Metallica Nails It In Atlantic City


        A new trend is recording artists playing significant albums back to front to attract an audience. Metallica played ‘Ride the Lightning’ Saturday night and its eponymous ‘Black’ album the following evening at Bader Field in Atlantic City.
     Metallica doesn’t need to resort to gimmicks. The thrash-metal pioneers does things because it wants to deliver them in a certain way.
      The iconic act probably would have played to 65,000 fans in AC over the weekend regardless of the set list.
      Metallica impressed on a number of levels with its Orion Music + More Festival, which took over the entire Bader Field.
    The group organized an inspired three-stage fest, which featured an eclectic lineup of bands, which ranged from breezy popsters The Best Coast to snide English punks Arctic Monkeys and Brazilian headbangers Sepultura.
       There was plenty of cool stuff arranged by Metallica. Vocalist-guitarist James Hetfield displayed an array of custom cars at Orion. Kirk Hammett put together ‘Kirk’s Crypt,’ which featured film props, comics and movie posters.
      Bassist Robert Trujillo assembled a skateboarding demonstration at the site and a surfing competition at the beach, five blocks from the abandoned airport.
      But the big treat Sunday night was Metallica’s performance. Five songs into the set, the group played ‘Enter Sandman,’ the leadoff track from the self-titled release.
     Metallica delivering such fan favorites/concert staples as ‘Sad But True’ and ‘Wherever I May Roam’ is always welcome but the thrill of the ‘Black’ experience is catching versions of ‘Through The Never’ and ‘Don’t Tread On Me,’ which are rarely played.
    It makes perfect sense for Metallica to deliver ‘The Black Album’ since the album helped the band cross over from speed metal to the mainstream.
    But the two-hour set was much more than one disc.
     Takes on ‘One’ and ‘The Shortest Straw’ were flat out incendiary but ‘Blackened,’ which was backed with plenty of pyro, was the most passionate performance of the night. That was the apex of a beautiful evening. The Atlantic City skyline as the backdrop was perfect as Metallica blasted its way through to a rapt crowd.  It’ll be curious if Orion becomes an annual Atlantic City event or if the fest appears in another town next year.

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