Alabama Shakes were solid, drawing a main-stage crowd to a second-stage show, and the Kills nailed it.  Explosions in the Sky were entertaining, and, by all accounts, Passion Pit and Sigur Ros were stunning.  But there was only one real story on Day 2 of the Outside Lands Festival, and the story was Metallica.

Golden Gate Park was their final San Francisco frontier  — Metallica have played virtually every Bay Area club, arena and stadium over the course of their 30-year history – and they were pumped:  of the 65,000 people in attendance, the four members of Metallica may have been the most excited of all.

"The whole vibe there is so f—ing next level that you know, all we've got to do is just show up and make sure we're firing on all 24 cylinders," drummer Lars Ulrich said last week, and, to invoke Nigel Tufnel,  last night Metallica were firing on all 25.  If there was ever a better concert in Golden Gate Park, it was only because there weren't thousands of people hoisting their iPhones overhead in annoying attempts to document it.

The show was vintage Metallica; it started with "Hit the Lights" and ended with "Seek and Destroy," both from their 1983 debut Kill Em All.  They played only one song during their two-hour set from their most recent release, 2008's Death Magnetic, and (no huge surprise), nothing from Lulu, their 2011 collaboration with Lou Reed. Amongst the highlights:  "Master of Puppets," "Fade To Black," "Nothing Else Matters" and, of course, "Enter Sandman."

There were fireworks and flame pots.  There were lasers and pyrotechnics, and 24 guitars were used over the course of an 18-song show. And while the bells and whistles may have taken the show over the top, it was Metallica's music that provided the spectacle.

–by Julie Farman

More on

Comments have been disabled on this post