It was the night Metallica reclaimed their crown as the kings of metal. And for all the problems with Friday’s bill there could be no better band to bring the house down on day one of the Leeds Festival.
No Slipknot? Just about no Avenged Sevenfold. No problem. James, Lars and the boys had something very special up their jet black sleeves to reward a rock crowd beginning to believe their heroes had all gone soft.
From the opening chords of Creeping Death to the glorious encore closer Seek And Destroy this was post-St Anger Metallica in ear-bleeding form. Putting the troubles of their last – and possibly worst – album to bed it seems the glory days of fist-pumping thrash are back.
New tune Cyanide gave curious fans a taste of what’s to come when Death Magnetic hits stores on September 12 and if this bass-heavy belter is typical of the new record then die-hards are in for a treat.
Just as they were for two mesmerising hours under the cloudy skies of West Yorkshire. Sanitarium, Harvester Of Sorrow and the emotive One – replete with pyrotechnics – were all delivered with demonic verve and the rest of a Best Of set was equally flawless.
When Lars revealed the band would be back for a UK arena tour in February it was as if all our Christmases had come at once. With a big bang and with bells on.
So what about earlier? Very little rain but there was a Tide. Black Tide. And if you missed the old skool metallers who brought Leeds 08 alive then shame on you.
The Miami four-piece brought the house down on the Republic Stage on a day when the coolest kids were still mourning the non-appearance of Slipknot.
And when Avenged Sevenfold cut short their set by 25 minutes – due to flu affecting half the band – those of us who did witness Black Tide were truly thankful.
Because what had started out as a rock fan’s dream was rapidly turning into a nightmare as Avenged delivered a fraction of the hot cuts the band has become famed for.
And all of this on the back of Joey Jordison breaking his ankle and forcing the masked posse to pull out. Imagine the scenes of joy, therefore, when a plane trailing a banner promoting Slipknot’s arena tour circled Bramham at precisely the time the absent Des Moines gang were due to appear.
Talk about kicking your fans when they’re down.
Tenacious D was never going to make up for Avenged Twofold and Slip-not but Jack Black did a bloody good job trying. Keeping a straight face throughout a set rich in silliness the star of Rock School gave the Leeds crowd a lesson in wry humour.
And then there was Metallica. Saving the day in customary fashion they set the tone for the rest of the weekend and will surely have RATM and Killers quaking in their boots. Roll on Death Magnetic and the return of the real thrash gods.