…And Justice For Dallas (Zodiac 013)
Reunion Arena Dallas, TX, USA – February 5, 1989
Disc 1 The Ecstasy Of Gold, Blackened, For Whom The Bell Toll, Welcome Home (Sanitarium), Leper Messiah, Harvester Of Sorrow, Eye Of The Beholder, Bass incl. To Live Is To Die, Master Of Puppets, One
Disc 2 (57:33) Seek And Destroy, …And Justice For All, How Many More Times, Creeping Death, Fade To Black, Guitar Solo, Battery, La Bamba / Prowler / Run To The Hills, Last Caress, Am I Evil ?. Bonus track – Erwin Events Center Austin, TX. USA. February 3, 1989; Whiplash
…And Justice For All was released in August 1988 and was the first album of original material to feature new bass player Jason Newsted, formerly of Arizona thrashers Flostom and Jestsom. Build upon monumental riffs with less speed than earlier efforts, the record was extremely successful as the band’s reputation was increasing with help from the groups first ever music video for the song “One”. Metallica was moving to the next level, but on their terms. The record would also be their last to be focused on their thrash style, the following records would find the band moving into a more streamlined sound that would catapult them into massive worldwide success. The tour in support was called Damaged Justice and would span more than a year and find the group covering the globe; the recording featured here is from the first leg in the United States. The recording is perfect stereo soundboard recording, the balance is excellent and has a powerful full sound, it is a bare bones recording with the only audience noise from stage microphones. The band, by this point, is a well oiled machine and bludgeons the audience with a set of new and existing classic material.
Is there any better opening music for a metal band than “The Ecstasy Of Gold”? The song leads into a blistering opener in the form of “Blackened”, one of the two really fast songs on the record (along with “Dyers Eve”) and sets the tone for the evening. We get to hear Jason’s take on a Cliff classic with “Whom The Bells Toll”, he has no problems with the opening bass lines as he is a master at his craft. The other thing that I like about this era is Lars does some of his best drumming and the song is a perfect example of his early style. I also really like how the song fades out with a great Kirk guitar solo that sets the mood as James picked outs the gentle notes of “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”, a personal favorite from the Puppets record (they are all favorites on that record). The music beautifully projects the bleakness of the lyric, again it features really from playing from Kirk, and he weaves his melodic solos through the bombastic sound. The band takes a quick breather while James talks to the crowd, he uses many colorful metaphors during the show but the reward is at the end of his rap, “Leper Messiah”. I vividly remember seeing the band on this tour and being blown away when they played this song, it could have easily fit on the Justice record as it has a nice fat riff and a ton of groove to it. Certainly a great addition to the set list.
New music is next, not before James gives a big shout out to Z-Rock. The music channel was extremely influential in spreading metal music during this period as the regular radio was filled with a lot of the hair band crap. “Harvester Of Sorrow” was the first single from the record, a song that the band debuted on the summer 88 stadium tour that found the band on a bill with Van Halen and the Scorpions. “Eye Of The Beholder” quickly follows. The riff is infectious and has a certain groove and like much of the new material is fairly complex and almost progressive sounding. Jason gets his solo spot next; the first few minutes are very bleak sounding before he brings it back by throwing speed at it before finally going into “To Live Is To Die”, one of the pieces of music that the late Cliff Burton shares a credit on. From out of the depths “Master Of Puppets” certainly wakes the crowd up with a fast and furious pace, a pace that would end amid the sounds of battle as the band play their breakthrough hit, “One”. Metallica wisely waited on making music videos and when they finally did one it was perfect. The lyric is based upon Johnny Got His Gun, a tale of a soldier who loses all his appendages as well as his facial features and has no way to communicate, his mind still in tact. The video intertwined scenes from the 1971 movie along with the band playing in a warehouse and was video perfection. Live the song is even more brutal as the speed is kicked up a notch but loses none of its impact, the playing is so fast as they hammer out the ending portion of the song. The band take a much needed break, James shares a beer with the audience and a female shows her appreciation for the musicians.
The second disc starts with James having to wake the crowd, what better way than to have a good ol’ sing along in the form of “Seek and Destroy”. The band get a little loose with the song and James takes some lyrical liberties with the song, the date is confirmed as he interjects it in the song and does have to admonish the Dallas crowd to put some balls into their singing. Clocking in at just under 10 minutes, the epic title track from the new record is next, James gives an interesting introduction that borders on vulgar. It was at the tours conclusion that the band concluded that the songs where just too long and hard for the audiences to fully enjoy, something they would rectify. “…And Justice For All” is a swipe at our current system and is the bands version of “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner”, a long and structured song that goes through many phases and about 8 minutes in you can hear Justice’s collapse, Metallica was in the big leagues and had a “show” as well as the music. A great live version of the song, one that brings the main set to a close.
The Damage tour had the band loosening up, they start with a band jam on the Led Zep classic “How Many More Times” before slamming into “Creeping Death” from the amazing Ride The Lightening record. The addition of Jason into the band provides another voice to the band. He provides some backing vocals and would even take lead vocals from time to time. One of the bands early favorites is next; “Fade To Black” rises from “Creeping’s” ashes in wonderful form. I saw some footage from the Jeff Hanneman memorial show recently and they played a slide show of pictures from his life and very fittingly played this song first (RIP Jeff), again the band captures a feeling of despair lyrically and musically to perfection. Kirk takes a guitar solo that finds him shredding one minute and playing Hendrix’s “Little Wing” next and finally the band returns to hammer out “Battery” and raising the energy level significantly.
More fun time as the band plays “La Bamba” musically while taking lyrical liberties about Larry Singleton, they also play Maiden’s “Prowler” then “Running Free”, before playing the Misfits classic “Last Caress” from the Garage Days release. “Am I Evil?” follows and the band go for the death blow. Sadly, the recording ends during the song at the 3 and half minute mark sadly eliminating the final song of the set. Thankfully Zodiac had an ace up their sleeve and give us that song from a recording a few days earlier in Austin, TX, also a soundboard recording of excellent quality. “Whiplash” is pure and primal fury with some of the bands humor thrown in, during the solo section of the song where they stop, James changes the lyric from Whiplash to Dickrash, an ode I am sure to their ever growing popularity and the bounty that it brings. Certainly a concert that deserves many repeat listens, all at loud volumes.
The packaging is full color inserts with Justice graphics super imposed over cracked marble, simple and effective. I have wanted a good Justice era boot for some time and this release fills that gap. This is a great title for the casual collector thanks to the superb sound and for Metallica and metal fans, a must have. Great job by the folks at Zodiac.