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- Posted on Jul 17th 2011 1:15PM by Jonathan Dekel
CP, Festival D'Ete de Quebec
The awesome power of the moment, the writhing sea of black and skin, was not lost on Hetfield and the rest of Metallica, who rode its proverbial lightening throughout the rest of the evening.
It's been some time since the rock behemoths had played the provincial capital, a fact not lost on their fans, several hundred of whom first gathered at the Plains in the early hours of the morning. That number swelled to several thousand by mid-afternoon, eventually forcing the festival to close down the main gate, redirecting fans to an area behind the stage where big screens had been set up to broadcast the show, which also featured local act Dance Laury Dance and guitar god (and Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett's guitar teacher) Joe Satriani, whose virtuosic playing was welcomed by the capacity crowd.
The show was easily the biggest of the two-week, citywide festival, garnering both tense media attention and security, but it managed to go off without a hitch. Arriving onstage shortly after their scheduled 9:45PM set time, Metallica dipped heavily into their back catalogue during their two-hour plus performance, favouring early fan-favourites such as the stomping 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' and the progressive 8-minute metal fantasy, 'Master of Puppets' over much of their more recent output.
Admittedly, though, the night's most striking moment came during the coda to 'The Memory Remains' (off of 1997's 'ReLoad') when the crowd sang fellow Festival d'Ete performer Marianne Faithfull's wordless shanty a capella as the four band members nodded along.
"When I was a kid, this was my dream," Hetfield told the crowd towards the end of the night. Looking out at a sea of blinking red lights (given out as passes by the festival for just that reason), he asked the floodlights get turned on so that he could see the audience. Then he stood, facing a sea of humanity, and rocked his heart out, leaving nothing in the tank; a luxury of tour-ending shows.
As the closing notes of blistering encore-closer 'Seek and Destroy' rang out into Quebec's warm summer air, the four men in Metallica walked off stage triumphant. Like the British before them, they stood atop the Plains of Abraham as conquerors, gripping each other as brothers and kings.