For many South Island Metallica fans, it was the concert of a life time – for me it was a dream come true. Christchurch crowds are hungry enough at the best of times, but when the most famous metal band in the world are in attendance they’re downright ravenous, as evidenced by the sea of black jeans and t-shirts surging in anticipation of finally seeing their heroes in the flesh. Ten years ago there would have been a lot more long hair and ripped denim, but while the fashion has changed and time’s added a few wrinkles here and there, Metallica’s spirit has not dulled with age.
Admittedly, going to a Metallica concert in 2010 prompts a reservation or two. Does James Hetfield’s voice still have what it takes? And will they play the old favourites such as One, Master of Puppets and the much loved (though not by me personally) Enter Sandman? As a devoted fan of 16 years I prepared myself for potential disappointment, however it soon became evident that there was no need for such trivial concerns. From the first note of That Was Just Your Life to the fading feedback at the end of Seek and Destroy, they played with all the heart one would have expected to see in the 1980s.
Though I would imagine early Metallica would never have thought it possible to put on such a spectacular light show. From the outset there were multicoloured lasers bursting from the stage that soon became a scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The pyrotechnics came as quite a pleasant surprise and with each burst of flame came a miniature heatwave, but the health and safety technicians must have greatly improved since 1992, for unlike then Hetfield did not suffer third degree burns.
Looking back at Metallica’s turbulent past, it is amazing that they are still together to perform. From band members leaving and a change in bass player every so often (no disrespect meant to Cliff Burton) to recovery from alcohol abuse and living with a psychiatrist, Metallica have paid their dues in more ways than one. Though three-quarters of the band are turning fifty in a year or two, you could see their inner child having the time of their lives kicking around black beach balls (with Metallica imprinted in white on the side) into the audience. Thankfully they neglected to play anything from the woeful St. Anger, but their decision to ignore Ride The Lightning was a bit of a misstep. Also, Death Magnetic’s The Judas Kiss did the band no favours in a rare low moment that resulted in much watch-checking. Still, these niggles had little effect on an awesome night of stone-cold classics (like those mentioned above), and for those of you who missed the chance to see Metallica, do not fear because they have vowed to return in two years, which is long enough to save up for that must-have ticket.
- Search the catalogue for Metallica stuff at Christchurch City Libraries – including books, DVDS, CDs and sheet music.