Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a performance by Metallica, Greta Van Fleet, and Ice Nine Kills at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The show, which was my first concert experience since well before the start of the pandemic, took place on Friday, February 25, 2022. Metallica is one of my all-time favorite bands and I’ve had the opportunity to see them live more than any other band or artist. This was my sixth time seeing them in concert, but the first time in about 13 years. My wife and several friends were all seeing Metallica for the first time, plus this was our first time seeing Greta Van Fleet and our first time visiting Allegiant Stadium.
I made a video with my footage from that night, then spent about 15 minutes doing my own review of the show. I was careful not to use Metallica’s music in the video because I was worried about copyright infringement, so instead, I used my own music and showed a few silent clips of the performance. You can check out that video here, and please be sure to subscribe to the Vegas Showbiz YouTube channel while you’re at it!
If you’d like to see more raw clips from the show, head on down to the bottom of this article. I posted several other videos from the show to my personal YouTube channel. As for the show review, let’s get started by going chronologically through the performances.
Ice Nine Kills
I have to start here with an admission. I didn’t even know Ice Nine Kills was performing until the day before the show. I think I’d heard the name before but definitely was not familiar with their music. While I do consider myself a fan of various metal subgenres, I’ll be honest in saying this wasn’t my cup of tea. I say this mostly because I’m not into horror movies and don’t really get the stories they’re referring to in their music and stage performances. I certainly have nothing against it, and more power to those guys for the performance they were putting on, but I was more interested in exploring Allegiant Stadium with my wife at that time than paying attention to the storylines being acted out on stage.
Musically I think my friend Tiko put it best when he called Ice Nine Kills a combination of Slipknot and AFI. I thought that was perfect and had to include it. He actually enjoyed their performance more than anyone else in our group, but not coincidentally he also knows the storylines of all the different horror movies they were referencing. He was excited to check out more I9K stuff after seeing them, and clearly, that’s their goal with performing at a big show like this.
Greta Van Fleet
Impressions before seeing them live
I was really excited to see Greta Van Fleet perform live, mostly because I think of them as part of the new young Turks of rock ‘n roll. I hate to say it, but rock music isn’t really dominating the charts these days. Bands like Greta Van Fleet and Rival Sons are helping carry the flag for the younger audiences, and they have my support.
Like many people, my reaction to hearing Greta Van Fleet’s first album was basically “Wow, that sounds a lot like Led Zeppelin.” In some cases they had their own thing going on, while in others it had me wondering if I had already heard that exact melody/groove done by Zeppelin 40 years prior. I didn’t hate it, and there were a couple of songs that stood out to me, but it wasn’t until I heard their 2021 offering, “The Battle at Garden’s Gate,” that I was convinced of their greatness.
Impressions after seeing Greta Van Fleet live
Seeing them live, my first impression was how good they sounded. Whereas Ice Nine Kills was hard to decipher, Greta sounded crystal clear, with singer Josh Kiszka’s voice tearing through like a banshee with its hair on fire. I remember thinking to myself, it’s one thing to sound like Zeppelin in the studio, which is obviously no easy task, to begin with, but it’s a whole other thing to pull it off live. Those undeniable riffs, grooves, and piercing vocals are a recipe for success, and I’ve always subscribed to the theory that great artists steal, so I say more power to them. They back it up with their live performances and the rock community needs bands like this.
The Zeppelin comparisons didn’t end with their sound either. Guitarist Jake Kiszka had an undeniable Jimmy Page thing going on. Between his outfit, which was a Zoso embroidery away from being a Page knock-off, his vintage cherry red Gibson SG, and his backward swaying motion while rocking out on stage, the whole thing was so reminiscent of Jimmy Page that I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Areas for improvement
Looking at their entire performance, which was about an hour, I felt like they were stronger during the first half. The band had a solid stage presence during the songs, and at least a couple of them were barefoot, which is one of their signatures when performing, but I felt they lacked presence between songs. There was practically no crowd interaction, and you really had no idea when they were done. Normally you’re able to tell when a band is wrapping up their performance, but that wasn’t the case here. It was a good song that they finished with, but a fairly quiet “thank you” is all that was said, and that was it.
It was moments like these that reminded me of how young they are as a band. A more seasoned band would have taken much more advantage of the crowd via interaction and showmanship, but they will grow into that type of thing. Certainly, the fact that they were opening for Metallica was a factor, but they better get used to it because more stadium shows with this exact lineup have been announced for later this year.
Overall I’m glad to have seen Greta Van Fleet live and would be happy to see them again. Ideally, if that happened it would be in a smaller venue, but I’m curious to see how their career progresses as the new guardians of rock.
Long time Metallica fan
As mentioned in the intro, this was my sixth time seeing Metallica live. I remember seeing them live for the first time on my 16th birthday, which was July 30, 1996. Metallica was headlining Lollapalooza that summer, so my mom took me to the DMV that morning and I got my driver’s license. Then immediately afterward I drove us to The Gorge in George, Washington, which was about 3 hours from our house, to see the show. I’m also a big Soundgarden fan and that day was my first time seeing them live as well.
