‘It Was A Treat’: Looking Back At Metallica’s ‘WorldWired’ Tour In GSA

Kirk Hammett in his element
Victor Schanz
– Kirk Hammett in his element
Metallica performed at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium for the first time, July 6.

Metallica has been selling out arenas and stadiums across the world during its “WorldWired” tour, which launched in 2016. Germany, Switzerland and Austria are no exception: all 15 concerts in those countries, six stadiums and nine arenas, sold out completely.
The GSA shows sold 486,130 tickets, grossing more than €42 million. To honor this success, Live Nation GSA recently presented Metallica with a Sold Out Award.
Celebrating the enormous success of “WorldWired” in GSA
– Celebrating the enormous success of “WorldWired” in GSA
From left: James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Andre Lieberberg (President/ Managing Director Live Nation GSA), Lars Ulrich, Matt Schwarz (COO/Managing Director Live Nation GSA), Robert Trujillo, Carrie McNamara (Assistant to COO Live Nation GSA)

While the statistics speak for themselves, Pollstar reached out to Andre Lieberberg, president and managing director of Live Nation GSA, to find out what the vibe was like at the venues. “It was a treat,” he said, “rarely had a tour of this size and scope where the vibe was as calm and professional.”
Live Nation GSA COO & MD Matt Schwarz added, “there are no surprises when you deal with Tony [DiCioccio] and the entire team, Metallica on tour is a well-oiled machine and always a real pleasure to work with.
“We are more than happy with the 15 sold out shows total in GSA, 9 arenas and 6 stadiums with a total attendance of 486,130. The unique 360° in-the-round production in the arenas set venue attendance records, and the band produced a mind-blowing experience in this special configuration with a stunning production. Fortunately, we did not have any major weather issues on the outdoor leg, Metallica fans left the stadiums with a smile on their faces rain or shine.”
One of many highlights: Metallica performed at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium for the first time in its career, selling out 68,452 tickets and grossing $6,816,021 according to Pollstar’s box office reports, which makes it one of the highest grossing concerts on the GSA leg of “WorldWired.”
“We did not include any Berlin indoor shows before, to ensure maximum drawing potential for the stadium, which worked out very well,” Lieberberg explained.
Metallica in the round
Courtesy of Live Nation GSA
– Metallica in the round
Most arenas the band visited celebrated a new attendance record thank to Metallica’s unique stage setup

The operators of Mannheim’s SAP Arena, Arena Leipzig, Vienna’s City Hall and Munich’s Olympic Hall, respectively, all celebrated new attendance records thanks to the band’s in-the-round setup, which allowed most arenas on the tour to admit more fans than usual. 
The decision to go with a traditional end-stage setup in the stadium was a strategic one. As the band’s show director Dan Braun told Pollstar, “the stadium show was designed to meet a totally different set of criteria. The biggest challenge is bringing the energy of the band to audience members who may be as far as 250 meters from the stage. Hence the tall video screens, that were used for both IMAG (live enlarged images of the band) and custom content designed to add texture, and the intensive use of multiple PA locations, and even remote pyro effects.”
The different setups also meant that one of the most spectacular visual effects in today’s touring world was reserved for arena visitors: more than 100 autonomous micro drones that emerge from the main-stage prop lifts during the song “Moth Into Flame” and swarm into several formations over the band’s heads.
Braun was on site at the Aug. 16 concert at Vienna’s Ernst-Happel-Stadion, one of the last stops of “WorldWired” in Europe, were the band sold out 48,755 tickets, grossing $4,827,840 according to Pollstar’s box office reports. He said that, even after four years on tour, he was “thrilled at how fresh [the show] was, and how the incredible touring staff had maintained its integrity. I was also excited to see how all of the visuals had continued to evolve.  Repetition night after night can become boring for lighting and camera directors. In our world we believe that good enough, isn’t. Our crew is encouraged to constantly make the show better. We made some tweaks before we started in Europe, all of them combined with new lighting and camera cues kept the show fresh.” 
A spectacular show
Courtesy of Live Nation GSA
– A spectacular show
The visuals have evolved during four years on tour, said Metallica’s show director Dan Braun

The tour also chose a fresh path in terms of sponsorship: Live Nation’s brand partnerships & media department had arranged a cooperation with German workwear supplier Engelbert Strauss, who equipped the roadies on the European dates with gear. “It felt natural for us to get them connected with our hard-working crews, who work behind the scenes to ensure our shows run smoothly and need comfortable and durable clothing for their profession. We were thrilled to learn that Metallica were up for and even willing to endorse this partnership,” Björn Mähl, Live Nation’s VP brand partnership & festivals (GSA) recalled. He added, “the response on social media was amazing. You know you are doing something right, if the limited merchandise collection is nearly sold-out after a few days, and the Metallica crew is loving your Engelbert Strauss stuff – it was a match!”
The last “WorldWired” concert in Europe went down Aug. 25 at the Maimarkt Greenfield in Mannheim, Germany. Lieberberg’s drive back home to Frankfurt was only 40 minutes. “I actually went to bed straight away and had no trouble falling asleep given that all ended so well,” he said. When questioned how he was planning to top a tour like “WorldWired” in GSA, he answered: “No need to top it, if we can repeat a run like this on the next cycle, it would already be more than one could ask for.”