Our night with Metallica, Greta Van Fleet & Ice Nine Kills in Vegas

Our night with Metallica, Greta Van Fleet & Ice Nine Kills in Vegas

Ready for a big show? How about Metallica with Greta Van Fleet and Ice Nine Kills in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium — home of the Raiders — on February 25th. We woke up 6am to hit the road from San Diego to Vegas. Kaiya and I cover a lot of concerts together, but this one was different. I grew up with Metallica; I’ve seen them 15 times between 1986 and 1997. This will be my first Metallica show in over 20 years and her first Metallica show ever! We listened to all three bands all the way up, we were so hyped for this show! 

If you haven’t been to Allegiant Stadium yet, know that it’s near the Vegas Strip.

There is not a stadium parking lot, so go early! There’s a lot of smaller parking lots off the side streets and some businesses were also offering parking for $25-50. We may or may not have ended up in an empty employee casino parking lot by accident and only paid $15. 

Metalheads unite!

I was unable to see Ice Nine Kills onstage due to circumstances beyond my control although Kaiya was able to catch the last two songs. We will hopefully see them soon on their Trinity of Terror Tour, though! As we were moving our way through the crowd on the floor, I realized Kaiya was not behind me. I looked back and Kaiya was talking to Spencer Charnas, lead singer of INK! He was just chilling enjoying the show. We heard Ra Diaz (of Suicidal Tendencies and Korn) was in the house, too! I love when bands support other bands and be a fan in the crowd. The best part of concerts is coming together as one, escaping the chaos of the world, seeing old friends, meeting new ones and the solidarity of being fans of music. 

Kaiya Vandemark with Spencer Charnas (of Ice Nine Kills)

Greta Van Fleet is a completely different vibe from INK. We went from horror ‘Silver Scream’ metal to classic, old-school rock. I love their classic rock, 70s vibe! Led Zeppelin was obviously a huge influence for so many bands and GVF is bringing it back. Greta Van Fleet is composed of three brothers Josh Kiszka (vocals), Sam Kiszka (bass guitar, keyboards), Jake Kiszka (guitar) and drummer, Danny Wagner. Opening up with “Heat Above” and “My Way Soon” from their latest album The Battle of Garden’s Gate released in 2021, Sam had some incense burning on the keyboards keeping a peaceful vibe. Josh and Sam are the barefoot boys; I’ve heard rumors that it’s just their thing on and off the stage. Their outfits were so cute with sequins and flair bottoms. If you follow my writing, you know I love it when there is a theme or some kind of stage dress. 70s were the hippie-dippie peace times. We need some of that right now. Fun fact — Elton John himself requested Greta Van Fleet to perform at Elton John’s Academy Award Party in 2018. They closed out their set with “Highway Tune”, their GRAMMY-Nominated ‘Best Rock Song’, that even if you don’t know a lot of GVF songs, you know that one and the crowd got excited just hearing the guitar intro. 

Greta Van Fleet

Anxiously awaiting Metallica, we were packed in on the floor, meeting those around us. We met another mom/daughter duo (see in our photo below). Metallica has been around for 40 years, spanning Gen X to Gen Z — it’s quite amazing! There was a not cool woman that decided to start hitting a guy from behind for not letting her push in front of him. Metalheads stuck together and she was out of there fast.

Mother-daughter moments

This is the first time in forever that I did not have my camera on me, so I was able to be in the crowd and ready to mosh with my girl. “It’s a Long Way to the Top” started playing and we knew Metallica was about to hit the stage. I felt like the high school me, so excited, wondering what song are they going to play first. One of the things I love most about a Metallica show is that it’s never the same set list, so you’ll be surprised even if you Google it. They started with “Whiplash!” off their first album, Kill ‘Em All, then played mostly old-school megahits, like “Seek and Destroy”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, “Creeping Death”, “Fade to Black”, “Ride the Lightning”, “Master of Puppets” and “Battery” off their first three albums.

We, the fans, were so loud, screaming every word.

“One” started with the video that we’ve watched so many times on Headbanger’s Ball. It’s an emotional video and lyrics that take you inside the mind of a wounded warrior. The pyrotechnics were right on point to simulate the battlefield — they even had pyro set up in the stands behind the stage. Of course, that was in empty sections. “Moth Into Flame” had neon lights on the screens and fire kept going back and forth across the stage before the night ended with “Enter Sandman” and fireworks INSIDE the stadium. I could not have asked for a better setlist, maybe a little bit longer, but I loved the heavy-weighted old-school set. “Give me Fuel, Give Me Fire…” The adrenaline rush and endorphins from that show kept me going and awake for the all-nighter drive back to San Diego to make it to work. Unlike my fast travel turn-around, there is plenty of time to make your travel plans for the August shows in Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Buy the ticket, go to the show. 

Photography by Heather Vandemark

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