I remember seeing Metallica again at the Gorge a year or two later, plus at the Key Arena in Seattle. I remember their performance at the grand opening of the Experience Music Project in Seattle, which was back in 1999. I also have fond memories of taking my nephew Kallan, who was only about 13 at the time, to see Metallica at the Key Arena in December 2009.
Taking my wife to her first Metallica show
Only a couple of months before this latest Las Vegas show was announced, I randomly asked my wife Jessica to go with me if Metallica ever played in Las Vegas. When they announced the show I couldn’t believe it, so obviously we had to go. Several friends were also interested in going so we got tickets for a group of 6.
My main impression of the show was that it had the characteristic energy and crowd enthusiasm that you expect from a Metallica concert. They’re known for being the heavy metal live band and they seem to take that very seriously when it comes to their performances. One thing that made this show interesting was that it wasn’t part of a tour, but a one-off performance. Consequently, this wasn’t the tightest I’ve ever heard them sound, but as James said at one point, “It’s good to be playing again.” I can certainly relate because it’s good to be attending shows again too.
Since this wasn’t part of a tour, and it’s been several years since Metallica released their last album, the setlist wasn’t really what I was expecting. I figured they’d come out to “Hardwired” because that’s what they did on the whole tour in support of that album, but instead, they kept it old school by coming out to “Whiplash”.
Metallica’s Las Vegas setlist
- Ride the Lightning
- The Memory Remains
- Seek and Destroy
- Sad But True
- Moth Into Flame
- Wherever I May Roam
- For Whom the Bell Tolls
- Creeping Death
- Fade To Black
- Master Of Puppets
- Nothing Else Matters
- Enter Sandman
It was a good setlist that covered a lot of ground throughout their career. I would have loved to see Sanitarium and Harvestor of Sorrow in there as well, but can’t complain.
Here are a couple of other notable things about the show that comes to mind. The crowd interaction and sing-along during “The Memory Remains” were really cool. The part sung by Marianne Faithfull on the record was done by the crowd for quite a while. The band stopped playing and let the crowd sing together for a minute, which was really cool.
Use of fire during the show
There was a lot of fire in this show. Never before have I seen 4th of July-style fireworks being set off indoors, but that gives you an idea of how high up you are in the 300 level of Allegiant Stadium. In addition to the fireworks, Metallica incorporated more fire into their set than I ever remember seeing before. Huge flames were regularly being set off in the unoccupied seats on both sides of the stage. Then on stage, you had a moving torch that went back and forth behind the band members.
Due to James Hetfield’s unfortunate history with being burned on stage, Metallica doesn’t normally do a ton of fire in their shows, so this caught me off guard. One song that really stood out in this manner was “One”. Normally they do an introduction for that song that includes some sounds of gunfire, but the production at this particular show was way bigger. They were using the gunfire sounds in combination with fire and visuals to recreate a war scene. It was way more intense than anything I’ve seen them do before.
James Hetfield’s inspirational speech
I also enjoyed James Hetfield’s inspirational speech to the crowd. I think this has become a consistent thing for him and I’m all for it. He makes it clear that even though he’s this big successful rock star, he has plenty of struggles and issues to deal with, just like everyone else. Fame and fortune don’t excuse you from such realities, and his public struggles with addiction have turned into a source of inspiration for many Metallica fans.
In closing, you can’t go wrong with a Metallica concert. They’re always going to bring it, and they bring such a passionate fanbase that it’s easy to get caught up in energy. The past couple of years have shown us how easy it is to have stuff like this taken away, so getting out with my friends on a Friday night in Las Vegas, and getting to see Metallica, is nothing to take for granted. I will always recommend people to see them live when given the opportunity, whether you’re a fan or not.
Parking at Allegiant Stadium
This was my first time visiting the stadium and overall I thought it was nice, but we had a really difficult time getting to our assigned parking lot. Our friends had purchased parking online ahead of time so we decided to do the same. This turned into a headache because we didn’t know which side of the stadium our lot was located on, and so many streets around the stadium were blocked off, so it took several tries to finally get to our lot. During that process, we passed by several other parking lots that I would have gladly parked in, many of which were cheaper than the lot we had already paid for.
I will say that my car was very safe and secure in the Allegiant lot, getting into the venue from the parking lot was easy, and getting out of the lot after the show was also quite easy. Just give yourself extra time when driving there for the first time.
Inside Allegiant Stadium
Inside I thought it was nice, but not extravagant. You never know with Las Vegas but it had more of an understated feel to me. It was clean, modern, and nicely laid out, so everything you would expect from a modern stadium. Sitting up in the 300 level I couldn’t help but notice just how far we were from the stage. It was further than I was expecting, and the audio suffered accordingly. I’m not saying it was terrible or anything like that, but I would probably consider forking out the extra cash next time in order to either get floor tickets or to sit closer.
I’m very much hoping to see a Raiders game there next season, but I probably wouldn’t drive to the stadium. There are too many other options to park further away and ride or walk into the stadium.
It’s great to be able to go to concerts again. It’s one thing to get out to a little club show, but a whole other thing to see a show of this caliber, in a new stadium. It was an awesome experience that we won’t forget. Please let me know in the comments what you thought and enjoy some of my live raw footage from the show! To read more Vegas Showbiz concert reviews, check out our concerts page.