On I Run, Still My Shadows Follow

Do you ever think about what it takes to maintain a level of creative excellence for four decades? Do you take for granted that your favorite musical artists can just crank out new albums that easily engage their fan base on a whim? Evidence indicates that it is not as easy as it seems.

Billy Joel’s last rock album was released in 1993. These days he is content to play the same set of songs that are between 30 and 50 years old at every performance. It is a business model that works well for him, he is currently amid a residence at Madison Square Garden with no end in sight. I went to go see him last November, I enjoyed the show.

Twisted Sister was not as fortunate. They found mainstream success with their third album “Stay Hungry” in 1984 and that pushed them to the top of the rock and roll mountain for a fleeting moment. They did not take their own advice to stay hungry. Dee Snyder admitted that once he was rich and famous, he got writers block and couldn’t write good songs anymore. The band went on to only release two unremarkable albums and became an on again-off again nostalgia touring act until their split in 2016.

I found a playlist on Amazon Music titled “90’s Alternative Alternatives”. It is about seven hours long and I recognize three out of every four of the songs from the radio in the 1990’s. I could not tell you if any of those bands are recording new songs or touring today. Most of the acts barely had one album or even more than one song in them before they ran out of ideas.

Some rock and roll acts are best suited to remain relevant by repeating their strong back catalog to live audiences. Others simply did not have the ability to keep a stream of hits coming and faded away. This perspective makes it remarkable that Metallica is still writing and recording new music at the highest level of their career.

Metallica does not just release a new album. They have a public relations machine that turns their album releases into highly anticipated global events. They drip singles with accompanying videos one at a time up to the album release date. The day before the album release, they preview the album in movie theaters across the world. Following the release date, they continue to release videos for the remainder of the songs on the album. It is pretty much enough to whip their diehard fans into an extended frenzy.

All the attention they brought to the latest album also attracted plenty of reviews and commentary. In the four weeks since “72 Seasons” was released, you can sort through plenty of them online, and you’ll find that the album has been mainly positively received.

I refrained from making an instant judgement on the album when I first heard it, I wanted to spend some time with it to really listen and let it sink in. After listening to it constantly since it was released, I am comfortable saying that Metallica is still absolutely at the top of their game, and they have never sounded better.

“72 Seasons” proves that Metallica still has a hard creative edge. Despite all his fame and success, James Hetfield is still processing childhood trauma through the lyrics of his songs. Most of the themes of the songs are identical those of their earlier works: misery, darkness, suicide, and their own concerts.

Some of the songs are mature versions of songs they wrote when they were younger. “Screaming Suicide” is a new “Fade To Black”. “Lux Æterna” is a grown-up “Hit the Lights”. “Inamorata” is an extension of “My Friend of Misery”.

Time will tell if “72 Seasons” will be considered a classic Metallica album. Chances are that it will not be regarded in the same light as one of their first five albums. But the new music is moving Metallica forward and it demonstrates that they are not content to stand pat on their back catalog for their live act.

All of this has me extra excited for the M72 World tour which just started last week in Amsterdam. I’m glad that there will be new songs mixed in with the classics and that the set lists will differ from what I’ve seen at their concerts these past two years.

I am equally excited to visit Paris for the first time. My travel companion Susan is fluent in French and is an accomplished world traveler. But she’s never been to a Metallica concert! She oversees the itinerary for much of the trip, and I trust her plans are going to work out great. My job is to get the Metallica tickets (done!) and to operate the rented Harley Davidson Road King if the weather cooperates.

Next week, the M72 World Tour adventure begins for me. A year and a half with 12 Metallica concerts in six cities and four countries. I am grateful for this opportunity, and I plan to make the most of it. On I run!

