After weeks of debate over the headliner credentials, Metallica finally took to Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage tonight (June 29) to play one of the festival’s most controversial ever booking. Their set began with a strange short film, that leapt from a spaghetti western film to a comedy skit starring the band, riffing on their recent bear hunting controversy.
Frontman James Hetfield declared himself “very proud to be here and represent the heavier side of music” after an incendiary opening, featuring the song ‘Creeping Death’.
Though the crowd was sparser than for Arcade Fire on Friday, the band nevertheless proved a big draw.
‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ followed ‘Creeping Death’, then ‘Wherever I May Roam’ which saw bassist Robert Trujillo, wearing a Metallica vest, prowling the far reaches of the stage.
“Do you want heavy? Do you want heavy? Metallica gives you heavy!” said James Hetfield, stirring the crowd into a frenzy before ‘Sad But True’.
‘Fade To Black’ was next up, ending in a climactic solo. Hetfield then asked questions of the crowd, revealing a side of himself that’s in tune with Glastonbury’s hippy aesthetic, asking the audience to “raise your hand if you want this earth to be a better place” before launching into ‘Death Magnetic’ highlight ‘Cyanide’.
“It’s going to get louder,” warned Hetfield before a pounding ‘The Memory Remains’, again asking the crowd to sing along. They duly obliged at the climax, when the band exited the stage.
They returned flanked by animations of World War One soldiers and played big hitters ‘One’ and ‘Master Of Puppets’, which saw epic guitar solos from Kirk Hammett and visuals recalling the sleeve of the well-received 1986 album on the screen. ‘Nothing Else Matters’ and ‘Enter Sandman’ followed.
Returning for the encore, Hetfield told the crowd: “Well, looks like we gotta do more. Do you like this stuff? Guess I’m not the only one…” They then played their cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ before their final track, ‘Seek And Destroy’.
Taking their bows at the end, drummer Lars Ulrich told the crowd: “I came down here last night and I’ve walked every corner of this festival, and let me tell you, there is no place like this on this fucking earth. Thank you Michael, thank you Emily, thank you Nick. Metallica loves you and we hope to see you another fucking time!”