METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich spoke to ABC2 News ' Shawn Stepner about the North American leg of the band's "WorldWired" tour, which will kick off Wednesday (May 10) at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland and run through August 16 at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Canada.
Ulrich said (see video below): "It's the first U.S. and Canadian run — basically, full run — since, like, '08, '09 and '10. I guess '08 and '09; I don't think we did any U.S. dates in '10. So it's coming up on ten years. It's the first outdoor summer North American stadium run that we've done since 2003."
He continued: "For us, I think the primary appreciation goes in the direction of the fact that we can still do it, the fact that this record that we put out six months ago kind of blew up to a point that nobody expected, and the fact that the opportunity to come out and play twenty-five stadiums across North America presented itself, it was, like, we've gotta do that. We haven't done it in fifteen years, and how many times [do] these opportunities show up? So outdoors, in the summer, in the States and Canada, it doesn't get better than that; that's sort of the top of the pyramid. And then we'll probably come back in another year or two and maybe do some dates in the arenas, in the cities that we haven't hit on the [stadium run]."
Ulrich added: "It's just amazing that people still care; actually, people seem to care more than they have either ever or for the better part of the last twenty-five years. And we're like little kids still, just running around going, 'Oh my God!' Running away with a rock and roll band in your early fifties is kind of pretty cool."
According to Lars, the overwhelmingly positive response to "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct", METALLICA's first album since 2008's "Death Magnetic", means that the new material will be well represented in the setlist for the "WorldWired" tour. "The old fans and the new fans have embraced this record — like I said before — to a level that nobody expected, and for the first time in our career, people are really being adamant: 'You've gotta play new songs. You've gotta play more new songs. Why are you only playing four new songs?'" he said. "So we actually have a pretty good degree of the new songs that are being aired for the first time in the States. And then, since it's a stadium, it's big, and when you're in a stadium, you've gotta kind of have the size, even though the goal is always to create a level of intimacy. But still, with fifty thousand people, it's gotta be big and it's gotta hit people and it's gotta be loud. So we've got all those things that we bring along to maximize the enjoyment for the fans and for ourselves. There's lots of stuff that blows up and things that move around. Leaving all the sexual innuendos aside, size does matter, at least in the stadium thing."
He continued: "Nowadays when we play really big places, it's more often the festivals where you don't get a chance to bring a lot of your own production and a lot of your own stuff, so when you're playing the stadiums on a headline tour, that's when you can really bring the big guns out."
Support on METALLICA's first North American trek since 2009 will come mainly from AVENGED SEVENFOLD and VOLBEAT, with GOJIRA taking over for the latter group for the last six shows.
The first European leg of "WorldWired" kicks off on September 4 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and stretches through November. After a break, the trek will pick up again on February 10, 2018 in Bologna, Italy, and continue through May, finishing up in Helsinki, Finland.