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Planning for New Years now made easier than planning for a wedding.

by Zonko

M-C.com survives METALLICA!

The money was supposed to be for the Black & Blue rave. I promised the ed.'s to check it out, dance all night long, shirtless, and rant about the event. Obviously I was lying. It's not that I didn't want to go to Black & Blue - I sure wish I went - but I was too broke to go both to the rave and the Metallica show. On the morning of October the 3rd, I was 100$ poorer and The Gillette Group and Metallica were 100$ richer. I knew that later that night anything could happen, including my getting kicked in the groin for no apparent reason.

It looked good though. At 11 in the morning, punk kids were already waiting in the floor line-up. That made me really happy; as a veteran of the punk / metal show scene. It's always fun to diss the teenagers at shows, call them wannabe's and laugh at their inexperience in the mosh pit. But hell do they have energy and giving it all they've got, create that necessary edge. This is especially valid for the kids who are not driven to the show from the suburbs by their mommies and daddies, but look like they spent the night at the corner of St-Denis and St-Catherine. As was the case for the people already waiting in line 8 hours before the show, I knew we were all going to be up for a good Metalli-night.

But why see the same band a third time, and at such an exuberant cost? You can call me a metal romantic or whatever (metalosexual, metalomaniac, El Metalrino, His Royal Metalness). The truth is that I have this romantic notion of the early 80ies San Francisco speed-metal scene, and every time I see Metallica live I relive that magical era, now long gone. Speed-metal is long dead, except for the rare occasion of a Metallica show; that is why I went to see them for a third time.

I was disguised for the occasion, wearing old running shoes, tight ripped jeans and a Slayer t-shirt (there was nothing I could do about the short hair, apart from wearing a wig, but I wasn't ready to go that far). There was more silicone at the concert than at Club Super Sexe, more mullets than at the Longeuil terminal and more spilt beer than at a Canadians game.

Godsmack put on an amazing opening act, the highlight of which was a long two-drum battle between drummer Shannon Larkin and singer Sully Erna. It is reassuring to see that heavy metal is still going strong in new incarnations, bands and styles, but here nonetheless.

Finally, Metallica assaulted the crowd with speed-metal gem Blackened as opener. Your writer-turned metal-head extraordinaire had to immediately join the festivities in the trash, much to the disdain of the older fans that were hoping for a quiet night with their adored Metallica. After about halfway into the show, the fervent energy peaked in the trenches (aka the trash, the pit) and didn't subside until the end. Fight Fire with Fire, Master, One, Dyers Eve and the traditional Seek and Destroy, which was the show's closer, awoke the speed-metal demons in me and many others.

During the slower songs, I had the opportunity to observe the crowd. Everyone, on the floor or sitting, older or younger, was going nuts. And I realized that Metallica Inc., the Some Kind of Commercial Monster that they have become, wasn't there to please just me and my rebellious fantasies and haven't become the aging sell-outs that they are often portrayed as; the Metallica guys have the opportunity and duty to loudly entertain a large and diverse crowd, and with the big arena show that was exactly what they were doing. I can't really expect them to play for only me and a bunch of other weirdoes in small venues like the Spectrum, and certainly no one can expect them to be playing the same kind of music as they were when they started. The times have changed, and so have the fans and the band; there is nothing worse than staleness in an artist anyways. And I respect their integrity, as they played songs from all their albums, including the more experimental Load and Reload; two heavily criticized albums that I admit I shamelessly enjoy.

Metallica is not new to gambles, yet they are still going strong, which can only be a good thing. When Ride the Lightning came out in 1984, many fans accused the band of going soft, and then in 1988, with their first video, One, another wave of selling-out accusations came flying. Yet One is probably the only video made in the eighties that looks decent and is still watchable to this day.

The show was great, the crowd generated tremendous intensity and the members of Metallica delivered. Maybe the band has become a miniature commercial empire, but as long as they give us nights of collective release though their live performances, I reply to all haters, in James Hetfield's words: "So fuckin' what."
all pics taken with phone-cam

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