Live at The Mayan Theater
Los Angeles, CA
September 28th, 2017
Review and photos by Travis Baumann
Twenty years ago, four Finnish classical musicians took their love of Metallica and decided to do an entire cover album devoted to the pioneering thrash metal legends and perform them entirely on four cellos.
Apocalyptica burst on to the world metal scene applying their talents to bring about a new perception of their instruments as well as the work of Metallica themselves.
Since that time, Apocalyptica have put out six full length albums of original material and have expanded to include a drummer and on some songs a live vocalist.
Now as the twentieth anniversary of the album that started it all: "Apocalyptica Plays Metallica on Four Cellos" is upon us, they are touring the world and performing an all Metallica cover set once again.
I was lucky enough to see Apocalyptica years ago play a very intimate venue performing all of their original material with the Metallica songs making up their encore that night. I was extremely excited to see these guys again as their songs and skills are impressive to behold to say the least.
The set was broken down into two mini-sets and an encore. The first set consisted of the four gentlemen on chairs with their cellos in front of four individual back drops of a grey cracked texture.
The set started out with the classic songs, "Enter Sandman" and the awesome "Master of Puppets" right off the bat. The audience provided the lyrics and sang along to every song.
"Harvester of Sorrow" lead into "The Unforgiven" and was followed by "Sad but True". The crowd was enthralled, head-banging, singing, and pumping fists in the air. An Apocalyptica show is very different than a standard metal show but is nothing like a classical performance either. It is a perfect highbred of the two and is an amazing thing to witness.
A personal favorite of mine was up next with "Creeping Death" and they concluded the first set with "Wherever I May Roam" and "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" before taking a break.
They removed the backdrops to reveal a funky drum set with all sorts of industrial pipes and vents coming off of it and only left chairs for two of the cellists on the far sides of the stage.
The second set was much more of a metal show with aggressive drums laying down the rhythm and the two lead cellists moving about the stage, whipping their hair about and enticing the audience.
The second portion of the performance began with "Fade to Black" followed by "For Whom the Bell Tolls". One of the lead cellists took a moment to address the audience.
He introduced Eicca Toppinen who he credited as the man who began it all with the idea of playing Metallica on their cellos. They commented on how amazing the last twenty years have been and how the metal community embraced their style of music. Metallica themselves had them open for them in Finland and they have shared the stage with bands like Rammstein.
"Fight Fire With Fire" was followed by "Until It Sleeps" which had "Orion" right on it's heels and "Escape" tailing that.
The crowd got even more enthusiastic when the opening riffs of "Battery" took off and sang to every word for "Seek & Destroy".
After another short break with the audience cheering and hollering, the band returned to close out the night with a final two songs, "Nothing Else Matters" (which I like a lot better as an instrumental) and the massive hit, "One".
It was an epic night of eighteen songs, some friendly banter with the band, and a nice recap of what started their career and brought together the worlds of cello and metal.
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