Metallica treated more than 35,000 fans to a two-hour feast of their most popular songs on Sunday night in İstanbul as the four-piece legends of heavy metal proved to İstanbul audiences they are the “Lords of Summer” as far as stadium gigs in Turkey go.
Part of the 33-year-old band’s interactive tour “Metallica by Request,” in which the set list for every concert is handpicked by the very audience who buy tickets for that show, Sunday night’s concert at the İstanbul Technical University (İTÜ) Stadium in Maslak marked Metallica’s fifth stadium gig in Turkey since they first played here one summer night, on June 25, 1993.
Taking to the stage at 9:20 p.m., following a warm-up gig by the Turkish heavy metal band Pentagram, Metallica opened its 18-piece set list with its 1986 magnum opus “Master of Puppets” to a roaring and cheering audience, which included several generations of fans, including teenagers who came to watch the show with their parents, who presumably were (and still are) Metallica fans themselves.
Frontman James Hetfield acknowledged the crowd with the same level of enthusiasm, hailing the audience and calling out “İstanbul, you make us feel at home!” several times throughout the gig, which marked the last concert on the current leg of the “Metallica by Request” tour.
Sunday’s set list focused mostly on the band’s first decade, with hits such as “One,” “…And Justice for All,” “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” and “Fade to Black” receiving the loudest cheers from the thousands that filled the İTÜ Stadium.
“Enter Sandman,” “Sad But True,” “The Unforgiven,” “Wherever I May Roam” and “Nothing Else Matters” from 1991’s “The Black Album” were also on the bill, as well as their newest single from their upcoming studio album.
“Lords of Summer,” a fast-paced, uplifting ode to summer, fittingly released in June, was the sixth piece on the set list. Many of the band’s younger-generation fans remarkably were singing along as Hetfield and his band mates chanted “At last the thawing has begun / Come trade your darkness for the sun / Melting the chill of winter’s turn / Now that the lords of summer have returned.”
“Battery,” the fast-paced opening track of “Master of Puppets,” was chosen by the audience as the encore piece from among three “Vote of the Day” choices, which also included “Fuel” and “Whiskey in the Jar,” the latter receiving the least votes among the three.
As Metallica concluded the set around 11:30 p.m. with “Seek & Destroy,” Hetfield called out to the audience once more, this time pledging, “We’ll see each other pretty [expletive] soon!”