Metallica landed in China to play two concerts, this was their first time here, and probably not the last one. The biggest thing they did during this first time for them in China was to sold out their concert in few minutes, confirming that this actually can happen in China with rock bands, the second biggest thing they did was to create enough talk around the shows to increase their presence in China much more. So my call is that their plan is to come back in less than a couple of years to play in Beijing. That if they are still alive and able to play metal, because for what I saw, Lars Ulrich celebration with himself after finishing each song, made me think that for him to play their songs is similar to climb running a very high hill under heavy heat, so even he is gladly surprised when he reaches to the top each time. They are not babies anymore…. Side note though, their shows when they were in their twenties must have been impressive.
Recently we have been getting closer to mainstream shows and artists, and as we get closer to them the most surprising thing has been to discover that the size actually does not matter when it comes to numbers of fans and zeroes in their bank accounts, the management around these bands and shows can be as faulty, or even more in some cases, than those we see behind the stages of the like of YuyinTang and Mao Livehouse. There is of course the China factor, that everything gets more chaotic here, so we might not be seeing the original order we’d get if we’d be in their countries of origin, but I kind of doubt it.
This time the show was due to a documentary that Metallica wanted to film in China, they usually do that, they do movies of their tours. For this one they connected with some film makers here in Shanghai, that connected with us to hook them with metal bands in China. I did all I could to be sure that we were not going to get involved at the end in a story of mistakes, but well, you know. So at the end I disappointed two bands I really like due to the chaos behind the scene. I did get to go to the concert though, we went with Ox early as we were still supposed to join backstage for interviews. Though we really did not know if we were going to interview the band, or we were going to be interviewed for the documentary. At that point we were kind of just enjoying the trip into the abyss of metal chaos. A very educational trip.
Ox is not a fan of metal, and not a fan of any music that is massively popular, he rejects the stupidity of masses. I respect that. I have a love for pop, and I do like metal, but Metallica has been out of my metal playlist since the 90s, when they cut their hair, and became biz guys. My metal bands are others. Anyway, of course who would say no to spend some time backstage with Metallica? Well, maybe Megadeath fundamentalists. Or the pope too. Well we where there, curiosity, you know, kills…
So of course more mistakes happened, and we also didn’t get the backstage experience, except for some few minutes there while the band was already playing, almost close to the end of the concert. Literally we saw the back of the stage and that was it. Then a couple of paranoid dudes came to question our presence and the kind ladies that could finally open the way for us to go backstage had to explain so much that it became a pretty uncomfortable moment. That thing that happens around bands in concert, that the people involved in the production of the shows become more paranoid than the guards of the Vatican’s bank, that thing I find it hilarious and ridiculous at the same time. Totally unrock really.
Anyway. We moved on and we ended up right on front of the stage for the last four songs. Including “Search And Destroy” that was probably the second top moment of the concert. The first one, I say was to hear thousands of metal lovers yelling for “Master Of Puppets,” and the police and security going nuts trying to get people to seat down and shut up. Really! Police and security were a bit out of their roles I’d say, totally silly move to try to get thousands of people to shut up in rock concert… he-lloooooo!? shouldn’t you know better mister policeman?
Another interesting moment of the concert came by Mr. Trujillo who went for a bass metal solo that could have been epic if he wouldn’t have made a couple of silly mistakes. James Hetfield said it to the crowd few minutes earlier, “well it’s confirmed, we are human,” that was at the beginning of another song, one of their new ones that I don’t know, when they wrongly counted to four to begin one that was in five. Anyway, still Trujillo’s solo was fun, and it did a good replacement for the classic drums solo that any metal show should have. I don’t think Metallica will have many more drums solos really.
Finally the top silliest moment of the concert was at the very end when after playing their last tune they went out to throw some specially Metallica-made drumsticks and picks. A western old dude got a drumstick at the same time than a young Chinese dude, and neither of them would let go of it, at all (see photos in the gallery below). Girlfriends in the middle, people around, you know, it’s China, AND in a metal show, so things were intense. Western dude’s girlfriend I thought was specially annoying. After several minutes of this silly dispute not giving signs to stop, a security guy of the band came to put order, and the way was rock paper scissors. Western old dude won it.