Metallica - Cunning Stunts DVD
Disc 1: 15 songs (1:40:29) Disc 2: 5 songs (29:42)
Release year: 1998
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

For all their status as a live act par excellence, it’s surprising how few live albums Metallica have officially released (not counting the live downloads you can buy). Unlike some who seem to have more live releases than studio ones (looking at no-one in particular, Iron Maiden!) all we have from Metallica, apart from a few now rare videos, is the S&M experiment and this, a recording of the band’s appearance at Forth Worth, Texas in 1997 over two nights. Considering the year this was released, it’s impressive just how good it is: many bands releasing DVDs since have failed to live up to this.

What’s also impressive is just how much fun was being had. The ‘tallica back then were hardly pretentious; opening with a cover of Anti-Nowhere League’s So What and continuing through Creeping Death almost seamlessly. Some ‘really heavy shit’ gets bought with Sad But True, and a triumphant Ain’t My Bitch. Although for the most part the band are stationary, there’s enough running around the large, central, oddly-shaped stage to keep the fans whooping. Speaking of the fans, there’s more than a few shots of them, but never at the expense of the band. And speaking of the band again, this is a chance to see them at their best, even if Kirk does have short hair. James and Jason are intense and driven, and Lars is his usual wild-eyed man-child self.

The only hang-up that anyone could have here is with the tracklisting, and whilst as you’d expect Load and Metallica are heavily featured, there’s plenty from older days: One, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Fade To Black, and Master Of Puppets all feature, as well as a medley from Kill ‘Em All and Ride The Lightning, including Ride The Lightning, No Remorse, Hit The Lights, The Four Horsemen, Seek & Destroy, and Fight Fire With Fire. Obviously there’s little point buying this unless you’re at least tolerant of the later songs, but since there’s little else available… the later songs here are all well-played, and speaking as a fan of Load I had no concerns.

All that’s left is to sit back and enjoy the show, from the pyrotechnics (the effects during One are quite something) and light changes to the vast variety of camera shots, on-stage to distant. There’s clearly a good amount of fan interaction, from when various guitarists go down to play next to the fans to all the ‘repeat after me: we don’t give a fuck!’ interactions of James. Claiming that it’s all dumb as some do is simply missing the point; ignoring that it’s set in Texas for the moment (come on, you must have seen that coming!) Metallica have never had anything less than wide appeal, and considering how synonymous the band are with Metal itself, it’s fair to say that people who don’t like the band – not including those that fell off the wagon just after …And Justice For All – aren’t true Metalheads.

Highlights come thick and fast, from a surprisingly atmospheric bass noodle (introducing Nothing Else Matters) to a performance of the then-unreleased Fuel, to the guy who managed to get up and stage-dive during For Whom The Bell Tolls, to James’ wiggling eyebrows during Wherever I May Roam, to the then disturbing but now rather hilarious sequence where the stage collapses and a crew member gets set on fire, causing plenty of screams from the crowd until they release it's a hoax. Although the bonus backstage features are decent, they’re not really worth repeated viewing. The highlight of Cunning Stunts is the show, and a pretty damn good one it is.

Killing Songs :
Ain’t My Bitch, King Nothing, One, Fuel, Nothing Else Matters, Until It Sleeps, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Fade To Black, Kill/Ride Medley, Master Of Puppets, Enter Sandman
Goat quoted no quote
Other albums by Metallica that we have reviewed:
Metallica - Hardwired... To Self-Destruct reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Metallica - Ride the Lightning reviewed by Adam and quoted CLASSIC
Metallica - Reload reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 62 / 100
Metallica - The Videos 1989-2004 DVD reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Metallica - Some Kind Of Monster DVD reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
To see all 15 reviews click here
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