What a great concert for my first arena show! I arrived very early, About an hour and 15 minutes before doors at 6:00 PM but there was already a large line and lots of people going in. I got to my second-level seat around. 6:15. One thing about the Sprint Center that took me by surprise: It's a lot smaller than I thought it would be! It only holds around 15,000 people, but my second-level seat was absolutely perfect. I had a clear view of the stage and it was great! Another great thing about this show: The bands started right on time.
The Sword came on right at 7:00 PM. Some of the people commented on how quiet it was. They were definitely loud enough, but a lot quieter than I expected. A good show overall, though. Took around the middle of the first song with vocals to get the lead guitarists voice to be heard. At several points during their set, I thought to myself "It sounds like High On Fire playing Black Sabbath with Karl Sanders writing the music". Not sure if it accurately represents the band, but they were pretty good. The crowd got into them during "Freya", apparently from its appearance on Guitar Hero 2. They'd be way more awesome at a smaller venue, however. Pretty heavy.
Down came on at about 7:40 and lots of people around me really wanted to see them. I wasn't looking forward to them: Never liked Pantera and I thought they'd be really slow. They were heavy, but never slow! Phil Anselmo really worked the crowd during the songs, including actually throwing the mic into the crowd while he fooled around with something else! All the band worked all sides of the stage, and people went crazy whenever Mr. Anselmo came over to them. My favorite song of them would've had to be "N.O.D.". Very awesome, but once again, I think they'd be better in a smaller environment. Perhaps Ozzfest 2009?
Right at 9:00, the lights went down and The Ecstasy Of Gold came over the PA. People went insane, and the entire Sprint Center lit up with lighters and cell phone lights. After Ecstasy, a recorded version of the intro to "That Was Just Your Life" started to play and the band took the stage in darkness, kicking in along with the song at the right time. Metallica also worked the stage very well, moving back and forth across the stage, playing to everyone. During several songs, the four giant casket-shaped lighting fixtures hanging above the stage would slowly lower themselves closer to the stage and twist and contort themselves before retreating back to the ceiling again. The show also made use of laser light shows (That Was Just Your Life, Enter Sandman) and Pyro (One, Fight Fire With Fire). There wasn't a whole lot of banter to the crowd, but that's fine. Made room for more songs. The band played 18 songs within two hours, and threw in some surprises and treats, such as Ride The Lightning and Fight Fire With Fire. By the end of the night, they brought up the house lights and unleashed tons of inflatable "Metallica" balls on the crowd for "Seek And Destroy". Afterwards, they spent a long time throwing things to the crowd and thanking them. One can only hope they come back soon with something even better.
07/22 - Melt-Banana
07/26 - Forever Came Calling & Primitive Man
07/30 - Warped (?)
08/05 - Knockout Kid
08/07 - Fireworks (?)