They might have been shredding guitar riffs at the very peak of the metal and rock scene for 35 years now, but as they proved at Leeds Festival, Metallica still bring the youthful energy of a band fresh on the scene.
Whether Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield and Robert Trujillo were delivering a decades-old classic like For Whom The Bell Tolls or a relatively new track like The Day That Never Comes from 2008’s Death Magnetic, the metal legends were on extremely fine form.
Mixing an energetic stage presence with the skilful crowd working that 35 years on the scene brings, Metallica started off loud and simply got louder.
The metal stalwarts took an unusual approach to getting the audience involved - they had about 200 fans on stage with them for the entire performance, standing behind the band on a raised platform in front of three massive extra screens put up just for Metallica’s set.
Though many big hits were present - like Ride The Lightning and Master Of Puppets, there were some more unusual selections, such as The Frayed Ends Of Sanity, played for the first time in the UK.
Fists pumped during an explosive performance of Seek & Destroy as the massive crowd - the largest seen for any act during the festival weekend - became more and more hyped.
On stage for more than two hours, Metallica were electric for the duration and the audience enraptured.
The encore was a fitting end to a storming Leeds Festival. The band dedicated a sublime, traditional cover of Thin Lizzy’s Whiskey In The Jar to former Metallica bassist Cliff Burton, while Nothing Else Matters followed by the inevitable, but still brilliant Enter Sandman created an explosive finale.
It goes to show how much fans loved the set - and Metallica loved playing it - that all four members stuck around on stage even after the music stopped to kick balloons into the crowd and soak in the admiration.
A legendary performance befitting a legendary band.