After being privileged to see my number 1 band of all time – Metallica – LIVE in Joburg for most likely the final time of my life, I feel compelled to share a few thoughts on the band, the show and preparation for these rare experiences. Metallica and metal fans will find this an easy read.
As a South Africa music fan, it’s really tough to constantly read about the number of massive tours and festivals taking place overseas. We are in the disadvantaged position whereby the Rand just does not permit the vast majority of us to see the bands we really wish we could. I read the line-ups for the upcoming festivals and quite literally feel sick. All things relative, I'm sure the overseas fans, while still appreciating live music, surely must see it as just another concert or festival. As a country starved of top acts, when the chance comes around you have to grab it with both hands and make sure you get that Golden Circle ticket.
I will give credit to Big Concerts for upping their game over the past couple years. I mean commercially, Bieber, Rihanna et al must cost a fortune to bring down here. But rock wise, acts like Linkin Park (who I thought were phenomenal, regardless of their latest albums sounding like proper commercial sell-out garbage), Coldplay, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kings of Leon have at least offered some kind of release.
However, when it was announced that without a doubt one of the major pioneers of heavy metal were making the trip to South Africa, my heart was filled with joy. Immediately after securing my golden circle ticket I left my preparation alone until about a month to go. Then the proper countdown began. Playing albums through from start to end, YouTubing live concerts, watching documentaries and making sure my car had enough albums for me to jam hard in the traffic.
Does this happen in foreign countries where people could be seeing their favourite bands for the 15th time? Again I assume the appreciation and enjoyment will (hopefully) always be there, but does that same intense preparation transpire?
So, after a long wait both beforehand and on the actual day, the time had arrived. The darkness transcended the stadium and all Metallica fans know that once The Ecstasy of Cold starts playing, the metal break will arrive soon.
For the record, the number of people voicing their “opinions” about them being “old” was very quickly demolished. From the moment they entered the stage right to the final riff from Seek and Destroy, you quickly realise why they have ripped it up for so many years, they truly are the whole package.
They rocked that stage so fucking hard. The power and intensity that radiated from the stage was palpable. The sound was so loud, but so damn crisp. Every note, every beat and riff could be heard. James’ voice was exactly as I’d hoped. Lars smashed those drums while Kirk shredded the guitars with his expected elegance and class. Rob showed me again why Metallica chose him to replace Jason, he is such a character, his personality shines through as he becomes one with his bass. The set-list was perfect, although I would have liked to hear Four Horsemen & Fuel, I cannot complain. Every other classic was heard, much to my satisfaction.
They are living Metal Gods. They have conquered the metal sphere and can still tear it up. They have one more album in them. I hope it will meet expectations, but no matter what, that concert just reaffirmed to me why they are my number 1 band of all time.
FUCK YEAH JAMES!!