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METALLICA, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, VOLBEAT In Houston With Photos!

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Monday, June 19, 2017 @ 1:37 PM


Worldwired Tour Blows The Closed Roof Off NRG Stadium

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All Photos By Larry Petro/Petrofyed Photography

As long as I've been associated with the mighty KNAC.COM (16 years now), it seems that thrash legends METALLICA and KNAC have gone together like peanut butter and jelly. In fact, the first time I ever heard the phrase 'Mandatory Metallica', it was from KNAC. So what a privilege and honor it was to be the first of the KNAC.COM staff writers to cover a show on the band's current Worldwired Tour when it hit Houston, Texas on Sunday, June 11 at NRG Stadium, home of the NFL Houston Texans.

This tour stop also happened to be just the fourth on the tour to include Danish metalbilly rockers VOLBEAT along with direct support from AVENGED SEVENFOLD. Given the Sunday show and 3 bands, the parking lots at NRG Stadium opened at 2, with the doors themselves opening at 4 and VOLBEAT going on at 6.

Arriving at the venue myself around 3 to try and avoid as much of the anticipated traffic as possible, I left my camera equipment stashed in my vehicle and headed to the will call window to retrieve my ticket. Upon entering you could see that hordes of fans had come early to stake their positions at the various entrances, especially those with GA floor tickets, in hopes of getting as close to the front as possible. There were merchandise booths set up all around the outside as well as tables where you could upgrade to one of the various 'METALLICA Experience' that were being offered.

I met the Live Nation reps at the designated media location at approximately 5:30 to obtain my photo pass and be escorted inside to the holding area as we waited to be marshalled down to the barricade for VOLBEAT. At precisely 5:45 we were led on the 5-minute journey through the bowels of the stadium to the floor area and into the barricade. If you haven't seen any footage yet of the stage configuration, you have the basic stage along with the 'snakepit' extension, a somewhat triangle-shaped set of platforms protruding from the front of the 7' high stage and down toward the front. On either side of this the barricade between the crowd and the stage was easily 10' wide, which allowed not only the photographers to have plenty of room, but also for those lucky headbangers who had snakepit seats to go to and from their area. The only tight squeeze was the barricade surrounding the snakepit, which was barely 3', and when you add in the security that was stationed all the way around it, it did make for challenging maneuvers.

VOLBEAT took the stage at precisely 6pm and as an added 'bonus', the snakepit walkways I spoke of were decked out with boxing ring-style ropes all the way around, which did nothing but add to the complexity of shooting photos of this band. So, not only did we have to navigate around the snakepit but now had to shoot through the ropes back toward the center stage area where the band played for most of its set. The band themselves came out energized, kicking off their opening set with "The Devil's Bleeding Crown" from the band's new album Seal The Deal & Let's Boogie, one of 3 tracks the band would perform. From there the band played "Seal The Deal" (song #2), then "Lola Montez". The band concluded their 9 song repertoire with the 1-2 punch of "Dead But Rising" and "Still Counting". A very solid way to start the evening.

VOLBEAT Setlist:

  • "The Devil's Bleeding Crown"
  • "Seal The Deal"
  • "Lola Montez"
  • "Heaven Nor Hell"/"A Warrior's Call"
  • "Sad Man's Tongue"
  • "Pool Of Booze, Booze, Booza"
  • "Black Rose"
  • "Dead But Rising"
  • "Still Counting"
After a quick, efficient changeover, AVENGED SEVENFOLD made their presence known at 7:05 as they launched into the title track from their newest album The Stage. If you've never caught an A7X show, you're really missing out. When out on their own headlining they put on one of the best stage productions around and though they were direct support to METALLICA, AVENGED SEVENFOLD made the best of their allotted time and use flamethrower pyro early and often, utilizing them in some fashion in nearly every song they performed.

The band continued their show of metal force with "Afterlife", "Hail To The King" and "Almost Easy". The roof to NRG Stadium was closed for this show (thank God, because it was scorching hot outside) and black tapestries covered all of the white, opaque roof panels to make it darker inside and AVENGED SEVENFOOLD vocalist M. Shadows made note to the Houston crowd that this was the first time on the tour that they were able to play in the dark, something that definitely added to the ambience of their set. The band was tight and in good spirits, with bassist Johnny Christ sporting a green mohawk and guitarists Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance trading riffs all night. Even former BAD RELIGION drummer Brooks Wackerman was enjoying his moments in the spotlight as the band rolled through hits such as "Bat Country", Nightmare" and set closer "Unholy Confessions". And even though their set was also only 9 songs, somehow they managed to stretch that into an hour+ performance. M. Shadows also revealed that the band would be back out this Fall on a headline tour of their own so be sure to catch that one!

