Rod Laver Arena LP: Garage Days

"Helloooo Melbourne ... DID YOU MISS Metallica?"

bellowed the larger than life - lead vocal James Hetfield at exactly 21.18 in the Rod Laver Arena, last evening.

I dedicated my dissertation to each member of Metallica, and you can still find it in the UM deep blue webpage. This was a once in a life time opportunity, at least to a MET fan it really is. I had to borrow a visa card from my best mate to get the ticket, because for some odd reason ticketek does not accept mastercard (WTF ?). The tickets, all 16,000 of em were gone is less than effin 12 minutes.

As always, we started with 'Ecstasy of Gold', the cult Ennio Morricone classic that gives the boys enough time to get to stage in the dark, and grab the crowd by the scruff of our necks with either Sandman or another faster riffed ensemble next.

Its a metal concert, hence all the signs were there to see. 'Special' tobacco, rage inebriation, weird kids, head to toe tattood kids, downright jerks, silent ones, each word knowin-song recitin ones, screamin ones, runnin to the stage and gettin kicked out ones, headbangers and people holding hands during 'nothin' lovers ... welcome Home, this is OUR Sanitarium.

As we riffed through the classics, the visual themes inside the arena were elegantly dark, and frantic in transition. Not a lot of bands around the world can have 16,000 people, every single one of em screamin on top of their lungs all standing at once. The fireworks on stage were a sight as well: red fames, blue flames, green blames, hell doggon'it sometimes even pinky pink flames.

'We NEED some loud shit comin outta your mouth' .... YES, James. Loud shit it will be. He is an innate performer and entertainer that he had us eating out of his hands within the first ten minutes.

Lars was just being Lars, spillin beer all over the first row of the standin'there (magnetic strip or some shit like that, its called) section. Kirk as always was quiet, constantly riffin' spontaneously after each song. I really used to like Jason, for his no nonsense classic metal bass - at a steady pace. His bass solo for 'My Friend of Misery' is an absolute classic for a bass lover. But I do love Rob as well, he is pacier than Jason, and he is more funkier than Jason as well. But I digg his style too.

As we riffed through the religious classics: Bellz, Fade, Sad, One, Fuel, Sandman, Master and Nothin .... the candles inside Laver in pitch darkness during 'Nothin' were innately romantic, and people holding hands and kissin in the middle was poignant and shit. I love the 4-2 and 3-5 riffs of 4th and 5th in the opening of Sanitarium too.

"Moon is full never seems to change, they labeled me mentally deranged, I dream the same shit every night, I see my freedom in my sight ..."

Sad in many way represents the undertone of a strong metal ensemble. In many ways, Sad is like Clover: its very very drawn in. As in the each drum beat does not accentuate the riffs, but the drums sit back and let's us hear the riffs, sort of inward rather than outward, drawn in rather than explode ... 'Sad' more than 'Master'.

They are truly an ensemble, the drums, rhythm and lead riffs in concordance with James' 'blow through the effin roof' voice, and the bass sits picture perfect in between, as the under-stated, yet indispensable part of the ensemble, the very cornerstone on which a song is constructed upon.

"ARE YOU ALIVE ? How does it feel to be alive?"

Speed is only speed, when its juxtaposed next to somethin slow, you appreciate Fuel more when it precedes Nothin, in fact you appreciate both if the set list is put together properly (Thanks Lars). Another example is the slower yet hug'gorgeous interlude between the two frantic sides of Master.

I was a bit (infact, very) low in energy reserves (thanks to the long day in the lab), hence I had to sit down for a bit. I wish I had more energy, but I decided to wing it anyway, after all it will be years before I see the boys.

I could have done with Outlaw, Orion, Memory Remains, Harvester, bass doodle, Sleepzzzz or even Battery - but now am gettin greedy and shit.

As we asked for one more in the end, Jaymzz goes like, "OK, we will do one more if you promise to give us all the energy you got, no savin and shit for tomorrow ... and if you dont I WILL call you out, I'll embarrass you, so lets have a crowd lights on for me to check who aint singin" ...

With black balloons being floated through the crowd by the organizers - we screamed our tiny 'rest pleadin' lungs to recite every syllable of Seek and Destroy ...

"We like you when you sing man, I dont care if you effin can or cannot sing (much like me), just yell the words, we like to see some effin action goin on ..."

Adore the boys and James to come around towards each part of the podium after to see us, thank us and virtual man-hug us.

as you say, it was one crazy night with the boys, like the good ol' Garage Days. Thanks Boys.

--- Keep Rockin, Long John Silver

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