After a chaotic day of weather delays at the Boston Calling Music Festival on May 28, the activity of the festival was buzzing on the final day of the festival, May 29. Tens of thousands of people attended over the course of the weekend, and on the final day crowds bounced between stages, dodging a fleet of golf carts on the packed walkways, to see the packed lineup of artists. The final day of Boston Calling delivered a day of musical indulgence and good vibes.
As the evening approached, more people arrived at the festival in anticipation of Metallica, the night’s headliner. Fans wore band merchandise that spanned Metallica’s dozens of tours over the past 41 years.
The final day had an air of suspense. After The Strokes’ canceled as the headliners the day before, the renowned reputation of the legendary metal band set high expectations for its set. Metallica exceeded them all.
Metallica Concludes Festival With Unparalleled Set, Exhibiting Vast Discography
Thousands of festival-goers listened to Weezer’s set on the red stage from afar, planting themselves in front of the main Boston Calling green stage in anticipation for Metallica’s 9 p.m. set.
As the sun set, anticipation grew within the massive crowd. Every sign of movement from the stage triggered rowdy cheers from fans. After a suspenseful silence, the screens displayed a spaghetti western introduction video for the band.
Metallica abruptly made its appearance 15 minutes late, and fans whipped out their phones, which shined throughout the sea of festival-goers, recording the revered band’s opening song, “Whiplash,” from 1983 album Kill ’Em All.
Metallica masterfully segued from one song to another, with each arousing intense cries from many fans.
Guitarists James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett smiled gleefully at the audience’s vigor in reaction to classic hits. Armed with over four decades of tracks, Metallica arranged a sentimental setlist that guided Boston Calling attendees through its musical journey.
From “Ride The Lightning” to “Fade To Black,” the band members put on a show of passion and love for their craft.
Several mosh pits formed during Metallica’s set, prompting some fans to push their way to the front to join in. People stormed and rattled the barricades to get as close as possible while Lars Ulrich roared on his drums.
Out of all the stage spectacles, the famous anti-war anthem “One” mesmerized the audience the most. Dark glimpses into the grim reality of war with footage displayed on the screens drove home the message of the lyrics denouncing governments for sending troops to be mutilated in conflict.
Fans young and old jumped along to Metallica’s ballads and long winding guitar solos.
Metallica made its way through the act, playing hits from its vast discography. The band ended predictably with the crowd-favorite “Master of Puppets,” leading to energetic cheers.
As Metallica prepared to leave the stage, Hetfield wistfully spoke to the audience.
“Thank you, thank God, and everyone that makes this possible,” Hetfield said. “Music saves my life every day.”
The audience stayed put as Metallica left the stage only to return a minute after with an encore of “Battery,” and “Nothing Else Matters. On the latter, Hammett flubbed the guitar intro and acknowledged it playfully.
“Enter Sandman” concluded Metallica’s show as fans sang the lyrics with pride.
Before leaving, Metallica spent several minutes with the audience, speaking to crowd members, throwing picks and guitar sticks. People rushed toward the stage and tackled one another to get their hands on these exclusive Metallica tokens.
Glass Animals Command the Stage With Ease During Electropop Performance
The Glass Animals’ stage shone with ’80s-style decorations that mirrored the band’s Dreamland album art. Thousands of Boston Calling attendees covered the fields of the Harvard Athletics Complex to hear the British indie band play its hits.
Glass Animals opened with “Life Itself,” building up the energy within the crowd with its tension-filled, repeating rhythm. Many audience members pushed their way to the front, leaving little room for dancing throughout the set.
The band next played “Tangerine,” a song with cryptic lyrics that portray a confusing and distant relationship. The song likewise built up in volume and intensity as Glass Animals played with ease.
“When you’re drunk, watchin’ movies / Where are you? What happened?” lead vocalist Dave Bayley sang.
“Space Ghost Coast To Coast” featured a prominent bass that entranced the audience during the vocal break. When he wasn’t singing, Bayley often strutted across the stage and interacted with fans. The track led to in-sync head-bobbing throughout the crowd.
Glass Animals’ sound relies heavily on electronic synths and keyboards, and instead of using guitar or drum solos to leave an impression on listeners, the group makes its mark through a captivating display of charisma and magnetism. Bayley won the crowd’s favor through witty remarks when engaging with the audience.
“Wow, what’s that? Someone is smoking something very strong in the front here,” Bayley said, garnering loud cheers.
The group’s biggest hits proved to be fan favorites, including the song “Heat Waves”—a fixture in popular music since its release. The band extended the song in its live version to close out its set and encouraged fans to sing along as Bayley paused to hear the voices of the crowd.
Japanese Breakfast Performs Electric Set Fueled by its Growing Success
Festival-goers flooded the floor near the blue stage for Japanese Breakfast’s performance. Many others lounged on bordering grassy hills in the shade to catch a glimpse of the pop band’s set.
Lead vocalist Michelle Zauner remarked on the exciting chaos of the past week as the band had performed live on SNL on May 21 and at Solid Sound Festival in North Adams, Mass. earlier in the weekend.
Japanese Breakfast opened with “Paprika” and “Be Sweet,” both tracks from its 2021 album Jubilee. The background of the Boston Calling stage shined with strobing kumquat fruits, adding to the aesthetically pleasing energy that the band has cultivated. Zauner dressed in airy white garb, and bassist Deven Craige wore a bright blue suit.
Zauner introduced several songs with a short quip about what inspired them, sparking laughter among many fans.
“This song is about people who have too much money,” Zauner said in reference to “Savage Good Boy.”
The set incorporated a variety of instruments, including a violin, gong, tambourines, and a saxophone. Dual keyboardists starred in the vocal break of “Savage Good Boy,” playing across from one another.
Zauner often danced and made use of the entire stage in her act, at times skipping toward other band members while singing. She played the synth during the outro of “Road Head.”
Japanese Breakfast performed its Boston Calling set with clear enjoyment, mirroring the light mood that its discography boasts. Zauner smiled when she noticed that fans recognized her music, and she encouraged the audience to jump along to “Slide Tackle.”