METALLICA, DOWN, THE SWORD, EnergySolutions Arena, Monday

Utah headbangers got kicked in the teeth Monday night when Metallica returned to Salt Lake City.

The band, nearing its 30th anniversary, cranked out crowd-pleasing numbers that spanned its career. And while the upper portions of the EnergySolutions Arena's sound was muddy, the visually stunning stage show in the round kept the sold-out audience captivated.

Opening with the speed blast of "That Was Just Your Life," which was highlighted by laser lights, the band — guitarist/lead singer James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo — took the stage by force.

With microphones set up all over the stage, Hetfield roamed and strutted to other Metallica staples, "Creeping Death," "Wherever I May Roam" and "One."

Flashpots and shooting-flame pyrotechnics added to the drama as coffin-shaped stage light supports seesawed, dipped and rose throughout the night.

New face-melting compositions included the "The End of the Line," "Broken, Beat & "Scarred" and "Cyanide" from the band's platinum-selling CD "Death Magnetic."

Metallica is one of the few older bands whose fans thrive on new material. That was evident when the band cranked out another new song, "The Day That Never Comes."

Big cheers and sing-a-longs came when Metallica burst out tunes from the epic 1991 disc "Metallica," known to fans as the "Black Album." Those songs included the aforementioned "Wherever I May Roam," "Sad but True," "Enter Sandman" and the ballad "Nothing Else Matters."

Still reaching even further into the past, Metallica stomped through the anti-war anthem "Disposable Heroes," the speed-demon "Battery" and the title track from the CD "Master of Puppets."

During the encore, the Misfits' "Die Die My Darling," the Anti-Nowhere Leagues "So What" and a few riffs from Rainbow's "Man on the Silver Mountain."

"Seek and Destroy" from the first album "Kill 'Em All" brought the audience to its feet and the show to a close.

Opening bands the Sword and Down got the sold-out audience raring to go. While the Sword's sludge epics warmed the audience, it was Down — featuring Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown, former Pantera lead singer and bassist, respectively, that really got the adrenaline flowing in time for Metallica.


E-mail: scott@desnews.com