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Français Pour une Nuit

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Critics' Reviews

amg review
Like Orgullo, Pasión y Gloria: Tres Noches en la Ciudad de México, Français Pour une Nuit is a regionally released live recording of Metallica on the supporting tour for their comeback album Death Magnetic (2008). It was filmed on the night of July 7, 2009, in Nîmes, France, at the Arena of Nîmes, a Roman amphitheater built around the time of the first century. The German metal band Rammstein recorded material for their Völkerball concert video here back in 2005, and it's likely that the Metallica team was impressed by what they saw on that DVD and hoped to replicate it. With a capacity of only 16,300 seats, the Arena of Nîmes is a relatively small venue for Metallica, and the band is indeed up close and personal with the audience. In comparison, Orgullo, Pasión y Gloria was filmed at the mammoth 50,000-seat Foro Sol stadium in Mexico City, Mexico. The picturesque setting of Français Pour une Nuit makes for striking visuals but not necessarily a spectacular concert. Metallica seem all too aware that they're staging a show. They're professional to a fault. One might blame this on old age. After all, Metallica are about two decades past their prime, and they've long been criticized for going soft and losing the spark they had back in the '80s. Yet Death Magnetic is a strong album, probably their best since their eponymous black album back in 1991, and Orgullo, Pasión y Gloria, filmed a month earlier over the course of three nights, finds them remarkably enthusiastic and fully inflamed. Even the best bands have off nights, and Metallica are far from their best on Français Pour une Nuit. They play a well-balanced if fairly standard set of material from their first five albums -- Kill 'Em All (1983), Ride the Lightning (1984), Master of Puppets (1986), ...And Justice for All (1988), and Metallica (1991) -- along with four songs from Death Magnetic and a cover of Queen's "Stone Cold Crazy." The problem is, they appear to be going through the motions, putting on a show for the camera rather than losing themselves in the music. Die-hard fans will still want to see Français Pour une Nuit, even if only for the striking visuals and the pro-shot editing, but there's no question that Orgullo, Pasión y Gloria is the more enjoyable release. ~ Jason Birchmeier, Rovi