Movie time. “Metallica Through the Never” to be exact. I was surprised the 3D movie was playing at the Paradiso Theater. (Music sounds better in 3D of course.) The theater for the film was one of the small ones in the movie complex. I guess Malco didn’t expect Metallica to draw the huge crowd. There were a handful of audience members for the show, which is what I expected.
Let’s go back. Wayyyy back. Yes, I worked many shows for many years. Funny, I never worked a Metallica show. I have BEEN to several Metallica shows in the past though. In the 80’s and 90’s to be exact. That is correct, I saw the “Lightning” tour, the “Puppets” tour. I also saw the “Metalli-Cult” tour. The last tour I saw was the “Black” album tour. If you were around when “Kill’em All” came out, like I was, you know where I am going with this. First three albums; excellent. Then a slight detour with “Justice” with a right turn on the “Black” album. That last tour I saw soured me on the live shows. The last Tallica show I witnessed came off as if it were “phoned in”. I realize it is difficult perform as hard as you performed in 1982. I get it. But the show just didn’t come off as “real” to me (not when I saw the band perform at its hardest, back in the day). Funny, more than 10 years after the show I read over some reviews from that very same show that I didn’t enjoy and found that others felt the same as I did. Now, fast forward many years later. After a slew of records that I never bought, I get “Death Magnetic”. Ahhh… back to what I wanted to hear. The ship has turned round again. Great album.
Which brings us to “Through the Never”. Part concert, part small story, this is where “The Thrash Is Back”. Metallica doesn’t go for the soft show here. This show is hard. This show is fast. And this show is metal. Most of their contemporaries cannot bring the sound and the fury like Metallica can. (Well except for Megadeth, but we all know about that “history”.) Metallica has proven again that they are “The Machine” when it comes to the hard and heavy. This band has the muscle and back bone. They have one of the greatest rhythm players ’round. They have one of the greatest soloists to date. You couldn’t put together a more perfect beast. And these guys prove they can still shred on stage. Metallica crush.
On to the movie. I was surprised how much bass was in the mix. This movie is “heavy”. It does make me wonder how much of the sound is sweetened. “Kiss Alive” and “Frampton Comes Alive” were anything but “live”. I’ve read that nearly all “live” recordings are sweetened or redone mostly in the studio. It would be interesting to find out how much of this movie was actually “live”.
The four performers looked lean and ready to rock. James Hetfield must belong to the same gym as Rudolph Schenker. (I need to join the same gym.) The stage set looked great as well. The “blood” sweeping the stage was a terrific sight.
But let’s not forget, this is a movie. I have to admit there are some very good shots that look artistic through the never (I mean film). Oh yeah, the side story. Guy back stage has to find a truck in the city and retrieve a bag from said truck. During an apocalypse. Easy ‘nough. Well except a bad guy on a horse wants to string up young dude from a light pole and a mob of people are trying to kill the young dude all at the same time. (Don’t worry Metallica fans, the side story is a small portion of the film.) The side story is somewhat dreamlike. Is it real? Is it a dream? Is he on drugs? Really, the side portion doesn’t take away from the concert itself. I mean really, when the mob morphs into a “Metallica Concert”, well that seems about normal. The side story does complement the concert.
Oh yes, the “3” in the “D”. The “3D” does take you on stage with the band during the show. You are there. And yes, Lars contorts his face while playing drums 100 miles per hour, in wonderful 3D. You will never be this close to the band, real or otherwise.
One will not mistake “Through the Never” for “The Song Remains The Same.” The film isn’t that “far out”. Probably the only thing I have a problem with is the fact that the band is always “on” and never loosens up during the performance that is shown. Just give Lars a mic. That will loosen things up. We even stayed during the end credits for the song “Orion”. (Interestingly enough, the band performs the song to an empty arena.)
And the biggest question of all… What was in the bag?