Jim Derogatis of the Chicago Sun-Times reviewed METALLICA's headlining performance at Chicago's Allstate Arena Friday night (August 27). An excerpt from his review follows:
"The problem with METALLICA's more than two-hour set, however, was that Hetfield and his bandmates — who've famously benefitted from band therapy sessions and all sorts of personal growth of late, as portrayed in the film "Some Kind of Monster" — weren't nearly angry enough, and safety is the last thing you want at a metal concert.
"The show started on a high note with "Blackened" from 1988's "...And Justice for All", and the set proper ended (before two extended encores) even stronger with the classics "Master of Puppets" and "Fight Fire with Fire".
"These tunes were potent, pummeling, unrelenting slices of the sort of speed metal or thrash that made the band one of the pioneering groups in the genre, and the group — including new bassist Rob Trujillo — tore into them with a vengeance as the stage, in mid-arena, slowly revolved over the course of the evening to give concertgoers a 360-degree dose of METALLICA.
"In between these high points, however, there were a whole lot of disappointments, including a momentum-killing trio of tunes from the band's last album, "St. Anger" — "Frantic", "Some Kind of Monster" and the title track — and "Disappear" from the soundtrack of "Mission: Impossible 2".
"As with much of the band's recent output, the riffs and rhythms of these bloated epics were nowhere near as intense as the artillery barrage of the group's best work. Hetfield crooned and cooed instead of growling in the manner hard-core metal heads love, and the metallic train flew right off the rails whenever the sappy, angst-ridden bridges, soggy Kirk Hammett guitar leads or would-be anthemic choruses rolled around.
"Adding to the annoyance factor was drummer Lars Ulrich's increasingly antic showboating. The lesser of METALLICA's two driving forces spent as much time making stupid faces at the fans and running out from behind his drum set to high-five the first few rows as he spent actually drumming. And, as many fans and critics have noted, his playing has been slowing down considerably over the last few tours." Read more.