Köln The roof of the sold-out RheinEnergie Stadium, if it had one, would have been lifted as the living legends – Metallica – sang the Cologne classic tune with the audience. Tens of thousands of overjoyed fans were sent to bed by the „sandman“ after two and a half hours.
The "Four Horsemen", as the quartet is called by fans, aka Metallica returned to Cologne – and they brought top-class support acts. As the saying goes "all good things come in threes“ – after Metallica had electrified the Lanxess-Arena on two evenings in the summer of 2017, the biggest metal band on the planet came to the Müngersdorfer Stadion for a third guest performance on Thursday. The quartet played songs from their current album "Hardwired...To Self-Destruct" in the sold-out „living room“ of 1. FC Köln, but they also had classics and a surprise with a goose bump guarantee on their label.
But before the living legends came on stage in front of the south stand, the audience had the pleasure of getting to know the young rockers of Bokassa. The four guys from Trondheim in Norway mixed hardcore punk with Stoner Rock and gave themselves a refreshingly non-vain and energetic performance. Afterwards the stage belonged to Ghost - if you thought you couldn't be afraid of ghosts in the daylight, you were taught better when you saw the Swedish band. The five-piece from Linköping, which is hyped in the scene, relies on masks and costumes in the style of the medieval church and appears live like a dark cult that performs a ritual.
Frontman Tobias Forge presented the full range of his group to the packed stadium on this evening and inspired with songs like "Rats", "Dance Macabre" and "Square Hammer" both vocally and by his self-ironic stage character called Cardinal Copia with bizarre rubber mask and skinny, red dress.
"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" gives fans goose bumps
After a short break , the time had finally come: The sounds of Ennio Morricone's "The Ecstasy of Gold" shot out of the boxes at half past eight. The song is especially well known from the spaghetti western "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" - but real Metallica fans get goosebumps with the melody because they know that the show will start any moment. Since the beginning of their career Metallica always started their set with this song.
Then finally, drummer Lars Ulrich followed by the rest of the group stormed onto the white lacquered and minimalistic stage, which had a bit of the flair of a dentist's office. As the opener they brought the title track of their current album, followed by "The Memory Remains" of their less popular 1997 album Reload.
Old-school supporters could then enjoy "Ride The Lightning", "The Thing That Sould Not Be" and "The Unforgiven" before going into a block of newer material. One of them was for example "Moth Into Flame",supported by an impressive pyro show - a row of fire fountains shot several meters high through the beams.
Hammett and Trujillo sang "Viva Colonia“
A quick glance at the music heroes was enough to find out that the four are more than fit, but since their guest performance two years ago in the Lanxess Arena at least optically have aged rapidly. Probably also because of the grey hair-dos of guitarist Kirk Hammett and vocalist James Hetfield, who also ran up with a silver Hulkamania beard.
But vocally and musically Metallica were fully present: Hetfield barked his lyrics into the microphone, beating the riffs out of his guitar precisely, Hammett let his Wah-Wah scream, bassist Robert Trujillo crawled over the stage as usual with „Duckface“ and Lars Ulrich apparently still prefers practicing live how to play drums - but that somehow is a part of it all.
The sound needed some getting used-to at the beginning, because it was very high and bass-heavy at the same time, but the technicians quickly got the sound under control, so that the audience could really enjoy the set from the third song at the latest. And it did – also thanks to a special surprise for Cologne: Between two songs Hammett and Trujillo sang "Viva Colonia" together with the audience. More applause cannotto be fetched here…
After about two and a half hours, during which of course, the "Master of Puppets" or "Nothing Else Matters" could not be missing, the finale started. And that couldn't be more opulent. With fireworks and fan choirs Metallica sent the „sandman“ into the race and released tens of thousands of overjoyed fans into bed. Original text: Dennis Sennekamp Translation: Mareike Graepel