This is why they're the best...
After an hour's wait and two furious bottle fights later, Metallica finally take to the stage. This is what the other bands have been looking up to. Linkin Park's set last night was the 24-7 shop at 2am, but Metallica are 11am Christmas Eve- total gridlock; this time without shopping trolleys. Furious cheers rise up from the crowd…until they realise the stage is lacking a certain drummer. Hetfield explains that he’s in hospital and some of Metallica’s friends are going to help out. The Metallica main man speaks to the crowd like he’s a real person, unlike the appalling stage talk Chester Bennington farted less than 24 hours ago. Amongst so many other things, it’s this firmly-grounded attitude that make the crowd love James.
Dave Lombardo (Slayer), Joey Jordison (Slipknot) and Abruscato (Life Of Agony) and even Metallica’s drum tech, Flemming Larsen, join together to save the evening from further disaster. Each give a different feel to the songs they cover, but to be honest, anything is better for Metallica than sending their fans away disappointed and angry. They’ve worked too hard at building this kind of gathering to throw it away in one evening- a little thing like the founding member being in hospital due to a panic attack is nothing.
It’s obvious to all watching that it isn’t Lars playing, but the stand-ins do the best they possibly can- many a music fan walked back to the campsite talking of the astounding talent of Joey Jordison.
The set, mainly composed of old favourites, is well constructed under the circumstances but it lacks the usual variation found in a Metallica set. Their time onstage is also limited for Download can only play music at the ear smashing volume needed to appreciate Metallica until 11pm. Spoilsports. Enter Sandman, Nothing Else Matters and Sad But True all raise their (not so) ugly heads to induce mass singing from the fans assembled on the slopes around the stage. It’s a beautiful sight to behold as the rain starts to pour down. Instead of dampening spirits, it only adds to the atmosphere exploding off of the stage alongside the meaty guitars.
This is why Metallica deserve your respect. Even if you do not like their music, the fact that they get up and play without one of their members shows true dedication to their fans. Many a lesser band would have given up where this slick, oiled, professional monster of rock continued. Many an unsure would-be Metallica fan left thoroughly converted, certain that the next time they see Metallica, they’ll be bowled over by the force of all members present and correct.