Metallica’s Orion Festival Sets AC on Fire

Metallica plays at Atlantic City’s Bader Field on June 24, 2012. (Photo by John Russo)

Back-to-back festivals in Atlantic City’s Bader Field has been all the buzz in South Jersey.

After Phish rocked the shore spot for a three-night weekend on June 15-17, Metallica brought their pyro and fireworks to the abandoned air field Saturday June 23 and 24.

The plan was to hold a festival, similar to the size that Dave Matthews Band brought in last summer, and feature 35 other acts that included the Arctic Monkeys, Modest Mouse and New Jersey’s own Gaslight Anthem. Metallica headlined both nights, featuring a whole album each night.

On Saturday, they played their 1984 album “Ride the Lightning” and on Sunday they played their 1993 self-titled album to celebrate it’s 20th anniversary. After opening each show with a few hits, they played their respective albums in full from finish to start, and then concluded the show with a few more hits and playing about two hours each night.

Both shows included hit songs “Hit the Lights,” “Master of Puppets,” and “One” as well as seeing “Battery” and “Four Horseman” played on Saturday and “Blackened,” “Fuel” and “Shortest Straw” on Sunday.

It wouldn’t have been a Metallica show if there weren’t fireworks, simulated bombs and giant balls of fire shooting all over the place. And the fact it was out doors, Metallica had all the room in the world to work with in order to play with their toys for the 25,000 people there each night.

Metallica plays during their song “The Unforgiven” on June 24, 2012 in Atlantic City. (Photo by John Russo)

“Enter Sandman” featured some fireworks during high points in the song, “Battery” and “Blackened” featured giants balls of fire throughout the song and “One” had a simulated land mines and bombs going off through the intro that featured the iconic war sound effects.

Personal Note

I got off of work at 10 on Saturday, drove my car down to the bay and listened to the second half of the show. I could hear the show perfectly clear. Luckily I had tickets for Sunday that were given to me at work by a beer distributor so I went.

Sunday was the second time I’ve ever seen Metallica (Nov. 15, 2009 at MSG). The setlist at the Garden was a little better because it was a regular show but this concert was so much better because it was outdoors.

The stage is engulfed in flames during a Metallica concert on June 24, 2012 at Atlantic City’s Bader Field. (Photo by John Russo)

Their pyrotechnics made the show. You can do so much more outdoors because there isn’t a ceiling to make fireworks a bad idea.

The fireworks, fire and other effects including lasers were really cool. Metallica knows how to play to their fans as well as loves and appreciates the following they’ve had for the last 30 years.

They are a very respectable group of musicians and a fun show to go to. It has all the makings for a good time: good crowd, mature atmosphere and the ability to melt your face off.

Towards the end, Jame Hetfield commented that he didn’t expect this “little backyard show” to be as big as it was and hinted at wanting to come back to Atlantic City in the future.

Come back, Metallica. AC would love to feel your wrath for many years to come.


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