Hear some great new songs. Metallica’s 2016 album Hardwired… to Self-Destruct is the band’s best in many years, and the setlists on the current WorldWired tour have not skimped on its songs. There are five or six Hardwired songs in the show every night, including the fast and heavy title track, the catchy and sardonic “Now That We’re Dead,” the epic “Halo on Fire” and the anthemic “Atlas, Rise!” Metallica has never been a band to sit back and coast on past glories, and its members put as much energy into the new songs as they do into the crowd-pleasers.
The classics Remain classic. No matter how many hundreds of times the band has played them, songs like “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Sad But True,” “One,” “Master of Puppets,” “Nothing Else Matters” and “Enter Sandman” still sound great. When the war sound effects at the beginning of “One” start up, or the bell rings to signal “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” or singer-guitarist James Hetfield plays the first notes of that indelible riff that opens “Enter Sandman,” the crowd goes crazy, and that feeling is infectious, even if you’ve heard these songs more times than you can count.
It’s a full-on rock spectacle. You can expect plenty of fireworks and flame bursts, especially during moments when songs explode into their heaviest riffs. As they’ve done on many recent tours, the members of Metallica are playing in the round on WorldWired, which means that wherever you are in the arena, you’ll get some face time. And the video screens and light show on this tour are new innovations, with a lighting setup a Charlotte Observer reviewer called “perhaps the single most mesmerizing bit of concert choreography I’ve seen in quite a while.”
There’s room for surprises. At a recent acoustic benefit show, Metallica broke out rarely played album tracks “Bleeding Me” and “All Within My Hands,” along with covers of songs by Blue Oyster Cult, Deep Purple and Nazareth. Fan favorites like “Phantom Lord,” “Through the Never” and “Leper Messiah” have been rotating through the WorldWired setlists, and the band is always working up new covers. You never know when it’ll throw in some unexpected gem it hasn’t performed in years.
These guys work hard. At an age when other musicians might settle down into, say, a Las Vegas residency, the members of Metallica continue to mount massive world tours and play for more than two hours every night, with the same kind of heavy metal intensity they delivered decades ago. “A lot of people are retiring, and we feel very energized and rejuvenated,” drummer Lars Ulrich recently told Philadelphia radio station WMMR. “I mean, we want to go long. We hope we can get another 20, 25 years out of Metallica.” Seeing them live, it’s easy to believe they can.
Metallica with Jim Breuer. November 26, 7:30 p.m., $75-$145. T-Mobile Arena, 702-692-1600.