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FROM THE VAULT: Metallica Was at Their Best During Riverport Concert (1994)

Metallica’s James Hetfield performing during their show at Riverport Amphitheatre June 28, 1994. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

(Originally published July 5, 1994 Edwardsville (IL) Intelligencer)

— by Sean Derrick

When a band goes on tour with no album to support, it is usually one of 3 cases generally, but not all inclusive; 1) The band has no contract and needs money (This is recognizable by shows which feature 3 or 4 other non-contract bands), 2) Thier album is coming out late and they don’t want to cancel any shows, or 3) The band members are bored.

Metallica is an exception however. While it is true they don’t have an album to support, they are by no means broke, and are definitely under contract. No, the three-time Grammy winners are out on the road just looking for inspiration for their next album.

Metallica’s Kirk Hammett performing during their show at Riverport Amphitheatre June 28, 1994. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Metallica plans on using the vibe from the audience to put the next album together, so it can have a more raw, live sound instead of hibernating away from the world inside the studio. So, they launched a summer tour to get some ideas flowing. One of their sold-out shows was last Tuesday’s show at St. Louis’ Riverport Amphitheatre.

Metallica opened the show with an extremely loud cover of the 1973 Budgie cult classic “Breadfan”. With this the band showed that this show was going to be different from their last jaunt here two years ago. Songs that weren’t included the last time were spotlighted on Tuesday. Songs such as “No Remorse”, “Phantom Lord”, “Creeping Death”, and “The Four Horsemen” caught the audience by the hair and wouldn’t let go.

Metallica’s Jason Newstead performing during their show at Riverport Amphitheatre June 28, 1994. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Metallica belted through “Disposable Heroes” and “So What” with such vigor that at times it seemed like the 20,000 fans in attendance would bring Riverport to it’s knees.

While Metallica relied heavily on their older material, they also dug into much of their more recent material, like “Sad But True”, “The God That Failed”, and the extremely popular “Enter Sandman”. However, with “Enter Sandman” it seemed as if the band was just going through the motions with little feeling, almost as if they were bored with that song already. That would be easy to understand considering they are asked to play it wherever they go.

Metallica’s James Hetfield performing during their show at Riverport Amphitheatre June 28, 1994. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Make no mistake, Metallica (James Hetfield – lead vocals/guitar, Jason Newstead – bass, Kirk Hammett – guitar, and Lars Ulrich – drums) was at their best most of the night, especially on “Mastser of Puppets”, “Wherever I May Roam”, “Sanitarium”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, and “Seek and Destroy”. Newstead took over lead vocals for “Seek and Destroy”, providing a grittier sound for the band. It would be interesting to hear him sing lead on one of the new songs from the next album (hint, hint).

During the entire show so many people were headbanging at such a frantic pace to keep up with the music that I was waiting for heads to come rolling off and down the aisles like sacrifices to their heavy metal gods.

Metallica’s Jason Newstead performing during their show at Riverport Amphitheatre June 28, 1994. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

While the stage was scaled down considerably from the “…Roam” tour, they still had enough pyrotechnics to wake even the most comatose drunk, that is if the concussions from the music didn’t wake them first. The greatest pyro set was during the opening of the power ballad “One”. The other power ballads performed were “Nothing Else Matters” and “Fade to Black”, songs that showed just how versatile the band really is.

While Metallica cut down on bass and guitar solos for this tour (Thanks grunge) each member stood out as bigger than life. Hetfield, in particular, seemed to take on a persona of a hunter stalking his prey as he roamed the stage.

Metallica’s James Hetfield performing during their show at Riverport Amphitheatre June 28, 1994. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Suicidal Tendencies and Danzig opened the show, albeit briefly. Each band played for about 45 minutes combined. S.T’s lead singer Mike Muir had to perform while stationary on a couch due to an injured leg. This toned down their set considerably. It didn’t matter, though, as the vast majority of the crowd was there to see Metallica and many even missed the abbreviated S.T. set due to issues getting into the Amphitheatre parking lot.

Metallica Setlist:

Breadfan

Master of Puppets

Wherever I May Roam

Harvester of Sorrow

Welcome Home (Sanitarium)

The God That Failed

Ride the Lightning/No Remorse/The Four Horesemen/Phantom Lord/Fight Fire With Fire

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Disposable Heroes

Seek and Destroy

guitar solo

Nothing Else Matters

Creeping Death

Bass solo

Fade to Black

Whiplash

Encore:

Sad But True

One

Encore 2:

Enter Sandman

So What

One thought on “FROM THE VAULT: Metallica Was at Their Best During Riverport Concert (1994)

  • I was there great show!

    Reply

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