Napa, California’s BottleRock Festival finally returned after a two-year absence this weekend, and with Metallica headlining day one on Friday (May 27th), it got off to head-banging start. As they usually do, the legendary metal band made the show an event for their fans, making sure that they would have maximum Metallica intake.
One of the bands that performed prior to Metallica’s headlining set was Bastardane, a hard-rock trio that includes James Hefield’s son Castor on drums. Although the band has a thrash metal influence, they have their own unique sound that seemed to get a seal of approval from the Metallica fans watching the show. Also approving was James himself, who could be seen behind the wings of the stage watching and nodding along, but soon he would be on a much bigger stage.
Although there were many fans casually drinking wine and eating their gourmet food on blankets over at the main stage, when AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top,” started to blare over the PA at 7:45 p.m., there were plenty of fans who knew exactly what the song signaled, and many soon packed into the area, leaving the wine drinkers with no other options than to get off their feet. After the traditional “The Ecstacy of Gold” intro, the band hit the stage with “Hardwired,” looking and sounding renewed after their recent South American shows.
Highlights of the band’s two-hour, 16-song setlist included “Wherever I May Roam,” “Fuel,” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” during which James, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo constantly traded places across their massive stage.
James also took a few opportunities to address the crowd and their longtime fans, reiterating comments he recently made in Brazil about mental health: “Metallica are extremely grateful to be here after 41 years” and “I know what it’s like to struggle, and if you are struggling, know that you are never alone.”
Metallica closed their set (and Night One of the festival) with “Battery,” “Nothing Else Matters,” and “Enter Sandman,” but two members were not quite done yet.
After the BottleRock gig, fans who were lucky enough to score tickets made their way from the festival site to the JaM Cellars Ballroom, where Hammett and Trujillo’s side project, known as The Wedding Band, would hit the stage around 11:15 p.m.
Comprised of Death Angel frontman Mark Osegueda, Bad Wolves guitarist Doc Coyle, Mondo Generator drummer Mike Amster, and the aforementioned Metallica members, The Wedding Band played a two-hour-plus set of covers that included everything from Black Flag’s “Black Coffee” to Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” to Motörhead’s “Love Me Like a Reptile.”
Hammett, who spent most of the evening playing his famous “Greenie” guitar while wearing a green tracksuit, seemed to be having a ball up there, but so did everyone, including the audience. It was the perfect way for the Metallica fans who traveled from all over the world to end their day.
See pics of Metallica, The Wedding Band, and Bastardane below, followed by fan-filmed video and Metallica’s BottleRock setlist. Pick up tickets to upcoming Metallica shows via Ticketmaster.
Photo Gallery – Metallica, The Wedding Band, and Bastardane in Napa Valley (click to enlarge and scroll through):
All photos by Raymond Ahner (@raymond_ahner)
Metallica BottleRock Setlist:
The Memory Remains
Wherever I May Roam
Seek & Destroy
Sad but True
Whiskey in the Jar
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Fade to Black
Master of Puppets
Nothing Else Matters