Metallica & San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
I’m writing this on my redeye back to the east coast the night of the event, I flew out to San Francisco and took a day off work specifically for this event – and yes I say event because this was no concert: but a musical spectacle. An odd clash of classical music and Heavy Metal; a combo on paper that shouldn’t work but they put it together flawlessly and create something the whole world needs to hear. Anyone who is a fan of Metallica knows they performed with SF Orchestra 20 years ago…once. Here we are today, 20 years later, they join together again to play 2 nights in the newly built Chase Arena, new home of the Golden State Warriors.
I’ve seen Metallica twice; once in Philly and another time in Cleveland, both shows were excellent, but after seeing this I’m not so sure I can go to another concert again, nothing will come close. Tool at Red Rock Amphitheatre was one of my favorite show up until this point; there is something strangely beautiful how Metallica and classical music blend together so perfectly. Not only did I have the opportunity to go (all thanks to my Dad for being a super fan and getting tickets thank you times 1000x) we also sat front row.
That’s right, on the floor, nothing between me and the stage besides security and the frequent camera operators filming the show for the theater event coming in October. I can see why people sit courtside now. Sure you don’t get the best view of the court, or in this case the stage, but the experience is like being behind the scenes. You get to see all the little details that go into making this happen while its happening. Camera ops running around carrying easily $100,000 worth of equipment. Audio guys, various guitars being handed back and forth, I’m so close I can read the sheet music of the violinist and the harp player and more. It was funny watching some of the older female musicians who look like they play bridge with my grandma on Tuesdays, rock out to Metallica while playing. You could tell they truly enjoyed the music and were having a blast playing it for the crowd. How could you not know though? I’m sure the SF Symphony is used to playing in crowds that size, but calmer, wearing nice suits and gowns, maybe a glass of champagne before enjoying the show. Now they have 20,000 metal heads raging face wearing all black singing along and chanting to every beat. Even the Orchestras lone set pieces were greeted by erupting roars and cheers. I’ve never been to an opera, or classical concert; but I imagine it being like golf; when Tiger sinks a putt from 50 feet out and everyone golf claps...its calm and respectful, or maybe restrained would be a better word; but now we’ve just allowed Happy Gilmore and the Adam Sandler gang into the mix and we have ourselves a party.
Metallica never sounded so good. I listened to the first S&M CD quite a bit and its pretty cool, but this was more refined, and the two styles seemed to compliment each other more where as previously it felt Metallica overpowered the Orchestra. It’s funny, you can tell which songs work better than others. Obviously there was No Leaf Clover, one of my all time favorite Metallica songs that was actually written in conjunction with the SF Symphony and Orchestra. Hearing that song live was a dream come true, I can’t tell you how many times I listened to that on repeat. But the real highlight/surprise song was Outlaw Torn. You never really hear that live, but to be honest I don’t even think I can listen to the Studio/CD version anymore. Outlaw Torn with SF Symphony was musical perfection through and through, the entire concert was.
Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra is music everyone needs to hear. I cannot stress this enough. The blending of genres if mind-blowingly good and all I could think while standing on my feet for 3 hours was: the whole world needs to hear this. You can’t not appreciate the music being played here. There is going to be another album of the live show released sometime in the next 9 months. Do yourselves a favor and give it a listen; you’ll be shocked and it may change your perspective on music all together and maybe even have you exploring different genres you usually don’t listen to. I’ve been to a ton of concerts, rap, rock and even country and an EDM show; this blows them all out of the water. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity because this will never happen again. (I don't think)
That wraps it up for me, the concert was grandiose and I hope everyone will give the CD a listen when it comes out. At least listen to No Leaf Clover and Outlaw Torn. I’m off to chug some coffee and go coach High School Football.