Metallica's first show of 2022 proved to be a triumphant affair as the band made their 2022 live debut at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Playing for the first time since their mammoth 40th Anniversary celebrations in San Francisco in December 2021, Metallica played things relatively safe with a hits-packed setlist of live favourites.
With support coming from rising stars Ice Nine Kills and Greta Van Fleet, we figured it was a good time to get a good look at everything we've learned from Metallica's first show of 2022...
Ice Nine Kills' live shows are as insane as their videos
Ice Nine Kills made quite the stir with last year's The Silver Scream 2: Welcome To Horrorwood, the band's music videos helping to cement their reputation for brilliantly unhinged, Broadway-style metalcore.
Judging from the videos emerging from Vegas, their live set is just as filled with Alice Cooper/GWAR style theatricality, complete with severed heads. It's one hell of a show and justifies their inclusion at #3 the Hammer best albums of 2021 list.
Massive stages suit Ice Nine Kills well
The likes of Architects, Parkway Drive and Bullet For My Valentine have long-since proven that metalcore can go over exceptionally well on massive stages. But honestly, watching videos of Ice Nine Kills own every inch of space at stadium level is exactly the kind of inspiring thing we want to see from up-and-coming metal bands in 2022. No wonder they were bumped up to Second Stage at this year's Download Festival...
Greta Van Fleet are stadium rock reinvented for the 2020s
Yes, yes we all know the Led Zeppelin comparisons when it comes to Greta Van Fleet, but you know what else they do like Led Zeppelin? Own stadiums.
GvF have been in ascendance for some time now, so seeing them up and playing stadiums alongside Metallica feels like just one step removed from the band coming back to headline those same stages one day - and we're very here for it.
We'll happily see drum solos retired, mind
We love the return of so many great rock tropes of the 70s, but drum solos aren't one of them. Up there with 25-minute noodling guitar solos, we shouldn't need some overblown segment where the rest of the band nip backstage for 'refreshments' to show us how good you are - that's what the songs are for.
No-one does intros like Metallica
It's a given fact of life that Metallica will take to the stage to the stirring notes of Ennio Morricone's The Ecstasy Of Gold, but the inclusion of ACDC's It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock N Roll) has added a touch of rock'n'roll nostalgia in recent years. Add to that the fact the band kicked off with Whiplash and we're talking full-throttle thrash brilliance to get right into the swing of things.
Opening with Whiplash!! #Metallica pic.twitter.com/Oak5nfbE2DFebruary 26, 2022
Metallica are sticking to the hits
Anyone hoping the inclusion of Load, St. Anger and Death Magnetic rarities in the 40th Anniversary shows might prompt some stylistic risk-taking was left disappointed by Metallica's first setlist of 2022.
That said, you really can't argue with Metallica sticking to the hits, especially when you're talking about some of the biggest songs in the entire metal genre. Master Of Puppets, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Sad But True - these are the songs lesser bands' careers are made of, and Metallica hand them out like they're on sale.
James Hetfield's words of encouragement are a light in these dark times
Fade To Black may have some (unearned) infamy among the 80s metal elite who couldn't quite reconcile the idea of acoustic guitars and thrash coming together, but it also opened an entirely different branch of introspective, heartfelt songwriting to the band.
Considering James Hetfield's public battles with his own demons, hearing him give a heartfelt speech during Fade To Black is exactly the kind of showing we want from our metal icons in 2022. "This song goes out to all who struggle, because we all do. If you think you're the only one... it's a lie. You can talk to your friends, talk to somebody - because you are not alone."
We're jealous of anyone that gets to see Metallica this year
With their calendar slots already filling up (including festival dates in Europe this summer), it's looking likely that Metallica's schedule for 2022 might be almost completely announced.
That means the band's appearance at Las Vegas's Allegiant Stadium is one of only a handful of US stadium headline shows this year. Meanwhile, fans in the UK will need to cross over to the continent this summer if we've any hope of seeing Metallica in 2022 (don't tempt us).
Metallica are looking - and sounding - great going into 2022
With a full stadium set-up behind them, Metallica were able to bring their production to life in Las Vegas. It looked utterly incredible and now we've got a serious case of FOMO.
Metallica performing on 2/25/22 in Las Vegas, NV. Photos by Jeff Yeager and Brett Murray. #Metallica #JamesHetfield #LarsUlrich #KirkHammett #RobertTrujillo pic.twitter.com/HBws8lj15gFebruary 27, 2022
Metallica's encore is insane
Cliché as the whole 'encore' is, there's an inherent thrill to watching a massive band return after a packed setlist for one last thunder round the course. Metallica are no exception and the final triarchy of Battery, Nothing Else Matters and Enter Sandman is about as perfect a summation of the band's offering as you can hope to find.
Metallica ending the show with a bang
You're playing quite possibly the biggest song in metal as your closing number, but how do you make sure things end on a high? A massive fireworks display, of course.
And that’s how you end a show in @AllegiantStadm @Metallica #metallica #vegas #raidernation pic.twitter.com/a1QJxMh1BTFebruary 26, 2022
Fact: Thrash metal keeps you young
Metallica might have celebrated their 40th anniversary last year, but you'd scarcely believe any time has passed at all watching them blast out frantic tunes like Fuel, Creeping Death and Battery. But while the band are raring for more, the same couldn't be said for everyone in the crowd...
16-yr-old me would be so happy right now. 46-yr-old me has earplugs in and is questioning all my life decisions. #Metallica pic.twitter.com/cQR3RBAY57February 26, 2022
For the full list of Metallica tour dates for 2022, visit the band's website
Metallica setlist - Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas 25/02/2022
- Ride The Lightning
- The Memory Remains
- Seek & Destroy
- Sad But True
- Moth Into Flame
- Wherever I May Roam
- For Whom The Bell Tolls
- Creeping Death
- Fade To Black
- Master Of Puppets
- Nothing Else Matters
- Enter Sandman