July 25, 2017, 2 years ago

Photos by: Thomas Mazerolles / Words by: Albert Lamoureux

gallery heavy metal metallica avenged sevenfold volbeat

With the absence of the Heavy Montreal festival, one of the biggest anticipated events of the summer is without a doubt the presence of Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold and Volbeat.

Located on Ile-Notre-Dame at the end of the Olympic rowing basin on the F1 track, the walk from the Jean-Drapeau metro is quite long and it is only normal to see many fans still getting to the site when Volbeat hits the stage at 6 PM. Kicking things off in style with the song “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown”, Volbeat means business. The band members are very dynamic on stage and move up and down the catwalk that was transformed into a boxing ring for the occasion. Michael Poulsen spent most of his time at the end of the catwalk, closer to the fans and did not miss a chance to interact with them. After asking the fans if they liked Johnny Cash, the band played a brief version of “Ring Of Fire” as an introduction to “Sad Man’s Song” and “16 Dollars”. Things got heavier at the end of their short set with the songs “Dead But Rising” and “Still Counting”. This really got the crowd going as they sang along each song. As always, the band was electrifying and their music was a great way to get the evening going.

After a short wait, Avenged Sevenfold came flying out of the gate with the songs “The Stage” and “Afterlife”. That got the fans to sing with M. Shadows instantly and create a few mosh pits as well. The song “Hail To The King” did not only create hysteria in the crowd, it also brought rain to the festivities for a brief period. That did not cool down the fired-up fans that were enjoying every second of their music. After a short drum solo, the band played crowd pleasers “Bat Country” and “Nightmare”. Even if M. Shadows moved around a lot on stage, the rest of the band spent more time on the main stage and used the catwalk sporadically. The band closed their set with “Unholy Confessions” and indicated that they would be back in Montreal very soon.

With the rain being a thing of the past, the fans were now anxiously waiting for Metallica to hit the stage. The introduction video showcasing “The Ecstasy Of Gold” finally started 10 minutes late, but the crowd did not mind, at last they would see their beloved Metallica once again. Kick starting things off with a few new ones from their latest album, fans sang with James Hetfield the lyrics of “Hardwired” and “Atlas, Rise!” Even if it is hard to see all the band members on the monstrous stage, you can always follow them on one of the five gigantic screens used as a backdrop. For those who love their latest outing, they were in for a treat as the band also played “Now That We’re Dead” (with an extended all band middle drum solo), “Moth Into Flame”, and “Halo Of Fire”. “For Whom The Bell Tolls” was a huge crowd pleaser early in the set and created many small mosh pits in the crowd. Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo played their solos before the bassist dove into the classic “Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)”. This became a touching moment for the fans as they could see both the late Cliff Burton and Trujillo play this song on the video screens. Fans barely had time to catch their breath before the band played “Motorbreath”, another classic song from their back catalogue that had eluded the set list for a few years. As always, “Sad But True” was a huge hit with its heavy guitars and pyros, but this time around the fans had a double dose of fireworks as they witnessed the fireworks competition at La Ronde behind them during that song. If the top half of the set contained mostly newer songs, the end of the set was dedicated to the diehard fans as the band played One, “Master Of Puppets”, “Fade To Black” in succession to an overly excited crowd. “Seek & Destroy” closed the set and was played at the end of the catwalk by the whole band and even included a small drum reminiscent of their garage days so Lars Ulrich could accompany his bandmates up front. Compared to their 2014 show at Heavy Montreal, the band used the catwalk a lot more and were getting as close to the fans as they could without jumping into the crowd. The band quickly came back on stage to play “Fight Fire With Fire”, “Nothing Else Matters” before closing the night with the crowd pleasing “Enter Sandman”.

As always, Metallica killed it on stage and the love story with the city of Montreal keeps growing with each concert. Diehard fans would have preferred less songs from the new and from their self-titled albums in favour of older songs, but the casual Metallica fans had a blast and sang their lungs out. The only negative thing about this whole experience was the walk back to the Jean-Drapeau metro which took forever, but that had nothing to do with the bands, it was simply a lack of foresight by the promoter.

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