My M72 World Tour itinerary

Show #DateVenueCity
Upcoming15/17/2023Stade de FranceParis, France
25/19/2023Stade de FranceParis, France
38/4/2023MetLife StadiumEast Rutherford, NJ
48/6/2023MetLife StadiumEast Rutherford, NJ
58/11/2023Stade OlympiqueMontreal, Quebec, Canada
68/13/2023Stade OlympiqueMontreal, Quebec, Canada
79/1/2023State Farm StadiumGlendale, AZ
89/3/2023State Farm StadiumGlendale, AZ
97/12/2024Estadio Cívitas MetropolitanoMadrid, Spain
107/14/2024Estadio Cívitas MetropolitanoMadrid, Spain
118/2/2024Gilette StadiumFoxborough, MA
128/4/2024Gilette StadiumFoxborough, MA

My lifetime Metallica concert history

Show #DateVenueCity
14/8/1992Brendan Byrne ArenaEast Rutherford, NJ
27/17/1998Giants StadiumEast Rutherford, NJ
311/24/1998Roseland BallroomNew York, NY
411/23/1999Madison Square GardenNew York, NY
57/20/2000Giants StadiumEast Rutherford, NJ
67/8/2003Giants StadiumEast Rutherford, NJ
74/20/2004Nassau ColiseumUniondale, NY
810/22/2004Continental Airlines ArenaEast Rutherford, NJ
91/17/2009Wachovia CenterPhiladelphia, PA
101/31/2009Prudential CenterNewark, NJ
112/1/2009Prudential CenterNewark, NJ
1211/14/2009Madison Square GardenNew York, NY
1311/15/2009Madison Square GardenNew York, NY
149/14/2011Yankee StadiumNew York, NY
156/23/2012Bader FieldAtlantic City, NJ
166/24/2012Bader FieldAtlantic City, NJ
175/12/2017Lincoln Financial FieldPhiladelphia, PA
185/14/2017MetLife StadiumEast Rutherford, NJ
195/17/2017The New Coliseum Presented by NYCVUniondale, NY
207/19/2017Parc Jean-DrapeauMontreal, QC
2110/20/2018Bryce Jordan CenterState College, PA
2210/25/2018Wells Fargo CenterPhiladelphia, PA
239/6/2019Chase CenterSan Francisco, CA
249/24/2021Highland Festival Grounds at KY Expo CenterLouisville, KY
259/26/2021Highland Festival Grounds at KY Expo CenterLouisville, KY
265/29/2022Harvard Athletic ComplexBoston, MA
278/11/2022Highmark StadiumBuffalo, NY

Link to YouTube playlist of all official Metallica concert videos I have been present for.

Metallica songs I have seen performed on the M72 World Tour


All Metallica songs I have seen performed live

SongTimes Seen
Enter Sandman25
Nothing Else Matters25
Master of Puppets24
Sad But True24
Seek and Destroy21
For Whom the Bell Tolls19
Creeping Death16
Fade to Black15
Wherever I May Roam11
Moth Into Flame9
The Unforgiven9
Ride The Lightning8
The Memory Remains8
Now That We’re Dead7
The Day That Never Comes7
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)7
Atlas, Rise!6
Fight Fire With Fire6
Harvester of Sorrow6
Holier Than Thou6
The Four Horsemen6
All Nightmare Long5
Broken, Beat And Scarred5
Halo On Fire5
No Leaf Clover5
Of Wolf and Man5
That Was Just Your Life5
The End Of The Line5
Hit The Lights4
Last Caress4
Whiskey In The Jar4
King Nothing3
St. Anger3
The Call of Ktulu3
The God That Failed3
Through the Never3
Turn The Page3
Am I Evil?2
Bleeding Me2
Die, Die My Darling2
Don’t Tread On Me2
I Disappear2
Last Caress/Green Hell2
My Friend Of Misery2
The Outlaw Torn2
The Shortest Straw2
The Struggle Within2
The Thing That Should Not Be2
Trapped Under Ice2
Until It Sleeps2
– Human1
(Anesthesia) – Pulling Teeth1
…And Justice For All1
All Within My Hands1
Damage Inc.1
Devil’s Dance1
Dirty Window1
Disposable Heroes1
Dyers Eve1
Hell And Back1
Hero of the Day1
Iron Foundry1
Jump In The Fire1
Justice Medley1
Killing Time1
Last Caress/So What/Die, Die My Darling1
Low Man’s Lyric1
Mercyful Fate1
Metal Militia1
My Apocalypse1
No Remorse1
Phantom Lord1
Sabbra Cadabra1
Small Hours1
So What1
Spit Out The Bone1
Stone Cold Crazy1
The Ecstasy of Gold1
The Judas Kiss1
The Prince1
The Unforgiven III1
The Wait1