[Gig Review] Metallica in Shanghai: Wherein they Roamed, The Memory Remains!

I’ve been going to shows for the most part of 2 decades now with only a few bands missing a checkbox in my bucket list. Even bands i never thought i’d see back in 196 when said bucket list was made have check mark next to their name: Motley Crue reunited, Concrete Blonde got it back together. Pantera came around Toledo,OH back in the days before the splits and the death… the list goes on. Metallica managed to evade me until this year! As soon as they signed up for Shanghai, there was absolutely no fucking way in hell i would miss that show. And I’m glad i didn’t.


The Setup:

Mercedes-Benz arena is a beauty, from the outside and the inside! Sure, Beijing has the Mastercard Arena but it just didn’t feel the same. On that Tuesday the 13th of August 2013, It was just as packed as it could be. Show sold out in 7mn flat but looking at the outside area, you could tell a few scalpers had gotten a bunch of tickets. Still, by the time the band cued in “the ecstasy of gold”, it was jam packed!

A sober stage was facing everyone with 2 levels. Big screens, microphone stands and a drumkit. No gimmicks, no pyros, nothing. A straight up, no bullshit rock n roll extravaganza that should be remembered by everyone in attendance.

The Audience:
I swear half of the arena was filled with folks that came in from elsewhere in China: Beijing was well represented with members of Suffocated, Unregenerate Blood, WHAI, Lidong, Bad Mamasan and pretty much what felt like every ningxia musician around. I should know as i randomly ended up chugging baijiu with them after the gig.
This is a good sign for the future should the band decide to come back and play the capital. I venture to say that they might be able to sell out a stadium as opposed to an arena. I don’t know if they can get the 100K that Mayday did at the Bird’s Nest but I’m pretty positive they could make a mark.

The Gig:

See for yourself the opening minute of the concert or so… !! yeah, i was that close to the stage!

Take a look at the setlist below, which I believe to be correct for August 13th:


Main Performance:
-The Ecstasy of Gold (Ennio Morricone song)
-Hit the Lights
-For Whom the Bell Tolls
-Harvester of Sorrow
-Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
-Broken, Beat & Scarred
-The Memory Remains
-Wherever I May Roam
-The Unforgiven
-Sad but True
-Fade to Black
-Nothing Else Matters
-Enter Sandman

-Breadfan (Budgie cover)
-Seek & Destroy

I’m a fan boy and I loved it all! J-curls warned me before the gig that it would be louder than anything i ever heard which turned out not to be the case but the sound came through clear and perfect throughout the night. It could have had more impact but being used to crap sound around here, it all sounded great to me.
There was one particular moment when Lars’ drums just sounded completely out of what for a while but even that didn’t last long.. It’s lars after all. Can someone buy him a haircut?

The rest of the band didn’t disappoint: James’ vocals were on, Kirk’s guitar playing drew its share of cheers throughout the 2 hours performance and Robert is just a possessed madman on stage! It was amazing watching him running up and down, slapping that bass and interacting with the crowd.

Speaking of the crowd, they pulled their weight: There was plenty of singing along, power fist pumps and noise to make them proud. I think the band had to work extra hard to keep them going but they followed suit. Everyone did! Despite the heavy security, there was no problems that i was aware of and that was an extra positive.

A nice weird moment though was during Nothing Else Matters, as I turned back and glanced at the arena behind me, where once lighters would have been, you could see the glow of cell phone flashes.. my oh my.. i guess less risks of accidents but there was always something poetic about an audience pulling out their zippos. On the bright side, no one brought in glowsticks \m/^=^\m/

Shwank-man, my brother in Metal for the show, who’s been to his share of Metallica gigs ranked this one up there and i have no reason to doubt him. To quote him: “Metallica just liberated shanghai”

and did they ever! Thanks guys for the great gig and for playing a great setlist spanning a whole career! I wish i was there the second night to hear Leper Messiah but i’m hoping there will be a next time still.

Until then, for those about to rock.. I salute you!

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5 Responses

  1. e-head says:

    Sounds awesome, and it is true that a crowd and a special tour can bring out the best in a band. When I saw them at Download last year in the UK, they seemed to be running through the numbers in front of a largely uninterested crowd that was in the midst of a metal festival (and really waiting for the return of Black Sabbath the next night). Plus they were doing the black album in reverse in the middle of the setlist (as part of that tour), so there was a lot of very mediocre songs throughout that pulled the energy down. And Lars was particularly terrible that night as well…. Great to hear that China’s metal fans are finally getting the respect they deserve from bands that have been worshipped for a long time on the mainland!

  2. china_chas says:

    Nice review of an excellent show – best gig in China. I agree with your brother-in-Metal, I think that was the best Metallica show I’ve seen (of 7 in total), and I wasn’t expecting it at all (especially when I heard that One and Master of Puppets wouldn’t be on the setlist).

    Kudos indeed to the crowd, even the two Shanghai girls near us that were dressed for a nightclub were giving it their all by the end of the show.

  3. Beijing Daze says:

    absolutely… i still wish i went in for the second night though. I heard the sound was even better!

    • china_chas says:

      And here’s me wishing I’d heard Orion on the first night! Sound was indeed good – not as good as Osaka a few days before, but nothing to complain about.

      BTW I agree re. Lars’s haircut. Maybe he wanted one before the gig, but went to one of the barber shops that don’t have scissors?

  4. jonthecon says: