Aug. 28, 2004

Metallica and Godsmack Bring Metal Mayhem to Allstate Arena

By Randy J. Klodz

This summer’s most anticipated heavy rock tour finally hit town when hard-rock icons Metallica returned to Allstate Arena, with Godsmack supporting, as legions of fans of both bands packed the venue on Aug. 28.

Bands often struggle with tackling the non-intimate feel of a monstrosity such as the Allstate Arena. Fear not, on this tour Metallica and Godsmack decided to have the stage in the center of the venue’s floor, with the stage having microphones set up at all four sides of the stage, allowing every seat in the house to have a clear view.

Godsmack--which includes Sully Erna on vocals and guitar; Tony Rombola on guitar; Robbie Merrill on bass and Shannon Larkin on drums--made the most of its 45-minute set, by mixing in fire towers and fireworks among the band’s bag of hits such as “Keep Away,” “Straight Out of Line” and “Re-Align.”

As an addition to the hit “Voodoo,” Erna manned a hidden drum kit and did a crowd-rising drum battle with drummer Larkin. A la David Draiman, the frontman to Chicago’s own Disturbed, Erna reminded the few brave fans that remained seated during Godsmack’s set, “This isn’t you sitting on your couch with you flipping your remote watching TV, this is a rock show,” before the completion of “Whatever.” Godsmack ended its set with “I Stand Alone,” which also appeared on the movie soundtrack for “The Scorpion King.”

Godsmack is currently touring behind the 2003 full-length album “Faceless” and the acoustic EP “The Other Side,” which debuted last March. A Godsmack live performance is taking to the big screen on Sept. 13 only, at theaters across the nation. For show times and cities, and for more information on Godsmack log on to www.godsmack.com.

During set change, females in the crowd turned the 45 minute break into Chicago’s own “Girls Gone Wild: Allstate Arena Edition.” But as soon as the lights dimmed, the crowd’s focus was on Metallica, which includes James Hetfield on vocals and guitar; Kirk Hammett on guitar; Robert Trujillo on bass and Lars Ulrich on drums.

The band’s 120-minute set put the fans into a frenzy, with Metallica--whose members are all in their 40s--playing like they were in their 20s, as eight light bulb lamps lit the stage as the band started the show off with “Battery.” Other favorites include “Fuel” “Creeping Death” and “Leper Messiah,” which Hetfield dedicated to “the boys of Godsmack,” noting that that Metallica was going to mix up the set list a bit for the fans that that also attended the sold-out Aug. 27 Allstate Arena show.

In between the raucous “St. Anger” and “Sad But True,” Trujillo climbed the small set and played a stirring extended bass solo that sounded more like tribal dance music heard within the rainforests of the Amazon.

Metallica is currently touring in support of 2003’s full-length album “St. Anger” and the EP “Some Kind of Monster,” which hit stores in July. The Metallica-based film “Some Kind of Monster” also appears in theaters across the nation. For more show times and cities, and for more information on Metallica log on to www.metallica.com.
Metallica Photo: Anton Corbin