As a music lover, I get thrilled whenever I have concert tickets in my hand. But those feelings come about months before the concert; I get so excited that I set countdowns on my phone, I listen to nothing but the artist that I’m going to see, and I tell everyone about it, whether they care or not. I have had many great concert experiences; so many, that I even have a list of the best ones that I’ve seen and ones that I need to see. However, my best concert experience to date was one that took place on November 14, 2009. My mom and I had been looking out for shows that we could go to together (it’s one of the many things me and my mom connect over). When we first found out about this particular show, we went berserk and my mom got them immediately, thus creating one of the best weekends of my entire life. This is the small story of the best concert of my life: Metallica at Madison Square Garden.
When we first got to the venue, you could see the Metallica faithful outside the arena in great fashion. Young and old alike displayed their love for the band showcasing their knowledge of all their great albums and past experiences seeing them live. I was amazed; at just 13, I was exposed to what a true fan base was, and I’ll touch on that more later. We enter the arena and get to our seats, which, hilariously, were in a handicap section. My mom and I chuckled about it, but overall were pleased with the view we had. The stage was at the center of the floor, making enough room for the pit of people who would jumping and moshing all night long. There were light fixtures above that looked like coffins, as a way to promote their new album, Death Magnetic, which has a coffin on the cover. These fixtures would move up and down, left and right throughout the night creating an amazing spectacle. A platform in the very center of the stage spun was triggered to rotate as a way for drummer Lars Ulrich to see everyone and connect with the crowd.
The first two opening bands’ sounds offset each other; Volbeat, from Denmark, had a very calming heavy metal/hard rock sound which I very much enjoyed (they even did a cover of a Johnny Cash song). Lamb of God, however, was strictly heavy metal; they had long, black hair and screamed into the mic. I thought the drummer was gonna fall off the stage because of how hard he was banging on the drums. My mother showed her affection for the band by leaving during their set to go to the bathroom, as did I.
Finally, the whole arena knew that the time was about to arrive. Some of the designated stage crew members took their places by climbing rope ladders to get in their positions. Their jobs were to manage the laser lights and pyrotechnics to create an organized show that would make everyone leave the concert amazed and sad that it was over. At least, that’s what I felt after it was over. The lights suddenly dimmed and the headlining band’s entrance music was played: “The Ecstasy of Gold” from the movie The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The four men hit the stage with a bang and took no hesitation into starting the show. Their first two songs were new and then continued to play their classics. As I was watching, I couldn’t seem to grasp on to a very noticeable, but amazing factor to why this band is so great: at the age that all four of the men were at, they still had the energy to put on a show for all their fans every single night and connect with their fans on an emotional level. A lot of artists today have a love/hate relationship with their fans and often receive criticism for treating them like they don’t mean anything. Metallica, I’ve noticed, makes sure that all the fans get involved. Because if not for the many, long years of support ever since their formation in ’81, they would never been able to play on this type of venue, or even headline huge events and festivals. It’s because of the fans that they show their appreciation and gratitude every show.
This is why Metallica is not only my best concert to date, but it’s why they are my favorite band. When I heard they were going to play at the Grammy’s a couple years ago, I was afraid for them; because of the direction that music is headed in these days, I feared that they wouldn’t be appreciated by today’s audience. In this generation, it seems that true musicianship, the ability to play instruments, and the skill to write songs on your own is often overlooked. Beyonce, who also performed at that year’s Grammy’s, can sing and perform a song that she wrote with the help of five people, which includes repeated lines and lyrics that don’t have a deeper meaning to them. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe that Beyonce is talented in a certain aspect, but compared to Freddie Mercury, the late, great leader of Queen, he wrote the timeless “Bohemian Rhapsody” by himself. There’s a huge difference between true musicianship and being an entertainer. Metallica is a prime, modern-day example of why this should still matter to the world of music. I truly believe that the music industry should pay more attention to the ones who spend hours of practice mastering their respective crafts and creating a familiar sound to a new generation of listeners.