Live Review: Metallica – Amsterdam (Night 1)

Live Review: Metallica – Johan Cruijff Arena, Amsterdam (Night 1)
27th April 2023
Support: Mammoth WVH, Architects
Words: Tim Finch

Metallica are the biggest metal band in the world right now, and the release of ’72 Seasons’ last week just cemented their position. Whilst they may have their naysayers, or fans stuck in 1986 who refuse to accept a band can develop their sound beyond their first three albums, for the rest of us Metallica can do little wrong.

Last November they announced a two year tour that would take in 23 cities (24 if you include Download Festival which was announced ahead of time and didn’t appear on the tour poster). The unique aspect of the tour… each city would host two shows across two nights. Different opening bands each evening and the promise of two different sets across those dates.

So five months after that tour announcement The Razor’s Edge team find themselves in Amsterdam for the opening night of the tour at the Johan Cruijff Arena, the stadium home to the once mighty Ajax.

Once again, for the stadium shows at least, Metallica return to “the round” giving a full 360 degree view on the band at the centre circle of the stadium. Many bands have done this format, but none have pulled it off to extent and success that Metallica have.

Mammoth WVH, featuring Wolfgang, the son of the late great Eddie Van Halen opens the show. Closing out 2021 with an arena tour alongside Alter Bridge, this summer see’s Wolfgang’s solo project step up to the stadiums.

The band utilise every second of their stage time, ‘Mammoth’ and ‘Mr. Ed’ opening their rock assault and Planet Rock regular ‘Don’t Back Down’ closing it out. The bands sound in the stadium for the band is huge, they sound louder and heavier than ever. They will have been unfamiliar to many prior to this evening, they leave the stage with a growing fan base, safe in the knowledge it will grow further across this two year trek!

British warriors Architects, a band who have gone from strength to strength in recent years, take to the stadium like they’ve done it all before. We last saw them in the very intimate setting of KK’s Steel Mill, today as the chill of the early Amsterdam evening swirls through the stadium they play in front of 60,000 rabid Metallica fans!

With a hour long set to warm the fans up they hit the ground running with a barrage of blistering tunes. ‘Black Lung’, ‘Doomsday’ and ‘Mortal After All’ all feature in a set rounded out by ‘Animals’. Metalcore may not be to everyones tastes, but the drive and energy behind the band helps them win over even the most ardent of naysayers. Where will they go from here!

With the formalities out of the way, there is only one band we are all really here to see tonight, the Metallica machine is a well-oiled behemoth and 60,000+ fans wait in anticipation as the hint of sunlight dies behind the clouds, growing ever darker above the stadium. As Ennio Morricone's ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ starts to play the hairs stand on the back of every single persons neck. There is electricity in the air, Metallica are about to step onto the stage once more!

As the atmosphere builds and smoke billows across the eight huge digital screens the opening notes of ‘Orion’ play out, a song no one expected the band to open with, but it works wonderfully. After the eight minute instrumental ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ follows, with its atmosphere building two minute intro the band have been on stage a full ten minutes before James Hetfield’s rasping voice rings out. From here ‘Holier Than Thou’ concludes the opening salvo and a magnificent one it is too.

As James addresses the crowd, noting that is it ‘Kings Day’ here in Amsterdam, it only seems fitting that ‘King Nothing’ should be next.

From here it’s into the newer segment of the set. Three new songs feature tonight including ‘Lux Æterna’, ‘Screaming Suicide’ and ‘Sleepwalk My Life Away’, the trio split by classic ‘Fade To Black’.

After a handful of post 1990 tunes including ‘Nothing Else Matters’, ‘Sad But True’ and ‘The Day That Never Comes’ we’re into the final furlong and the band are on fire.

‘Ride The Lightning’ leads to ‘Battery’ and the pits fire up all around the stage. Things get heated as the pyros flare during ‘Fuel’ and then its up to the real classics to round out the show ‘Seek and Destroy’ and ‘Master of Puppets’. Which brings the house down.

The fans wait expectantly for an encore that never comes but with the next show less than 48 hours away we have not got long to wait for our next Metallica fix.

For night one of a two year tour, it was a resounding success. There were no tracks from ‘And Justice For All’ tonight and notably big guns ‘One’ and ‘Enter Sandman’ were omitted. But with the promise that night two will not repeat any songs from night one, we have an idea of what Metallica will come armed with on Saturday.

Live Review: Metallica – Amsterdam (Night 1)

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