Metallica with support from Ghost performing their Worldwired Tour at The Etihad Stadium Manchester on Tuesday 18th June 2019

Images and Pictures by Kevin Cooper

Last night at The Etihad Stadium in Manchester a packed crowd was wearing every conceivable Metallica T shirt spanning nearly forty years of touring including the 2009 World Magnetic Tour which saw them perform at the then Trent FM Arena.

Now, front man James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo are back in the UK in support of their 2015 album, Hardwired…To Self Destruct, and Manchester was one of only two dates.

Getting the crowd ready was the quirky Ghost who were last seen in Nottingham at Rock City in December 2015 and instead of their papal attire, front man Tobias Forge (Cardinal Copia) looked resplendent in devilish red, accompanied on stage by his Nameless Ghouls, dressed in black and sporting chrome masks, who filled the stadium with a cacophony of music that had this crowd on side from the off.

Before the elaborate church themed backdrop, they kicked off with Ashes from their latest album, Prequelle which was quickly followed up with Rats. Changing the theme from rodents to religion, Absolution made its presence known as the stage was filled with eerie smoke.

Ritual received a raucous reaction and Cirice provided a sing along friendly respite. Finishing a one hour set with their big song, Square Hammer, the band had delivered flawless musicianship with their remarkable sense of rock.

With the rain making an unwanted appearance, Metallica took to the stage for a two hour set of blistering heavy metal that contained a mix of both old and new songs. With giant screens behind them depicting a montage of images, they walked on stage to Ennio Morricone’s Ecstasy Of Gold, before they launched into new song, Hardwired.

Swiftly following up with The Memory Remains and Disposable Heroes, the crowd were content to sing along. The Unforgiven, one of Metallica’s biggest hits went down a storm, as did other fan’s favourites, Sad But True, played a little slower and heavier and was a real highlight, an absolutely tremendous performance of One , and Master Of Puppets with images of war heroes turning into skeletons depicted on the screens.

With an energy expected from much younger bands, Hetfield’s vocals were on point; Hammett reeled off his solos effortlessly as Trujillo stalked the stage with his bass slung low. With the band and the fans absolutely soaked the set was brought to a close with Creeping Death and fan sing along favourite, Seek & Destroy.

For the encore it was new song Lords Of Summer and then back to the 90’s for the classic Nothing Else Matters and their mega hit Enter Sandman, which saw pyrotechnics warm up the crowd and light up the Manchester sky, to finish an evening that had been heavy, loud and an abundance of fun.