Metallica wanted to create a connection with the fans while keeping the production technology out of view for the in-the-round indoor, section of their WorldWired tour.
Show director Dan Braun says he combined the feeling of the music with some of the aesthetic techniques used on Broadway, to create a set dominated by 52 LED cubes which rose and fell during the show. In what he says is a first for the concert touring industry, the band also used a swarm of autonomous drones in one song, Moth into Flame.
“I wanted to create a platform that was relevant to their music but wasn’t a technology show so that we could alter the mood in the room without fans knowing we were doing it,” says Braun. “We were able to do that with the kinetic cubes.”
Performing on a 44ft (13.4m) by 44ft (13.4m) stage, Metallica commissioned Tait Stage Technologies to provide its Tait Navigator platform for the moving cubes, teaming up with Swiss company Verity Studios to create the drone segment of the show.
Working with Verity, the team devised a system to minimise risk, where the drones flew in patterns above the band, disappearing into the floor of the stage at the end of the song.
“The guys who programmed the drones did a great job,” says Braun. “The drone element essentially disappears with the song.”
Metallica has played venues including Canada’s Commonwealth Stadium (cap. 60,000) in Edmonton, Belgium’s Sportpaleis (23,000) in Antwerp, and Copenhagen’s Royal Arena (15,000) in Denmark.