Sunday morning begins at Hellfest 2022, with a sense of anticipation in the air, and long lines at the merch stands for Metallica EU ’22 tour shirts.
Metallica – Hellfest 2022 – 26 June 2022.
Words: Kahmel Farahani
Photography: Aggie Anthimidou
With a crowd so huge many have simply staked out their spot since late afternoon. AC/DC’s Its A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock And Roll blares over the speakers, and the entire field of Hellfest rose to its feet in anticipation.
Tonight Metallica’s setlist is a piece of art in itself. Brilliantly playing Enter Sandman as the third song of the set gives the entire crowd a joyous sing-along while opening up the unexpected. “Oh, we played our best song so early. I wonder what we can play now?” asks a smiling James Hetfield. The answer is the ten-ton riff Harvester Of Sorrow, followed by Wherever I May Roam.
It’s followed by a very surprising and sublime run-through of the S&M single No Leaf Clover. Metallica themselves still look and sound flawless, even after more than 40 years at the very top of the mountain. Even more importantly, after all that time, they still refuse to simply go through the motions and take the greatest hits way out.
During the break in a chilling Fade To Black, frontman James Hetfield takes a moment to address the crowd and even some of his own recent struggles. “This is a very dark song about suicide,” Hetfield says. “We all know somebody who’s been affected. Please talk to somebody. Know that you are loved, and you are family”.
It’s a genuinely human and moving moment, particularly coming from one of the greatest icons in Heavy Metal.
The setlist is given another shake-up with the St Anger deep-cut Dirty Window given an airing before Kirk Hammett brings out the legendary ‘Greeny’ Les Paul for a stunning Nothing Else Matters.
A thunderous Seek And Destroy ends the main set, and the crowd begin placing bets on how they will start the encore.
Not many people call it right, as Metallica burst back on stage to the furious breakneck riff of Damage, Inc. In truly appropriate and epic fashion to close a ten-day festival extravaganza, Metallica play the epics One and Master Of Puppets back to back to finish.
As the band take their extended bows and throw buckets of pics and drumsticks to the crowd, the firework display to end them all begins just behind them.
It’s impossible to imagine a more fitting end to what will surely go down as a truly legendary festival in rock and Metal history. Merci Beaucoup Hellfest.
Hellfest 2022 will be held over two weekends in June, featuring 350 artists on six stages. For more information visit www.hellfest.fr/en/
You can read all the MetalTalk Hellfest coverage at metaltalk.net/tag/hellfest-2022
This year there is also a virtual edition, Hellfest From Home. For more details visit fromhome.hellfest.fr