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Could have been phenomenal... - 80%

music_shadowsfall, June 5th, 2004

Its hard to see how they could have made this album anything short of amazing. But its Metallica, and they manage. Now, Metallica does have an incredibly kick ass live sound. Even some of their more mediocre songs sound quite good live. As this was recorded after the Black Album, we luckily do not need to hear anything of Load, Reload, or St. Anger. There is also the abundance of this package: Three discs, and two live concerts on video. Pretty damn good. There are however, several problems with this album; namely, pretty bad song selection, annoying talking and fucking around seconds, and stupid tracks where we are subjected to Kirk Hammett and Jason Newstead noodling around on the guitar and bass for way too long.

Start with the first Disc. Immediately, we can see the mediocre song selection: Enter Sandman? Sad But True? Justice Medley? Why can't they just play full songs (Justice Medley) instead of subjecting us to a little teaser of a song? Enter Sandman doesn't sound that bad live, but Sad But True and still definitely sucks. We are then subjected to a shitload of crappy bass and guitar solos. No. However, there is also Creeping Death, which sounds amazing live, as well as Harvester of Sorrow, which would be very good if they didn't completely stop the song for thirty seconds in the middle of the song. Not a very good first CD.

The second CD is much better, with some of Metallica's best. Whiplash sounds phenomenal live, and will cause you to headbang like hell. Seek and Destroy, Through the Never, For Whom the Bell Tolls... and of course Fade to Black all sound betetr than their studio versions. Puppets could have been great too... but they take the second half out. Bad idea. But this is definitely the best of the CDs on this album. Very little screwing around.

The third disc is also quite good, with an amazing Diamond Head cover of Am I Evil that sounds better than the original and an excellent Queen cover of Stone Cold Crazy. We also get The Four Horsemen, Motorbreath, and Battery, which is kind of ruined by all the fucking around they do before getting into the song.

The Seattle 89' video kicks incredibly amounts of ass. Now that's a great setlist. Once again, there is lots of screwing around, but it really is a good concert. The San Diego video from 92 pretty much has the same strengths and weaknesses of the album.

If you are a die hard Metallica fanboy, or even just a regular fan, you will definitely want to pick this up. It is frustrating, though, that something that could have easily been one of the best live albums ever was just good.