Symphony Rolls During Opening Night Of Berkeley Stand
Metallica joined the San Francisco Symphony last night for the first of two sold-out concerts at the Berkeley Community Theatre. The two-hour show consisted of classic and new Metallica songs arranged especially for the ensemble by composer and conductor Michael Kamen.
The performance combined elements of both a sold-out heavy metal concert and a dignified evening at the symphony. Audience members received printed programs as uniformed ushers showed them to their seats. The classical musicians tuned their violins, cellos, and trumpets as the band took the stage. But as soon as Metallica began to play, the faithful headbangers in the audience jumped up and made their presence known. The fully amplified band and the deafening cheers of the crowd almost drowned out the orchestra at a few choice moments during the concert.
Metallica played material ranging from their hits to lesser known tunes, and two new songs called "No Leaf Clover" and "Human." For most of the show, Metallica occupied center stage, with drummer Lars Ulrich set up in front of the orchestra. But on slower songs such as "Nothing Else Matters" and "Hero of the Day," front man and guitarist James Hetfield, guitarist Kirk Hammett, and bass player Jason Newsted wandered into the string sections, walking and playing among the violins.
Metallica seemed perfectly at home performing alongside a full orchestral ensemble, but Hetfield did muse on the unusual setting for the band. "I used to wonder what it would be like if Metallica dressed up," he said. "We don't play any better. We're just getting our nice clothes all sweaty."
High points for the crowd of Metallica fans included hit songs such as "For Whom the Bell Tolls," "Wherever I may Roam," "Sad But True," and "Until It Sleeps." By the end of the show when the ensemble rolled out "One" and "Enter Sandman," even the ushers were singing along.
Michael Kamen's history with Metallica goes back to 1991 when he orchestrated "Nothing Else Matters" for the band's self-titled album. The Grammy award-winning composer's past work in the realm of popular music includes collaborations with David Bowie, Bryan Adams, Sting, Eric Clapton, and Aerosmith.
Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Michael Kamen perform again tonight in Berkeley.
The set for both nights is as follows: