Veteran hard rock band Metallica recently made headlines when its members announced they were working on new music. The announcement came only months after the band released its latest live recording, S&M2. The recording features a performance held by the band and the San Francisco Symphony. The extensive concert was a two-night performance by the band and orchestra that marked the anniversary of the band’s original April 1999 performance with the collective, and of the opening of the symphony’s new Chase Center. The recording likely will find itself appealing mainly to the band’s most devoted audiences. That is due in part to its set list, which will be discussed shortly. That the concert was released through various, separate platforms actually makes the recording appealing to a very targeted audience, too. This will be discussed a little later. The one positive on which all audiences can agree is the recording’s production. It will be discussed later, too. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording. All things considered, they make S&M2 a presentation that Metallica’s most devoted audiences will find more appealing than general audiences.
Metallica’s latest live recording S&M2 is a presentation that will appeal mostly to the band’s most devoted fans. That is proven in part through its set list. The 24-song set list is largely the same as that featured in the band’s 1999 recording S&M. Rather than adding in some deep cuts, such as ‘The God That Failed,’ ‘King Nothing,’ or ‘Dream No More,’ the band largely played it safe here, essentially just cutting and pasting. To the set list’s defense of course, there are four new songs that are likely among the songs that the band members announced it is working on for its next album. There are also some relatively well-known classic compositions that will entertain audiences during a break by the band. The compositions are performed by the members of the symphony. But again, save for those compositions and the four new tracks, the rest of the concert’s set list is essentially a copy and paste from the 1999 show. To that end, yes, the four new songs are motivation, but general audiences will find it potentially not enough motivation considering that they and the classical compositions are really the only changes to the set list. It is just one of the concerns raised by the recording. The varied platforms on which the concert was released add their own concerns.
When S&M2 was released, it was done so on a wide range of platforms. There is the standard, least expensive 2CD platform; the standalone Blu-ray platform, the slightly more expensive 2CD/DVD platform and even a combo pack. Considering all of the platforms on which the concert was made available, outlets, such as Target and Walmart only made the standard 2CD platform available in stores. Audiences who wanted to hear and see the concert in full have to order the Blu-ray platform and 2CD/DVD combo pack. That means spending extra money on shipping and handling as well as sales tax versus just paying a little bit of extra sales tax in store. To that extent, it decrease motivation to purchase the full concert unless one is, again, among the most devoted fans of Metallica. Considering that most major retailers are charging a maximum of approximately $15 for the Blu-ray, one cannot help but wonder why that was not made available in store along with the 2CD set or even in place of that set. To that extent, the multiple platform availability of the recording does seem like a positive on the surface, but looking at the costs and availability in store versus online, it actually becomes more of a concern. Together with the limitation in new material in the concert, again, general audiences become even less motivated to purchase this recording. For all of the concerns that are raised by the concert’s set list and its availability, one positive can be noted of the recording. That positive is its production.
Audiences who watch the full audio-visual presentation on Blu-ray or DVD will agree that the audio was balanced well in post production. There have been some complaints about the 5.1 surround sound, but odds are the people who raised those concerns had their TVs improperly set up. Many TVs are created nowadays so that audiences need just set their TVs to surround sound setting and they can enjoy the concert’s audio for live setting. In the same breath, the cinematography is impressive in its own right. Considering the construction of the symphony’s new facility, the cameras had to be adapted. Audiences are often presented with wide angle shots, and even right up on stage with the band. The transitions are stable from one to the next while the shots themselves give a positive view of just how expansive the concert hall is. The cinematography also does well to capture the impact of the lighting, which helps to set the mood for the concert. Keeping all of this in mind, those responsible for capturing the performance in person and in post production are to be commended for their work. That is because it provides home viewers the best seat in the house and fully immerses those audiences in the concert experience. Keeping that in mind, this is the one true saving grace for S&M2. Together with the concert’s honestly limited set list and equally limited availability, it serves to make this presentation appealing mainly for the band’s most devoted audiences.
Metallica’s latest live recording S&M2 is an intriguing new presentation from a group that is one of the most respected bands in the music industry today. It is a presentation that will appeal mostly to the band’s most devoted audiences. That is due in large part to the concert’s set list. The set list is a near mirror image from the band’s 1999 recording S&M save for four new tracks and a small handful of well-known classic compositions. That the band and its label made the concert available only in its 2CD platform in stores, and made the rest of its platforms available online only detracts even more from its appeal. Had the standalone Blu-ray and/or the 2CD/DVD platform been made available in store, that might have helped the recording’s appeal at least somewhat, but that did not happen. To that end, that division detracts even more from the recording’s presentation. The one saving grace to this recording is its production. Those who recorded the concert in person and those who handled its post production are to be commended for their work. It gives home audiences the best seat in the house. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the recording. All things considered, S&M2 proves to be a presentation that will appeal most to Metallica’s most devoted fans. It is available now.
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