Unless they’ve got fans among penguins, there’s no practical reason for a band to make the journey to Antarctica to play. So why did Metallica do exactly that in 2013? Because they could, and because it made them the first musical act to play all seven continents — a Guinness World Record — doing it all in the same calendar year, no less. They’re also the only rock band to travel to Antarctica. (With the exception of Nunatak, an indie rock band made up of British climate scientists, who played a “sold-out” show to 17 people at the Rothera Research Station where they worked in 2007.)
If those aren’t reasons enough, the concert was a dream realized for the 120 fans in attendance, including research station scientists and Coca Cola contest winners from all over Latin America who were able to see Metallica in a transparent dome near the heliport of Argentina’s Carlini Base after a week-long cruise. “Due to the continent’s fragile environment,” notes Guinness, the band’s amps were placed in “isolation cabinets” and the audience heard everything through headphones, sort of like a silent rave. Called “Freeze ‘Em All,” the show was live-streamed and is now fully available online (see it above).
“The energy in the little dome was amazing!” the band writes on their Facebook page. “Words can not describe how happy everyone was.” But how cold were they? More sponsorship, in the form of outerwear from snowboard and ski giant Burton, kept the band bundled up throughout. Metallica has uploaded the audio of “Freeze ‘Em All” in MP3 and various high-end lossless formats at LiveMetallica.com. It’s a very cool idea, but is the concert video an hour-long Coke Zero ad? I don’t know…. I am a little curious about what might have happened if their amps had been at full blast in the Antarctic wild….
Here’s the full setlist, with timestamps, of the record-setting gig:
Creeping Death (1:25)
For Whom the Bell Tolls (7:47)
Sad But True (12:28)
Welcome Home (Sanitarium) (18:58)
Master of Puppets (25:58)
Nothing Else Matters (50:01)
Enter Sandman (55:06)
Seek & Destroy (1:02:20)
You too, like many a commenting fan, may feel betrayed by the lack of “Trapped Under Ice” in the setlist. Maybe too on-the-nose, they thought, too cute. But surely a missed opportunity that won’t come again. Fill in the gap yourself with the live take below.
Metallica Is Putting Free Concerts Online: 6 Now Streaming, with More to Come
Metallica’s Bassist Robert Trujillo Plays Metallica Songs Flamenco-Style, Joined by Rodrigo y Gabriela
Buddhist Monk Covers Metallica’s ”Enter Sandman,” Then Meditates
Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness
GWAR was there first!