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One word describes this release — HUGE! It comes in a huge box, shaped like a band's footlocker. There's a huge nine hours of music inside the box, including a huge triple CD live album and three video tapes of live footage, along with an old back stage pass, a book full of hundreds of pictures and Metallica related documents, and a scary guy stencil. Forget the videos and the packaging, let's concentrate on the live album.
Anyone who has ever seen Metallica can attest to how tight the band are as a live unit, and it shows. There's hardly a slip to be detected anywhere in the entire album. It's not a one shot demonstration of the band however, as it was gathered from five nights in Mexico in 1993. The breaks are hard to find though.
And how does Metallica rate live? A fan really could not ask for much more in a live album. A faithful journey through Metallica's first five albums, a few covers, reinterpretations of some older songs, an excellent showcase of the talents of the band members, James Hetfield's corny but friendly stage banter, and a big dose of plain old heavy fucking metal.
Highlights: the insane reaction of audience members Hetfield grabs to help with singing Seek And Destroy; the addition of the unlisted So What?; Jason Newsted's vocals and the extra gear of Whiplash; Kirk Hammett hitting the solo to One almost note perfect; the near on religious rapture of the entire audience at hearing Metallica live.
One small criticism: the bass and guitar solos by Jason and Kirk both show their utter mastery of their respective instruments, and hold your attention throughout the almost 19 minute break, but why so long? Perhaps cut it back to 10 minutes and throw in another song, like "Fight Fire With Fire" or "Disposable Heroes" or "Leper Messiah".
Every fan of Metallica needs to hear this. It puts the stodgy, overblown orchestral theatrics of S&M firmly in its place. This is THE definitive Metallica live album.