A night of Metallica mayhem


American heavy metal band Metallica has the 30,000 fans, including Zaidi Isham Ismail, eating out of its hands at its recent concert

AFTER 32 years, 180 million albums sold worldwide from nine studio albums, thousands of concert tours playing to millions of fans, legendary heavy metal giant Metallica finally landed on our shores.

A long wait but it was worth every second. Sure enough, the American band rocked some 30,000 diehard fans at a sold-out one-night only performance at Stadium Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur recently. Anticipation was high as fans flocked to the stadium as early as 3pm and hooted at every roadie on stage doing the sound check and started to do the Mexican wave.

Slightly before 9pm, the crowd went berserk as the floodlights went out and the band started the show with its trademark film montage from Clint Eastwood’s 1966 spaghetti western The Good, The Bad And The Ugly and its accompanying soundtrack Ecstasy Of Gold by Ennio Morricone.

The euphoria reached feverish pitch when co-founder and drummer Lars Ulrich clambered behind his Tama drumset and raised his hands in a sign of solidarity to the legion of metal heads present.

The rest of the band members led by co-founder, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield, lead guitarist Kirk Hammet and bassist Robert Trujillo then opened with Hit The Lights, Fuel and perennial anthem Master Of Puppets.

“It took us 32 years but we are finally here. Thank you for having faith in us,” Hetfield told the crowd.

What followed in the next two hours were 19 uncompromising heavy metal onslaught by the Los Angeles band founded by Hetfield and Ulrich in 1981.

The band then blasted Harvester Of Sorrow, Fade To Black, Ride The Lightning, the lesser known Cyanide and the hauntingly beautiful Welcome Home (Sanitarium). The set then rumbled on with Sad But True, Orion and then took a breather as Metallica delivered One, a tribute to the Vietnam war veterans.

The tempo picked up again with For Whom The Bell Tolls and Blackened, before it slowed down to Nothing Else Matters and the crowd favourite, Enter Sandman.

The hoi polloi raised their hands in unison and pledged their camaraderie and screamed at the top of their heads when the Grammy award-winning band belted out Creeping Death and brought the house down to a close with Battery before playing the encore Seek And Destroy.

The fans sang along, headbanging to the chugging riffs and thundering drum beats, with Hetfield and co showing no signs of mellowing down even though they are all in their 50s.

Hammet and Trujillo also tugged the heartstrings when they held the Jalur Gemilang end to end and Ulrich wished Malaysians “Merdeka! Merdeka!”

It was indeed a trip down memory lane for the mostly over 30 crowd who grew up listening to Metallica.

Some were even moved to tears and couldn’t believe that the band was here, in the flesh.

Ever since its definitive first album Kill Em All in 1983, fans  knew that there was something about the band which played from its guts and had inspired countless other metal bands thereafter.

It was a night to remember for all the fans and certainly one of the best concerts ever to hit our shores as Metallica continue to make and strengthen its place as one the world’s top 100 rock metal bands of all time.

Metallica Live In Malaysia concert, part of Visit Malaysia 2014, was brought by the Galaxy Group, LAMC Productions and Rockstar Touring and opened by local band Cromok.

Hetfield and Hammet (right) performing Master Of Puppet. Pictures by NIK HARIFF HASSAN

Part of the massive crowd rocking to Metallica.

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