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A smoking live offering - 96%

Thorngren, December 19th, 2004

I’m reviewing the 3 CDs that come with this set, nothing else (seeing how when I bought it, it was just the CDs by themselves without all the extras)

What can I say about this album? Well, it’s everything that’s great about live albums, from one of the greats of metal, while still in their prime. This is the live album that everyone should have, not that S&M crap. Sure, the box set is expensive as hell, but if you find the CDs by themselves, you can get it for a very reasonable 25 bucks and I’d highly recommend grabbing it up.

Recorded in Mexico City during Metallica’s peak, this album has everything that a live album should. The audience is loud, there’s some good fun banter between the band and the audience between songs, a little bit of doodling around and some fun crowd participation and a shitload of classic cuts that make this album flow. Sure there’s a bit of an abundance of Black Album material, but considering this was recorded during the tour in support of that album it can be overlooked.

Disc 1 starts things off with the overplayed Enter Sandman, but it’s played with a lot of energy and sounds pretty good. After that they blast out the classic Creeping Death and Harvester of Sorrow, both shredding it up. Then they pull out Sanitarium which sounds decent, but just loses something when put in a live atmosphere. Then we get a few more black album tunes… they give a good shot at Sad But True, Of Wolf and Man sounds a bit better live and then they slow things down with The Unforgiven (which I believe translates much better live than I would have thought). To finish the disc off we get The Justice Medley… a medley of just about every song on And Justice that they didn’t already play (besides One which is on the next disc). After that they do a 20 minute bass/guitar solo with a lot of fucking around. The Justice Medley is my favorite on the disc, but I wish they’d cut the solos into like 10 minutes and just played 2 or 3 Justice songs all the way through.

Disc 2 starts off with Through the Never which dose a bang up job of sounding better than the studio cut, partly due to being sped the fuck up and having the guitar solo beefed up. Next they pull out For Whom the Bell Tolls which dose a good job at sounding like the studio version. After that they start playing Fade To Black which sounds excellent, you can feel the energy while listening to it. Next is the God like tune of Master of Puppets, and how could you go wrong with it… well Metallica will show you how; but cutting the song short and stopping right before the badass solo. However, the first half of the song that they do play dose kick ass… not to mention the next song gets the royal treatment it deserves. Metallica rips out the oldie Seek and Destroy and do is a helluva lot of justice. And what more could you want after that? Well Whiplash will sure do… and it fuckin’ shreds hard.

Disc 3 starts off on the low note of Nothing Else Matters, but gets kicked up a bit by Wherever I May Roam. Next up is Am I Evil? which has a shit load of goofing around on it before they bust the actual song out. Of coarse that’s a cover of Diamond Head, but Metallica do a helluva job on it. This disc has a few covers on it, including the next track Last Caress that was originally done by the Misfits. After that Metallica gives us One, which is good… but I always founded it overrated. I’d much rather heard Blackened off And Justice. After that we get a cover of So What? (originally done by Anti Nowhere League) and Battery both stuck on the same track together, with So What replacing Battery‘s mellow intro. Then they do a commendable job of pulling out some old shit n play The Four Horsemen and Motorbreath in excellent form and close the disc off with a cover of Queen’s Stone Cold Crazy.

Overall this 3 Disc set has all the great hits from Metallica before they had a chance to play anything that wasn’t good on a live record. I guess the only real complaint is that there were a few too many Black Album songs and the overlong guitar/bass solo. But if you can get around these small bits, you’ll see Metallica playing classic material in a very energetic fashion. And with the length of this 3 disc set you can easily get around to the shit you wanna hear. Overall, this album has everything you could really want in a live album.