What an amazing show last night in Madison Square Garden. This was the fourth and final
Metallica performance with an orchestra and it was to celebrate the release of the CD and
home video of "S&M", which documents the first symphony shows with the San
Francisco Symphony last April.
"For Whom The Bell Tolls" was absolutely awe inspiring. This song should
always be played with 78 more musicians backing up Metallica. The night closed with an
amazing string of "Where I May Roam", "The Outlaw Torn", "Sad But
True", "One", "Enter Sandman" and "Battery".
I always knew the combination of Metallica and a symphony would be fantastic. But live,
it was just beyond words. This was quite possibly
the best Metallica performance I've seen - perhaps even best concert period.
November 24, 1999 - NY TIMES
Metallica Performs With Orchestra
By The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP)-- Roll over Beethoven, tell Tchaikovsky the news!
Heavy metal giants Metallica joined forces with New York City's Orchestra of St. Lukes
Tuesday night to perform the band's thundering repertoire.
The Madison Square Garden concert, timed with the release of Metallica's live album,
``S&M,'' was an encore event to the band's performance in April with the San Francisco
Symphony. Michael Kamen, who conducted the April show, also conducted at Madison Square
``The San Francisco event was such a great challenge and so creatively rewarding, we
thought we wanted to give it another shot on the East Coast,'' said the band's drummer,
Lars Ulrich, before Tuesday's show.
From the moment the house lights dimmed and Kamen appeared on stage, the crowd went
into a frenzy.
The first selection performed was ``Call of Ktulu,'' a dramatic instrumental from the
band's second album, ``Ride the Lightning.'' As the Symphony played the first few bars
alone, singer/guitarist James Hetfield started plucking the familiar arpeggios of the
song. And one by one, each band member appeared on stage.
Without missing a cue, they jumped into the title track of their third album, ``Master
of Puppets.'' At that point the crowd was so loud you could barely hear the performance.
As the noise level of the crowd subsided, the different instruments from the symphony
blended beautifully with the crunch of Metallica's trademark sound.
A highlight of this unusual combination was ``Memory Remains,'' in which the orchestra
played a straightforward classical piece as Metallica played its ferocious power chords.
During the fifteen minute intermission, fans passed the time by reading the program
handed to them on the way into the arena and talking on cell phones, a rare sight to see
at any heavy metal concert.
When the lights dimmed again for the second half, Kamen jokingly scolded lead guitarist
Kirk Hammett for starting the intro of ``Nothing Else Matters'' before his cue. Hammett
sheepishly grinned and played it again -- perfectly.
One of the most dramatic songs of the night was the classic ``For Whom the Bell
Tolls,'' in which you could tell the symphony felt comfortable on stage and Metallica felt
comfortable having it there.
Metallica again proved that it can do whatever it wants and never seems to compromise
what the band believes in.
This review is from the NY Post:
Symphony For The Devil
Metallica teams with St. Luke's Orchestra for a classic gig
Roll over, Beethoven, and tell Tchaikovsky the news: Metallica toppled the golden wall of
classical music this week with a a heavy metal battering ram.
It happened at Madison Square Garden, where the classical longhairs
of the St. Luke's Orchestra banged heads with Metallica in a show Tuesday night that will
be talked about for years in barrooms and music-theory classes.
Right from the start, it was clear that this concert would be unlike anything in music
The symphony readied, adjusting its tuning. The conductor, Michael Kamen, then tapped his
baton, first to get the attention of the tightly wound St. Luke's Orchestra, then to set
time for the opener, "Ecstasy of Gold."
That tune, from the flim "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"- Metallica's longtime
entrance number-came to life with a sweep og Kamen's hand, igniting the audience's fuse.
Out of their seats they came, arms extended in a metal-music,
devil-finger salute. For a moment the crowd actually drowned out the 78 piece orchestra
with a wave of rabid cheers.
That's how the table was set for this bold, often beautiful concert. It wasn't your
typical rock show, and Metallica isn't your usual thrash-'n-thrash band. This one night
event illustrated that even though music may seem like it's in constant revolution, the
reality is evolution.
The orchestra appeared in formal black, while the Metallica boys
came on stage in casual black, wasting no time strutting their stuff in the night's true
opener, "The Call of Ktulu."
One might have expected the orchestra to lay the foundation for this 10-minute-plus
instrumental. But it was the other was around.
Thunder-of-the-gods drummer Lars Ulrich and his partner in beat,
bassist Jason Newsted, were the twin hearts of "Ktulu", while Kamen's crew
provided the surging top end, with swirling strings and muted horns.
Metallica vocalist James Hetfield strummed some guitar, but it was ax-ace Kirk Hammett who
ultimately took the piece home with a fast and fluid six-string electric-guitar solo that
had enough velocity and virtuosity to impress even the orchestra's clutch of violinists.
At a Metallica concert-with or without an orchestra-that's the way
it is. This is a band of accomplished musicians, not just a group of guys backing a
singer. And there was a democratic philosophy at work, in which the guest artists from St.
Luke's were accorded equal rights under the lights.
Considering that the songs were varied and the music was retooled,
the patrons-freaks, geeks, metal chicks, and even the Boston chapter of the Hell's
Angels-all seemed to appreciate what became a very successful experiment.
Goat-bearded Hetfield, a low-key frontman, was good on a few of the
opening set's songs. But it was on "Master of Puppets" where he really made his
mark. He incited the 19,000 fans to chant "Master, Master" with clench-fisted
passion as the orchestra's and band's contributions dovetailed nicely.
The goth-metal assault, with a horror-show symphonic arrangement,
made the tune's eerie elements boil to the surface, lending a bloodthirsty craziness to
"Puppets", which was thrilling and revolting at the same time.
The second half of this 20-song concert was more relaxed than the first. "Human"
was terrific, and the entire ensemble's performance of "Enter Sandman" was
possibly that tune's definitive rendition.
Metallica members also freely wandered into and through the sections
of the orchestra during the second half. At one point, you couldn't find Hetfield as he
sang. He was completely camouflaged in the in the sea of black tuxedos , nestled among the
This may not be the way you'd want your rock every time, but on a
night when the rules were broken, the music was sweet.