Lightning-fast guitar solos, a laser light show, a 75-member orchestra and a packed arena of 18,000 Metallica fans in black band T-shirts. That was the scene at Friday's inaugural concert at Chase Center, the state-of-the-art new Warriors stadium.
A meeting of the minds as powerful as Metallica and San Francisco Symphony was only right to christen such an impressive building, which felt epic simply by virtue of its enormous size and spotless, glass-paneled facade. With LED screens everywhere, Chase Center takes every opportunity to remind you it's of the 21st century. Unlike the comparatively dusty yet charming Oracle Arena, built in 1966, everything about it exudes wealth—a monument to new-money San Francisco complete with $11 pizza slices and $15 tall cans of Budweiser (which were peanuts for show-goers who paid up to $9,000 a ticket for Friday's concert).
"We have a new arena, a world-class f-cking arena in our own backyard," announced Metallica's Lars Ulrich. "F-ck yeah!"
Ulrich's drum kit was perched in the center of a circular, revolving stage, which made for a dynamic presentation. Singer-guitarist James Hetfield, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo orbited him, moving freely about. Surrounding them were the stationary orchestra musicians, with Edwin Outwater conducting the first half of the concert and San Francisco Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas (who is set to retire this year after 25 years) conducting the second half.
After opening with a cover of Spaghetti Western classic "Ecstasy of Gold," Metallica's players got to shredding, wasting no time before launching into solos on "The Call of Ktulu," another instrumental, and the sludgy "For Whom the Bell Tolls."