallica performs on the first of two nights at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Friday, August 25, 2023. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer) 
Lars Ulrich of Metallica performs on the first of two nights at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Friday, August 25, 2023. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer) 
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 25: Metallica performs onstage at SoFi Stadium on August 25, 2023 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images) 
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 25: (L-R) Robert Trujillo, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett and Lars Ulrich of Metallica perform onstage at SoFi Stadium on August 25, 2023 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)