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Heavy metal legends Metallica finally made their debut at Rock on the Range.

Far and away the biggest act ever to play the long-running hard rock festival, many feared the show might not even happen, as the weather was bad all weekend and forced multiple evacuations of the premises. Mother Nature saved her worst onslaught for the very end of the festival, but wisely, Rock on the Range was not evacuated for the third day in a row (riots may have ensued). So while it took an hour longer than scheduled for the performance to happen, the most loyal festival base in America was treated to the biggest metal band in the world and a performance that now firmly sits among the greatest in the eleven year history of the event.

Bar none. The songs from the new record were very well received and were strategically placed in the set in perfect spots. A three song stretch that included "One"; "Master of Puppets" and "Fade to Black" may also be the greatest three song stretch in ROTR history. While Metallica performed with their normal maniacal fervor, they still made time to subtly acknowledge Chris Cornell's passing (a very simple and subtle "We forgive you, Chris" followed "The Unforgiven").

After everything concertgoers went through this week, from the loss of Cornell to multiple evacuations and some sketchy weather, Metallica proved to be the perfect capper to the festivities. With about fifteen minutes to go in their set, lightning again returned to the area, but with all that everyone had been through, there was no way Metallica was leaving that stage early. In a perfect bit of serendipity, Metallica literally rode out the lightning to their set's conclusion.

For more coverage of Rock on the Range 2017, keep it here on AXS.com.


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