After Billie Joe Armstrong announced he was headed to rehab just a few short weeks ago, the 2012 Voodoo Music Experience needed the right band to fill in last minute for Green Day, who was set to headline the Le Ritual stage Saturday night. Enter Metallica, who not only completely killed their two-hour set full of new and old classics, but also payed a thoughtful homage to their missing Bay Area friends with a cover and a dedication to Armstrong.
After raging their way through opening songs "Hit the Lights" and "Master of Puppets," lead singer James Hetfield addressed the giant elephant in the room (park?) with a joke: "We! Are! Green Day! ...except a little taller." Metallica poured some out again for their friend in need toward the end of the show, when they dedicated Master of Puppets track "Battery" to Armstrong: "This one's for Billie."
But it was during Metallica's encore when their dedication to Green Day made the entire crowd collectively lose their s--t: The band began jamming the first few chords of Green Day's "American Idiot," and every person watching immediately turned to the person next to them like they just realized they were part of an "Oprah's Favorite Things" episode. But alas, it was the cover that never was: After about 30 seconds of the tune, Hetfield took to the mic explaining, "We can't play that song." Then they got back to thrashing.
As for the rest of the show, fans and non-fans alike had something to be excited about. After rumors swirled around City Park that Metallica was scheduled to play their entire Ride the Lightning album during their set, no one seemed to mind when that didn't happen. That's probably for two reasons: 1.) It's Metallica, and they've been putting on shows for over 30 years; 2.) There was pyro! And if you don't love a good pyro intermission, well, that's just not right.
Our complete "By the Numbers" report will hook you up with the full scoop on Metallica's night at Voodoo below, and don't miss photos from the band's set.
Number of skulls on James Hetfield's vest: I counted 6
Number of crutches someone in the audience pumped in the air as a means of singing along: 1
According to a Fuse employee, the number of Josh Brolins in VIP: 1
Number of times James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich rocked out together: 7
Number of times Kirk Hammett switched guitars: 8
Number of festivalgoer boobs accidentally flashed on the big screen: 2
Percentage of energy the crowd lost by the end of the band's 120-minute set: 0
Male/Female ratio of the crowd: 60/40 (Nice showing, ladies.)
Number of bass solos from Robert Trujillo: 1
Number of mid-set pyro shows: 1
Number of people devil-horning during "For Whom the Bell Tolls": Everyone
Number of fireworks detonated during "Enter Sandman": Approximately 60
Number of mass clap-alongs: 2 ("Hit the Lights," "Enter Sandman")
Number of Green Day songs they almost covered: 1 ("American Idiot")
Number of Metallica beach balls the band launched into the audience during their last song, "Seek and Destroy": Probably 100
Number of Metallica beach balls Lars Ulrich head-butted into the audience from his kit: 1
Number of other Metallica show reviews that also worked Oprah into the body of the copy: Probably 0