AVENGED SEVENFOLD Setlist:

  • "The Stage"
  • "Afterlife"
  • "Hail To The King"
  • "Almost Easy"
  • "Buried Alive"
  • "Bat Country"
  • "Nightmare"
  • "God Damn"
  • "Unholy Confessions"
At precisely 9pm the lights dimmed and the heroes of the evening, METALLICA, made their way to the stage. By this time the entire stadium and floor area was packed and you could feel the electricity coursing through the 50,000+ in attendance. METALLICA last played Houston at this very same venue, then known as Reliant Stadium, in 2003 (according to the band's website) so needless to say the throngs of Houston fans had waited a long time for this day. As the lights dimmed, the graveyard scene from the movie The Good, The Bad And The Ugly was shown on 5 giant LED panels that accordianed across the back of the stage (each about 25' wide and 40' high) as Ennio Morricones song "The Ecstasy Of Gold" was played. In a flash, the band appeared onstage and proceeded to kick Houston's collective asses with "Hardwired", one of 5 tunes the band would cull from their recent release Hardwired...To Self Destruct, and the fans knew that "We're all fucked, Shit out of luck", to coin a phrase from the chorus of the song. Song Two came in the form of Atlas Rise!, followed by For Whom The Bell Tolls" before anyone had a chance to catch their breath and check for early signs of whiplash.

And while the setlists from VOLBEAT and AVENGED SEVENFOLD were seemingly written in stone, METALLICA have made a point of rotating songs #4, 10 and 16 so that different cities would get different material. Song #4 for Houston was the classic "Creeping Death", followed up by "The Unforgiven" and the next new track, "Now That We're Dead", which included an extended drum solo in the middle where huge drums were rolled onto the stage and all members took part. "Moth Into Flame", "Wherever I May Roam" and "Halo On Fire" were next, after which it was time for guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Rob Trujillo to come front and center on the snakepit platforms for solos that included parts of "I Disappear" and "Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)". The most poignant moment of the entire show occurred during Rob's solo. While he was featured on the 2 outside LED panels of each side, the middle screen showed old performance footage from late bassist Cliff Burton that brought chills to this reviewer. A very classic memorial to be sure!

Song #10 brought out "Hit The Lights" and then "Sad But True". The LED screens then lit up with footage of a line of soldiers marching along and the crowd roared their approval for the intro to "One", one of their most memorable tracks. While the intro played itself out on the panels, pyro went off in different locations on the stage to simulate battlefield explosions and fire before frontman and guitarist James Hetfield took to the mic. An epic performance of this song was used by the band as a launching pad to obliterate what was left of NRG Stadium with the finish to the pre-encore set of "Master Of Puppets", "Fade To Black" (incidentally the last song that KNAC 105.5 ever played) and Seek & Destroy".

After a few minutes of fan-fueled encouragement then band returned to perform 3 encores. Song #16 for Houston was "Battery" before the band wrapped things up with "Nothing Else Matters" and, what else, "Enter Sandman", which after an 18-song, 2 and a half hour concert by the metal masters, many in the audience were ready to let happen.

I was never what you would consider a hardcore METALLICA fan. In fact, some of the tunes I like best from them are ones that most fans would call "weak" (ie - ones from Load or Reload). Nevertheless, this tour is one you must see if you have the opportunity. Nearly every show is selling out these huge stadiums (the band played to 110,000 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas on Friday) and it is definitely one of the biggest visual spectacles you will ever witness! A HUGE thanks goes out to Sheila Tidwell (Rose) for letting me borrow the perfect lens for shooting the pics of this show!

METALLICA Setlist:

  • "Hardwired"
  • "Atlas Rise!"
  • "For Whom The Bell Tolls"
  • "Creeping Death"
  • "The Unforgiven"
  • "Now That We're Dead"
  • "Moth Into Flame"
  • "Wherever I May Roam"
  • "Halo On Fire"
  • "Hit The Lights"
  • "Sad But True"
  • "One"
  • "Master Of Puppets"
  • "Fade To Black"
  • "Seek & Destroy"
Encore:
  • "Battery"
  • "Nothing Else Matters"
  • "Enter Sandman"
Catch them at one of these remaining dates:
  • 7.5 - Orlando, FL - Camping World Stadium*^
  • 7.7 - Miami, FL - Hard Rock Stadium*^
  • 7.9 - Atlanta, GA - SunTrust Park*^
  • 7.12 - Detroit, MI - Comerica Park*^
  • 7.14 - Quebec City, QC- Festival DEte
  • 7.16 - Toronto, ON - Rogers Centre*^
  • 7.19 - Montreal, QB - Parc Jean-Drapeau*^
  • 7.29 - Los Angeles, CA - Rose Bowl*+
  • 8.4 - Phoenix, AZ - University of Phoenix Stadium*+
  • 8.6 - San Diego, CA - Petco Park*+
  • 8.9 - Seattle, WA - CenturyLink Field*+
  • 8.14 - Vancouver, BC - BC Place*+
  • 8.16 - Edmonton, AB - Commonwealth Stadium*+
* With AVENGED SEVENFOLD
^ With VOLBEAT
+ With GOJIRA

Check out some more photos from the show!
All Photos By Larry Petro/Petrofyed Photography


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