They needn't prove their 'metal'!
It might have rained the night as Metallica rocked Bangalore, but that did nothing whatsoever to dampen the enthusiasm of the 20,000 fans who had gathered at the Palace Grounds to watch them perform.
After all, most hardcore heavy metal fans grow up feeding on Metallica— and considering the fact that this was the first time the musical legends were playing to an Indian audience, the inconvenience of the brief shower paled in comparison to the excitement in the air.
Hoards of black T-shirted fans began to crowd around the concert venue on Sunday morning itself. By 3 pm, the short stretch between the Gayatri Vihar Gate to the first barricade erected by the organisers was crammed with people of all age groups, freely passing around cigarettes and cold-drink bottles spiked with alcohol.
Although it took close to two hours to get past the barricade, the crowd was unusually patient. The example of Metallica’s Delhi debacle was clearly on everyone’s mind, since hushed whispers of, “Don’t push! They might cancel it!” were floating about.
The atmosphere around the stage area was nothing short of electrifying. The anticipation of the crowd was clearly visible, since every sound check had the audience roaring with delight. The opening acts of the evening – performances by Delhi-based band ‘Guillotine’, Bangalore’s death/thrash metal rockers ‘Inner Sanctum’ and ‘Biffy Clyro’, only amplified this excitement. While the audience cheered their performances, it was obvious that everyone was simply waiting for the main act – the air was rife with screams of “Bring on Metallica!”.
Because of the rain, there was a forty-five-minute interlude between the opening acts and Metallica’s actual appearance on stage. The fans, however, managed to keep themselves occupied with the food, the tattooing stall, the bar — for those in the VIP area — and also due to the fact that despite some perfunctory frisking, copious amounts of marijuana had been smuggled into the venue.
The issue of crowd management was clearly on the minds of the organisers, since Metallica actually refused to start playing until the audience was settled. In fact, a band representative was deputed to calm down the crowd and have them step away from the barricade around the stage. The wait, however, was clearly worth it.
The minute the heavy metal legends stepped on stage, a roar passed through the audience. It ripped right into their electrifying number ‘Creeping Death’, and then ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ and the all-time favourite, ‘Fuel’.
At one point, vocalist James Hetfield screamed out, “Metallica is with you, Bangalore!’, and the crowd went wild. Ashwin, a sales professional who was at the concert, admitted to be apprehensive about the evening after reading about the fiasco in Delhi. “I really did fear if Metallica would perform, until I saw them on stage.
Their show was mind-blowing, and was just the way I imagined it to be, with the right playlist,” he said. However, he added, “I do wish, though, that ‘Rock n’ India’ was more the way it was two years back, when Iron Maiden came to Bangalore. The event is no more like a ‘festival’.”