News

The Night Before "The Night Before"

Feb 6, 2016

Ross Halfin

It was quiet…very, very quiet…loud lights, really loud and pretty damn special too with a superb stage-length LED back screen going at angles to itself, but the house was quiet.

A soundcheck was about to happen, a couple hundred members of the Metallica Club had won special Fifth Member access to the soundcheck but they were still outside and the band hadn’t played a note.

It was due to start.

The night before The Night Before, too heavy for halftime, the band that most of the known-universe had elected to play Super Bowl 50’s halftime show given that it is in the Bay Area and Metallica, uh, is a Bay Area band…

But the NFL’s loss was everyone else's gain, The Night Before was born, AT&T Park (a home from home?) was chosen as Metallica’s cathedral for tomorrow night’s sold-out show and here we were…waiting…and maybe even wondering a tiny bit?

Ross Halfin

Look, it’s been a while since the guys played a stadium gig in the US (let alone the Bay Area), hell, it’s been a while since they’d played a gig together! Yeah, there’s been recording and what-not, they’ve been in and around each other, but there’s nothing quite like a big, huge, fat GIG to bring a band together. And of course the preparation was faultless on all sides of the live show coin, and of course the execution even more so…I’m just talking about that tiny little intangible entity called "humans" and how they/we connect with each other. Simply put, it had been a while since the beast had gotten revved up for such a mighty march, and throw the whole "Super Bowl" angle into the mix and you can see why I wondered just exactly how this was all going to go down. Because one thing you never ever do, is take "it" for granted…

So there we were…that quiet stage with its beautiful loud lights and vast openness, the very gentle hum of huge electronic soundbanks waiting to be employed…

Ross Halfin

The band saddled up.

A few clicks, whirrs, strums, y’know the old "testing, testing" thing…I could see the kids lined up outside just aching to get in. I wondered how this was actually all going to go down.

And then, suddenly, it sort of just "happened" in this fucking beautiful, organic, unplanned and unscheduled way…call it a "moment," call it a "vibe" but more than anything, call it a synergetic reminder of why Metallica is fucking Metallica.

The fans started filtering in from the right-hand side (McCovey Cove) and as the first 30 or so streamed in, James started the main riff for “…Bells…”…and then the song just started.

And the fans streamed in.

And it was like watching two beams of light hit a perfect cross-point of energy, a really great, electric, special, magical moment.

I didn’t see it coming.

It blindsided me.

This enormous metallic juggernaut filling the skies with literally a few flicks of the wrists, and the way the fans entrance timed perfectly with the commencement. It wasn’t planned quite like that, believe me, I mean, there was a time-slot and a schedule, but you couldn’t have planned that!

THIS WAS LIKE A PRIVATE CLUB GIG!

Yeah…with snatches of “Battery” and “Fight Fire…” and…well, I’m not giving any more stuff out because that might hint at the setlist, and there have to be some fucking surprises left in this goddamn world right?!

Ross Halfin

The production! Jesus, it is a motherlode of epic proportions, but more on that tomorrow…look…tonight was absolute re-establishment of the power that is Metallica live, but more than that, the "families" on and off-stage were together and roaring again. Even Halfin was up and all over the place, grabbing the photos he grabs and shooting a new group shot up there for the first time since what, China two years ago? With everyone smiling and everyone laughing…

And there it is.

I, and a few hundred others, enjoyed the motherlode of musical appetizers before tomorrow’s main course, with any of my lingering "how’s-this-one-gonna-be"s blown away like the flimsiest of cob-webs in a force 10 storm.

I gotta get back and rest up, because The Night Before will require every last ounce of energy I have to leave with it.

Ross Halfin

No bullshit, No hype. I’m beyond that and so are you.

This is the real thing…

– Steffan Chirazi
SW! Editor

For more of Ross' photos from the Sound Check Party, click here.
For MetOnTour coverage from the event, click here.