Rock On


Devon Abler, Arts and Community Editor

Grand Forks experienced the Metallica World Tour on Saturday night. Spectators were treated to an outstanding performance by the four band members. Guitarist James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo brought an infectious energy to the Alerus Center stage that had the crowd headbanging by the first song.


The night started off with comedian Jim Breuer taking the stage. Sharing experiences that he has had working with metal bands, Breuer kept the crowd in good spirits while waiting for the show to start. Breuer received word that a wedding was taking place at the same time as the concert.


Asking the crowd if it would be okay, he went and brought the newly wed couple, Donald and Jenna Haugen to the stage. They celebrated their first dance as a couple while the crowd cheered them on.


Founded in 1981, Metallica has been performing throughout the world for 37 years. Hetfield, Ulrich and Hammett are founding members of the group and Trujillo has been part of Metallica for the past 15 years. Before the crowd was subjected to metal awesomeness, Breuer brought the crowd’s energy to a new level by putting together a chant. After a tantalizing 15 minutes the show began.


“Are you feeling good tonight,” James Hetfield said. “Cause we are here to take you to another level.”


Beginning with the song Hardwired, the four musicians were determined to provide excellence. Ulrich played the drums with a precision that only comes from 37 plus years of practice. His off beats were perfectly timed to the beat and he navigated the ever changing time signatures with ease.


There was a small technical difficulty towards the middle of the set when Hammett’s guitar was not attached to the audio system. Instead of apologizing for the longer intro, Hetfield took a moment to remind everyone that they are still humans.


“We’re still figuring this shit out,” Hetfield said. “We’ve been together for 37 years and you’d think that we’d have this put together.”


As the night continued, musicianship only increased. Hammett played with precision at a speed that made it almost impossible to detect each individual finger. While the genre was metal, Hammett brought emotion and passion to his solos.


For the past 15 years the band has been graced with the bass skills of Robert Trujillo. For new Metallica fans, they would not have been able to detect that Trujillo was not an original member of the group. He and Hammett played in complete sync with one another during a soloistic duet. Trujillo built a strong relationship with the crowd, feeding off of their energy and bringing his own personality to the stage as well.


Everything was a live performance. In a society where so many things function on technology, this band has prided themselves on performing everything live. Not only does this continue to hold the band to a high performance standard, but it is a value that is being passed on through generations.


People of all ages were present at the show. From individuals labeled by the band as old, to children as young as four years old, the Metallica family is one whose roots will not be dying out in the near future.


“We’ve been around for 37 years and we’ve seen a lot of stuff,” Hetfield said. “Even fuck ups like me are welcome in this family. I look out here and I see all ages at this show which is amazing.”


After three hours of live music, the band closed out the show by playing an encore comprised of the songs “Battery,” “Nothing Else Matters” and “The Sandman.” Throughout the entire night, the sound waves reverberated through my chest making this experience not just an audible experience, but also a physical experience.


“I know I speak for my bandmates here, but we are so blessed and grateful that every single one of you are here,” Hetfield said.


Metallica delivered a show that was suitable for all ages and provided not only an audible and visual experience, but a physical experience as well. 37 years of music making left the crowd with a musical experience that will be difficult to beat. For those interested in concerts, visit the Alerus Center website for ticket and show information.