Live In Concert – Metallica, RDS, 2003


Who saw this one coming? Yes, indeed I was a metal head. and when it comes to Metallica, I still am, having not missed a single gig they’ve played in Ireland since this one. It was my first time out on my own to a gig, first ticket I’d saved and saved for, first time making that conscious decision to go and see an artist I truly admired the shit out of. And it didn’t disappoint one bit. 

One thing that does disappoint me today from that gig however is that I didn’t appreciate Linkin Park. They were Nu Metal you see, disgracefully bringing DJs and turntables into proceedings when they had no place amongst grizzled rock. Dear lord the amount of great music the metal head tunnel vision caused me to miss out on is staggering. Linkin Park were unceremoniously booed away for most of their set, as were Lost Prophets though in hindsight that one makes me smile now, good riddance to bad rubbish. But Linkin Park were as good as they always were and to this day I still haven’t managed to rectify my mistake and go see them live with open eyes. Some day.

On then to the godfathers of metal themselves, Metallica were going through some tough times. There was James Hetfield’s much publicised stint in rehab, which the excellent documentary “Some Kind Of Monster” shows us was a far tougher time for him and the band than anyone truly realised. Also Jason Newsted had departed the group and after some bouncing around, including the pathetic attempt of Bob Rock to muscle into the band, Metallica had settled on coiled spring Rob Trujillo to fill the slot. This tour was his first time playing in his new family.

Thankfully, all of this turmoil didn’t hinder the gigs themselves and they took the stage on a perfect summer’s evening. I was 15 at the time, didn’t know myself. Moshing, smoking, possibly drinking. Coming of age at a rock gig is the only way to do it. Once “long Way To The Top” and “The Ecstasy Of Gold” were done, came one of the greatest opening notes of a gig possible, “Master Of Puppets”. Boom, let’s go! Stand outs for me were “For Whom The Bell Tolls”, “Seek & Destroy” and “One” and I can distinctly recall hearing “Nothing Else Matters” live for the first time particularly struck a chord with me. But it was of course a pretty safe gig, some cobwebs being brushed off and a new bassist being broken in meaning they weren’t going to stray too far from the beaten path. But a little stray into the “Garage Inc.” album wouldn’t have killed them. Yes, Metallica came to Dublin and didn’t play “Whiskey In The Jar”. I don’t think it bothered too many of the Metallica die hards there at the time, but for a 15 year old seeing them for the first time, it was a little shit now I have to say. I could think of more poetic phrasing there but I’m not going to. Thankfully they only made this mistake once and their sets in general copped on a little bit from there, but at the time walking out of the RDS after the “Enter Sandman” closer still hearing chants of “Whiskey, whiskey” still half stings today.

Next week’s Live In Concert (yes next week!) – Luka Bloom, The Helix, 2005

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Bachelors Degree in Arts from NUI Maynooth. Double Honours English & Philosophy.

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