Arena Building, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, USA – May 24, 1986
(71:10) Battery, Master Of Puppets, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Ride The Lightning, Welcome Home (Sanitarium), Four Horsemen, Thing That Should Not Be, Cliff Burton Solo, Damage Inc, Fade To Black, Seek And Destroy, Creeping Death
Metallica circa 1986 was a force to be reckoned with, they were on their first really big tour after having secured the opening slot on Ozzy Osbourne’s Ultimate Sin tour. This highly coveted slot would propel the band to heights not yet awarded to the still up and coming Thrash metal movement. There were no cracks in this armor, just four talented musicians seizing an opportunity and taking great delight in delivering the goods night after night and concurring many new markets. This new release from the Peach label showcases an off night from the Ozzy tour where the band would get a headline gig in a smaller market. The soundboard recording from Cape Girardeau, Missouri has circulated since 2000 and been the subject of two previous releases, Dawn Of The Dead (Langley 246) and The Dream That They’ve Been After (The Godfatherecords G.R. 752).
The recording is a near perfectly balanced soundboard that is sadly incomplete, missing the intro and first half of Battery as well as the encore. The recording sounds great loud yet is bare bones, the audience is barely heard so it does not have the ambience that audience sources have. I dug out my old Godfather disc and was pleasantly surprised with what I heard. The sound of the Godfather is amplified much more giving the recording some distortion not present on this new version. This new version also has a much fuller sound and much needed bottom end, it is warm and inviting where the Godfather was cold and harsh in comparison. The beginning of the tape, during Battery, suffers from tape balance problems, this is much smoother and palatable in this version as well.
The performance is excellent, Metallica firing on all cylinders, Battery and Puppets make for one of the best opening salvos in the history of live music, it simply devastates the audience and listener alike. Like I state in my review of the Godfather title, Cliff’s bass solo is one of the most interesting I have heard and features some nice improvisation that takes the band off balance a bit as he manages to do his typical Anesthesia portion and some nice flourishes as well. The whole performance is a highlight and is well structured to combine old and new with no song that would bog you down. The Thing That Should Not Be, Damage Inc, and Creeping Death are personal highlights of this recording, although the playing here is so fierce and incredibly tight, it has to be heard in its entirety to be fully enjoyed.
The packaging is typical for Eat A Peach, mini LP sleeve with a front cover paying homage to the Master Of Puppets cover, Cliff looks like he is dreaming. Lots of nice posed and live shots of a young looking Metallica adorn the inner sleeve and inserts. I was a bit skeptical on this release but the sound upgrade and mastering have totally won me over and have found this title making its way back into my CD player of the last few weeks. Well done.