24 November 2010

Heavy Metal Snow White and Beach Balls!

"my hearing has diminished or it could be I have too much earwax...Snow White did a backwards flip into the hands of a minder"

A couple of weeks ago I went with friends to the Acer Arena to see those loud and proud (and anti Napster) dudes that go by the collective name of 'Metallica'. Now I have seen them before on their last tour just after James Hetfield's well publicised rehab sessions.

Now I should say that I am not a huge fan of Metallica but certainly like some of their music and they do put on an awesome show. You always get 110% from them. I have also found them not to be as loud as you may think. Yes, they are loud, but I have heard louder groups. It could be that as I have got older my hearing has diminished (probably the case) or it could be I have too much earwax!!

You would have thought that these bad ass soldiers of metal would be snarling and growling all the time. Far from it, in fact. For the whole concert, until the end of it, there was not one swear word! not one 'fuck' or even a lame 'shit'. Maybe they are getting old too like me! Even Lars the drummer looks like a part time drummer who works during the day as a stockbroker!

The concert itself was great. There was a stage in the middle of the arena and the group, by and large, moved around a lot so that all four points of the arena got to see the group. There were some special effects - lasers and flames during the performance too.

Towards the end James Hetfield announced they were going to play a cover song of a group that strongly influenced Metallica when they were just starting out. Straight away my mind turned to Diamond Head and Blue Oyster Cult who were strong influences on them. I was, however, very wrong. The group in question was Queen and Metallica did a great version of 'Stone Cold Crazy'. Now I love the music of Queen but would not have thought that the camp theatrics of one Mr Mercury would not have influenced Metallica! This was the first of three surprises that night.

The second one happened towards the end of the concert. On the side of the stage was a young girl (probably 4 or 5 years old) dressed up as Snow White. She was wearing huge headphones - presumably to save hear tender hearing. For the life of me I could not imagine any of the Metallica crew having a daughter dressed as Snow White! Obviously it was one of their children. I could imagine a daughter of the band wearing a Gothic type outfit but not Snow White!

The final surprise happened during the second encore. From the (Pat) rafters of the arena hundreds of black beach balls were released onto the band and audience alike. There were beach balls everywhere!! Again, I don't really associate Metallica with beach balls. Maybe, a dead rat or something dark but not an item that you would take to the beach. To be fair to them the balls did have the Metallica logo on them.

In a perverse moment, one of the band kicked one of the beach balls off the stage and it hit Snow White fair and square in the face. David Beckham could not have done it better. Snow White did a backward flip into the hands of a minder. Within seconds tears were flowing as the little girl was rushed across the stage to the safety, one presumes, of her mother.

So there you have it. A great concert, a Queen cover version, Snow White and lots of beach balls. Have Metallica mellowed? Erm yes and no. They can still certainly rock with the best of them!