On the scene at Yankee Stadium: Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax crank and shred

Metallica

Image Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Over the course of his band’s two-hour set to close out the Big 4 show at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night, Metallica frontman James Hetfield repeatedly asked the assembled crowd of over 41,000 headbangers, “Can you feel it?”

He didn’t have to worry; the collective had no trouble feeling it. Or hearing it. In perhaps a grandiose feat of overcompensation for the outdoor venue and the noise from the adjacent subway line, everything was cranked up to 11 from the first note to the last bellow.

Of course, this is metal, which means the louder the better, and while everybody brought their best noise, Metallica reigned supreme above them all. The bands populating the under-card all fared well, with Anthrax picking up points for sheer enthusiasm — most of the members are from New York, they were celebrating the release of their new album, and there was a spry joie de vivre that infiltrated even their thrashiest material, especially on the set-closing “I Am the Law.”

Megadeth primed the crowd for the headliner with some early shout-alongs (the one-two punch of “Symphony of Destruction” and “Peace Sells” was surprisingly anthemic), and Slayer bowling over everybody with a solid hour of ritual eardrum destruction (“Mandatory Suicide” was especially savage).

But then Metallica emerged, and everybody was reminded exactly why they remain one of the biggest bands in the world. Aided by some well-orchestrated pyrotechnics, a healthy dose of theatricality, and a bucketload of massive songs, the members of Metallica spryly navigated the huge stage parked in the outfield and held heavy court.

Fans actually sung along with “The Ecstasy of Gold,” the Ennio Morricone orchestration that scored the band’s entrance, and they didn’t have to do very much to sell themselves from there on out. Despite that, they still went the extra mile, sticking to mostly old favorites (“For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Welcome Home (Sanitarium),” “Ride the Lightning”), modern classics (“Master of Puppets,” “Sad But True,” “One”), and the songs from their latter-day albums that don’t entirely suck (“Fuel,” “Cyanide”).

But really, everything was just an amuse bouche for “Enter Sandman,” a song that has quite a bit of history for the copious number of New York Yankees fans in the audience, as future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera uses it as his entrance music.

Like “Iron Man,” “Smoke on the Water,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Enter Sandman” is an elevated classic, bigger than just a simple song. Its hook is so big, its riffs so powerful, its response so completely maddening, that it instantly becomes a near-historical moment every time it gets played.

Twenty years ago, when Metallica’s self-titled album (also known as The Black Album) came out, “Enter Sandman” wasn’t considered heavy enough. But it’s too good to be denied, and remains a definitive statement not only for the enduring nature of the music the Big 4 play but also the importance of Metallica on the rock landscape.

Though members of all four bands traded off lead duties on Metallica’s encore performance of Motorhead’s “Overkill,” this show belonged to James Hetfield, Kirk Hammet, Lars Ulrich, and Robert Trujillo. Many moments during the earlier sets were better, but none of them were “Enter Sandman.”

Were you there? Tell us what you thought in the comments below.

Read more on EW.com: 
Anthrax’s Scott Ian on playing Yankee Stadium, getting inspiration from ‘Lost,’ and facial hair
Metallica and Lou Reed reveal secret collaboration on full-length album
Metallica to work with Rick Rubin again: Five things they should keep in mind if they do

Comments (19 total) Add your comment
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  • Mike

    Absolutely right. I went for Slayer and Megadeth, but Metallica owned the show (although Slayer was about has heavy as I’ve ever seen them). Orion and the shout out to Cliff was high point.

  • UGH

    I could live through a Metallica concert without hearing Enter Sandman.

  • ERNIE

    What an unflattering picture to go along with this article. James and Kirk look like worn-out geezers. Lars was on Howard Stern yesterday and looked like a balding, old man.
    Sigh.

    • No More, No More

      Hetfield, Ulrich, and Hammett are pushing fifty, you ass. They’re still playing and playing well.

      • ERNIE

        I know that but looking at those pics (and my own mirror) makes me feel old.

  • Billy F

    Metallica definitely killed it… but no mention of “Battery?” That song shook the ground! well… maybe just the bronx.

  • A.Rae

    God, do I wish I could have been there! I saw almost this same bill in ’89 or ’90 and would have loved to revisit my misspent youth…

  • ERNIE

    $ says that Anthrax gets rid of Joey again after this next tour ends.

    • Dave

      Why do you say that? They just put out an entire new album together which kicks ass and their energy together was like the old days.

  • Tony

    The big four definitely blew the Bronx away! Awsome performances by all the bands. I’m glad I was part of history.

  • Ralph

    I hope Metallica STOPS playing Enter Sandman live in the next tour….Then we will see how many real fans show up….How much different would Metallica be without that song.

  • tt boy

    i can not say enough good things about joey belladonna.he is the best singer for your money,flatout the best singer you will ever hear.he trumps all those guys .EVEN ANTHRAX.bottom line,anthrax NEEDS joey, not the way around.

  • RC5

    99% of the review was on, but Orion was the high point. Seeing the whole of Yankee Stadium chanting “DIE!!!” during Creeping Death was pretty awesome too.

  • todd

    Enter Sandman was the highlight??? You must be a HUGE Metallica fan… LOL

  • mersault

    very good show, my favorite was slayer although I liked the four bands, metallica was good too but I have to admit that lars didn’t play good the double kick in one.

  • Andy

    I was there. Its the 2nd time i saw Anthrax, 4th time i’ve seen Megadeth, 2nd time seeing slayer, The 23rd time seeing Metallica. And let me tell you it was the best experiance of my life all the bands rocked but Metallica def brought their A game and they had a nice mix for all. They played their radio friendly stuff for the novice and they played their obscure stuff for the hardcore. it was amazing and i’m so glad i was there!

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