FINALLY!!! FINALLY!! I FINALLY GOT TO SEE METALLICA LIVE!!! I've been an admirer of the band's music for quite some time now and always wanted to see them in concert. However, due to a varying combination of time, place, and fundage I've never gotten to see them live and in person. I've watched their concerts on video/dvd and been astounded at the level of musicianship and energy they exhibited on stage. And I LOVE that they sound as good live (if not better at times) as they do on their studio releases. But of course, live video, no matter how good the recording, in not as good as live in person.
Now this journey to see Metallica live began way back in August 2008. While perusing these here internets I discovered that one of my favorite bands had a new album on the way and relatively soon, too! The awesomely titled 'Death Magnetic' was scheduled for a Sept. 12 release. The band has set up a separate webpage from their fansite for all things connected with this release. So I naturally signed up and actually pre-purchased the album (Which is awesome and which I blogged about here). I simultaneously bought tickets to the only show they were having in NY, Nassau Coliseum, since that was my current city of residence. Long ass wait as the show was January 29, 2009 but what's a few more months after YEARS, right? Anyways, I would periodically check the livemetallica.com page and also since I was signed up to the site I got the emails they sent every once in a while chronicling their new tour. As the time got closer I realized I need to find out where Nassau Coliseum is and how the hell I'm going to get there. Welllll, That shit is all the way out in Long Island! I live in the Bronx, so this is going to be a journey to get to the end of a journey for me. First natural thought was to take the LIRR (that's Long Island Rail Road for you slow people and non-New Yorkers). But checking the schedules let me know that while getting there would be no problem getting home might pose something of a problem as the last stop at the station nearest the coliseum would be before my concert would be over. SO, I figured what the hell, I'll rent a car. This is all about Nov/Dec some time. Fast forward to Jan 29.
Well, catching up on sleep, I wake up a little late so I can't get my hair braided before the show, SO, I'll be head bangin' with a HUGE afro tonight. Anyways, I head to JFK airport to pick up my rental car. Well, there is a slight glitch there and I almost don't get it but it gets resolved nicely and I'm on my way. I have pre-printed the directions so I go straight there with not a single mis-turn. I AM GOOD! Like I said, I started a little later than planned so I missed the first of the two opening acts, The Sword. I wasn't really that worried about catching them 'cause this was all about seeing Metallica, however there is a bit of curiosity about who they would choose to tour with. I did hear most of and catch some of the performance of the second band, Machine Head. They actually weren't that bad. Anyways, my ticket is general admission which means I'm on the floor around the stage, standing room only, which is where I wanted to be for my first Metallica show anyway. I was actually quite near the front, closer than I thought actually, but I'm getting ahead of myself. I arrive at the coliseum, get my ticket at will call, and enter the madness. Well, as anyone who has been to a concert can attest to, EVERYTHING is expensive as hell! $8.50 for a beer. I bought two shirts and a wristband, all for $90!!! But I went knowing how expensive it was going to be and prepared to spend money so I wasn't surprised but I still felt a slight twinge of DAMN!!! Since I slept the day away I was a bit famished as well so I got a cheeseburger for $6.50. About halfway through my burger I realized that Machine Head had stopped playing for a while now so I figured I need to get my ass down to the floor. First off, these assholes that run the place take the tickets and give you a wristband. A FUCKING wristband!! And not some cool wristband with METALLICA written on it, no. A generic ass green and white wristband like I'm entering some cheesy ass club and I need a sign that I'm old enough to order alcohol! I'm still upset about that if you can't tell. Anyways, I get down to the floor and begin inching my way through the thickening crowd to get as close to the stage as possible. I decide not to press too much and stake my little space and immediately to my left a fucking fight breaks out. Two big meathead white boys going at it. The slightly older one looks like hie used to be solid muscle that is now going to fat and the younger one was just kinda big with a big beergut. Anyway, they're mostly yelling back and forth when I notice them then out of nowhere a shorter white kid flies out of the crowd and clocks the older guy from slightly behind and to the side. Seems the younger guy has a crew with him. They tussle for a few but security comes down quick and breaks it up. They disperse. The meatheads find each other again. Beergut gives the older guy a quick two-piece to the mouth. Here we see blood, busted lip. More words back and forth. Security descends once again. Another dispersal. Beergut and his crew dissolve into the crowd. Older guy spots one of beergut's crew. Catches him by the throat and they go down swinging. Security bots back in effect. Another dispersal. No more drama. At least not on my side of the stage. Then the lights go down. And so it begins...
The lights go down and then we hear their standard introductory music, 'The Ecstacy of Gold, which they use before every show. It's a music piece by Ennio Morriconne, from the film, 'The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly' I believe. They opened straight into the first two tracks from Death Magnetic, the album they're touring for. These guys have a rather large catalog and they played songs from the first to the last albums. I was really happy because they actually played my very favorite song, 'The Thing That Should Not Be', which they don't play a lot live because it's long. However, it's heavy as hell, which they're known for, and I still remember my first mental images the first time I listened to this song. It's like listening to a fantasy short story. Pretty cool. Anyways, Metallica is excellent live!! Twice some kids tried to start a mosh pit like right behind where I was standing but they didn't take. I took mad pictures with my camera. Most of them are crap but I actually got a bunch of good shots of three of the guys. I did mention I was pretty close to the stage. But my digital camera is a regular home one not a pro so I obviously couldn't get a decent shot of Lars as his drum kit is right smack in the middle of the huge stage. They end the show with their crowd rouser, 'Seek and Destroy', in which the crowd chants/yells/screams at the top of their lungs, "SEEK AND DESTROY," for the chorus. Being the admirers and fans we were most of the crowd was singing along to every song during the whole show. Because I'd watched their concerts on dvd repeatedly and I was having so much fun the concert seemed short. It wasn't until I was home the next day that I realized the show was just over two hours. I had a great time.
Only one thing bothered me at the concert and it wasn't the band. Looking out at the crowd I had a bit of mild panic. A little atavistic fear at being in middle of a sea of white people. You can take this observation how you want but it's absolute truth, I was COMPLETELY surrounded by white people with a few, very few, non-white people, like myself, sprinkled around. This IS Long Island, NY but I'm sure most of the crowds at 99% of Metallica shows look like this one. It did not help my mind state that right next to me the whole show was this skinny tattooed white guy with a mad face on the WHOLE SHOW!!! He didn't sing along to a single song or smile the whole damn show! Actually, I think I caught him mumbling the lyrics to either 'Sad But True' or 'The Unforgiven' but that was it. He didn't jump up and down or nothing. Just stood in place focused on the stage. I had a glancing thought if he had any swastikas anywhere among the tattoos I couldn't see. That ain't prejudiced, that's just a conscious self preservative thought. I've read and heard accounts of people of African descent being harassed at rock shows just because, so I was a bit self conscious the whole time I was there. I had a good time but the history of the country I was born and raised in coupled with those stories, my mind couldn't ignore. I wasn't truly afraid or anything but...I ain't stupid either. If anything would have happened I would've been done. Groups tend to band together when trouble starts and I was greatly outnumbered! But obviously nothing happened.
Overall it was a great concert and I had a great time! I plan on seeing Metallica again whenever they tour anywhere near where I am. Hopefully, the next time I'll have someone to go with me. Here's some of the pics:
Robert killin' it!
The Four Horseman (I'm mad that James is decapitated in this shot.)
The Afro-ninja rockin' out.
I got some good shots. I'll have the rest on my Facebook and myspace pages.