Metallica’s WorldWired Tour Pandemic Re-Edit
Metallica’s WorldWired Tour Pandemic Re-Edit
Soldier Field Chicago
Sunday June 18 2017
Yes- You heard right: This is Metallica’s WorldWired Tour 2017.
This is what I call a Metallica Pandemic Re- Edit.
With all of this downtime on our hands, and editorial deadlines long since passed, and staring down the barrel of a gargantuan edit from Metallica’s show at Soldier Field Chicago from back in 2017- over 1,200 images total- why not proceed and conquer this beast.
The stats- started the edit back in early January of 2021- and here we are, the end of February, and complete.
No easy feat- getting the white balance just right, the massive WorldWired outdoor stage, the distance between the performers, hard to navigate a runway Snake Pit stage that juts out approximately 45 yards or so from the main stage, just off the top of my head.
So yes- a lot to contend with.
Metallica’s WorldWired Tour- the numbers and stats involved- are staggering, and staggeringly complex.
It takes a lot to keep the world’s biggest metal band on the road and performing on such an immense level.
Consider that part of the equation is how do you reach and connect with the fans at the back of the stadium bowl, and in the upper register seats?
That- amongst a million other questions.
So, you have 230 or so crew members with Metallica involved in the production.
On stage, and every night, you have the four horsemen of course- James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Rob Trujillo, front and center, blasting away during their set.
But there’s an army of 230 to keep the entire show on the road, ranging from sound and light technicians, to the mechanics of such a gargantuan stage, and of course the drivers and riggers.
For the actual stage, you have 3 giant metal scaffolding systems that make up the massive backdrop of the show, leapfrogging each other from city to city.
As one stage is physically being played on, the next gig’s stage is being built, while the previous show is being trucked to the next venue after that.
Each stage system is built to the outdoor stadium’s specs, and then de- rigged by it’s own crew of thirty people.
206 Feet- that’s the actual width of the stage.
48 Hours- That’s how long it takes (sometimes a bit more) to setup each night’s show. it takes 36 hours for the stage crew to build the stage and massive vertical and movable LED screens, and then another twelve hours for the 95 or so crew to rig the lighting, the sound, and also the video screens and the cameras around it.
4 Hours- That’s how long it takes to pack everything down except for the steel frame after the show- much easier to unplug stuff than it is painstakingly to set up and get things ready to go before soundcheck.
75 Trucks- It takes seventy five trucks to ship everything for the WorldWired Tour. This includes the leapfrogging of all the stage systems. But keep in mind there’s still a whopping 45 rocking up to each and every city on the outdoor portion of the WorldWired Tour, with 15 carrying the main stage alone, and an additional 30 bringing the lighting, the sound, the video, the instruments, the snake pit enclosure, the barricades, and additional items such as the merch.
6 Flamethrowers- Not in Rammstein proportions, with pyro on steroids- but getting close to some shock and awe. The Big Guns of the WorldWired crew, they assist and conduct shooting the flames 65 feet or so into the air from the very top of the scaffold towers. Add to this a concise and movable flame that runs across the width of the stage, and of course a battery of pyro launchpads behind, and you’ve got right here an eye brow singeing amount of firepower.
5 Gigantic Screens- No matter your viewing point inside Soldier Field, you were able to see what’s happening on the stage, to great detail.
That’s because the backdrop is made of 5 massive, I mean massive vertical LED screens. Each individual screen stands 52 feet tall, and is 35 feet wide, which comes in of an area of 9,100 square feet of visuals in total. Some heavy hitter numbers just on the sophisticated visual displays alone.
700 Lights- This is an estimated guess, apparently quoted from Metallica’s Production Manager- John “Lug” Zajonc, and he thinks he’s quoting conservatively, since no one has officially counted every single light involved in the main stage production.
6 Generators- Even for massive outdoor stadiums, with capacities from 60,000 to around 80,000, none of these stadiums has the power to feed the entire Metallica WorldWired show, so they haul in 6 generators to set up shop and provide the juice to ramp up the show, with no hiccups.
These babies can kick out 2400kw in total- enough to juice up 185 houses for an entire day. Along with providing immense amounts of power for the actual WorldWired show, they need this amount of generators for consistency. Now you know that power is important to the production as anything else- juice for the video screens, juice for the PA, juice for the lighting, enough juice that god forbid something cuts off mid set. You have to come prepared for mishaps.
2 Drum Kits- So you have Lars and his actual main kit on the stage for the show, and then there’s the hidden kit, under the snake pit ramps at the front of the stage. Midway through the set, this second kit rises up from beneath its covers, so that the whole band can play some 40 yards or so out into the crowd. the height of the snake pit runway was suggested by the band to be as low as possible to the actual crowd, so that they can be right in the mix and reach out to the crowd and to their fans.
2 Inflatables- To the left of the stage- a gargantuan “M”. To the right of the stage- a gargantuan “A”. There you have it- to bookends which are over 50 feet tall and 30 feet wide, and look like solid monoliths, but are actually large inflatables.
Zero – The amount of pedal boards on stage. Aside from Kirks’ wah wahs, there are no cumbersome pedal boards on the actual stage. This is so that James and Kirk don’t have to be held hostage to one position, and are free to roam and run around the massive stage, and off into the Snake Pit ramps. Instead, their pedal boards are set up at their guitar tech stations, directly behind the massive vertical screens.
20 Cameras- Since the massive vertical LED screens are bigger than a five story mid rise, you need to get some good crisp visuals on them. That’s why Metallica has two spider cams, gliding over the main stage and crowd on steel cables hundreds of feet long, along with 12 robot cameras on the actual stage, operated remotely, and also six conventional hand held cameras tracking the whereabouts of Kirk, James, Rob and Lars.
So there you have it- at least part of the production stats which are mind boggling.
Since there’s so much ground to cover, and so many images- this will be the first of two parts.
The second chapter will appear in a couple days after, with more talk on the actual performance and setlist.
Hope you like the images everybody- it truly was a labor of love encompassing close to two months to get the edit just right.
Cheers- Bobby Talamine – Music Photographer