25
Apr
13

The Heroes Of The Day

Metallica1Last night in the frontlines at the Bellville Velodrome, I fought a war. Powerchords thundered like mortar fire as thousands of us chanted the battlecries we knew so well in unison.

It was a beautiful thing to be a part of and I was in the thick of it, barely three metres from the front guardrail, close enough to feel the heat from the flames and smell the sulphur of the gunpowder.

And all the while the undisputed Gods of metal raged on, ripping their fretboards apart, kicking holes through the drumkit and feeding off the energy we threw at them like sweet nectar only to amplify it a thousand-fold and blast it right back at us.

Was the Metallica concert at the Velodrome last night awesome? Was it mind-blowing? Was it life-changing? Did it affirm what a fucking incredible band Metallica are and what an impossible act they are to follow? In a phrase I know James Hetfield himself would approve of, all I can say is FUCK YEAH.

 

 

I go to watch live bands for everything you don’t get on the album. I go for the energy they create onstage, I go to feel their presence, hear their banter and most importantly I go to try to understand what they are actually like as people because that’s the closest I know I’ll ever get to them.

The problem with approaching concerts in this way is I become hyper-critical of everything the band does. I go with huge expectations and in some instances I’m let down and what was once a favourite band gets thrown onto the gigantic trash heap of bands I used to like.

From the minute they got onstage last night until the minute they left to a deafening roar of applause, James, Lars, Kirk and Rob tore through a monster two and a half hour set of old and new material that left us so broken by the end they should have had wheelchairs ready to take us back to our cars.

 

 

They played all the old classics I posted yesterday – “Sanitarium”, “Master Of Puppets” and “Seek And Destroy” (that was their last song and holy fucking shit did they do it justice, the mosh pit was so intense I’m surprised I got out alive) plus new material off Death Magnetic and they played it with a shitload of heart.

That’s the thing about last night’s performance, the entire band put everything into it. They sweated blood onstage, grinning from ear to ear throughout. Metallica are professionals and they love what they do and that’s what made last night for me.

If you think about it, they’ve probably played these songs a thousand times, a hundred thousand times, a thousand thousand times. I wouldn’t even want to hear a song as many times as they’ve played some of their songs and yet they had so much fun doing it, they put so much energy into the performance that all their stuff felt fresh, like it could have been written three months ago not thirty years ago.

 

 

And James’ onstage banter was awesome. He’s a showman, a true performer and for a guy in his fifties he’s in pretty amazing shape, they all are. Except maybe Lars… but when you see what that guy does behind a drumkit, it’s no wonder he looks a little haggard.

Normal drummers sit behind a kit, plying their trade, meat and potatoes stuff. Lars fucking climbs into his drum kit, he’s a fucking animal behind that thing, limbs flailing, tongue out, landing drum fills like machinegun fire. What a total fucking badass.

 

 

It was an incredible concert – everything from the staging to the lighting to the sound and even the logistics (parking was piss easy, there was no cue for Golden Circle, getting drinks was a matter of 15 mins at the most) were world class.

The only tragedy of the entire thing is that Metallica themselves will never read this post, as much as I wish they could, as much as I wish I could explain to them how much it meant to me, and everyone else at the Velodrome, that they put so much heart into their performance last night and cared enough about their fans all the way at the bottom of Africa to come down here and put on the show they did.

I might have had my doubts in the past, but after last night’s performance I can say with unwavering conviction that Metallica truly are the heroes of the day.

-ST


5 Responses to “The Heroes Of The Day”


  1. 2 Jax
    April 26, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    I know what you’re saying – saw them at Download last year – they are so epic
    Thanks for the post and pics!

  2. 3 greg
    April 29, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    You nailed exactly how I felt after leaving FNB stadium JHB after the show ….

    Those men gave it all and then some more … amazing after so many years and by far the best concert I have ever seen …

    It made U2 seem like an insipid political show.

    Greg

  3. 4 Beth
    April 29, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Awesome review!! Exactly my thoughts. I went with my husband and to be honest wasn’t really looking forward to it (I’m not into heavy music) but I left as part of the Metallica family. What an incredible and inspiring performance from all of them. They make the “musicians” of today look like a bad bedtime story… Thanks to Metallica for THE undisputed BEST concert I have ever been to…

  4. 5 Leon
    May 10, 2013 at 11:39 am

    What a spot-on review man, I’ve waited 15 years to see these guys live and it was the best day of my life by a mile!!! It will, without a doubt, feel as though something is missing from my life the day they decide to retire. I hope they do stumble upon your post, on this one page you have made me relive the night I will never forget!!!


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