Who would have said that I’d see Metallica, for my first and only time, in India!
Metallica’s concert in Bangalore, India, was one of a kind in many many ways… here I go:
The days before: The Delhi concert on Friday 28th was supposed to be the band’s first, in India and perhaps the most memorable day in the story of rock and roll in this country. Unfortunately for the people in Delhi, the show was canceled minutes before the supposed kick off time.
The statement in Metallica’s website says that the organizers and the band’s management identified potential risks in the barricades and that safety of their fans was the first priority. Initially, they said the concert would be rescheduled for Saturday, but this was only to ease people a bit and avoid major chaos, which they evidently didn’t as fans carried on to destroy the stage. Then other sources say that organizers were not able to secure a permit for the event for Saturday with such short notice. I’m of course against violence, but in many ways, I do understand (not justify) their anger, they’ve been waiting for years!
The Crowd: Apart from loving someone that is long gone like the Beatles or Nirvana, I just can’t imagine being a fan of a rock band and never seen them live. Metallica has been playing for over 30 years and there were people at the concert that have literally waited for them for decades. Apart of course from the rich Indians that had traveled abroad and may have seen them somewhere, but I can assure you that those are the fewest cases. According to organizers, there were over 22,000 tickets sold, but I’m sure there were there at least 30,000 people.
The hours before the show: I’m just thinking in this kind of event it could be a good idea to let people know what time the show starts. How in the world it was not published on Metallica’s official website? I mean, I know I’m in India and things would rarely start on time, but at least give me a slight idea! I was with two Italian friends trying to use our
stupid western logic and I think we were lucky because we got on time after asking all our Indian friends who gave us all kinds of random answers (none of them accurate by the way, but I appreciate the effort).
In our native countries, or cities we have lived in you, can easily estimate the time to reach a place, including walking, taxi, traffic, or any kind of public transportation means. But there we were trying to be smart asses thinking we know anything about planning on going to a show that we don’t even know what time it starts, the traffic (with rain), and the distance to the venue. Hilarious!
The concert: If you like music, India might not be the best place to live in. I have been here eight months now and the “best” thing happening around here before Metallica was Bryan Adams… (sigh)… and I think at some point Enrique Iglesias… (shoot me in the head). So you can imagine that the concert was full of posers (like me) going to a concert that in other circumstances would have not gone, because I’m simply not a fan of metal in general. You can tell how many curious Metallica-ignorant attendants (like me) were there simply because the few times that you could hear people singing (apart from the die-hard fans in the front who evidently knew all of them) were song parts like “… and Nothing Else Matteeeeeers…” or “Seek anddddd, seek and Destroooy…”
I was a bit surprised to see the crowd very calm, not slamming, jamming, jumping, or things you normally do when you get a bit crazy at a concert (especially if you have waited for your favorite band for years). In a way, I was trying to find a logic for this and maybe they opted for behaving provided the chaos of Delhi a couple of days before. And also I think that they know very well that proper behavior can let authorities allow more concerts of this kind in the future. In this case, if my assumptions are correct, very very well done Bangalore. But wait, maybe that was because I forgot to mention a tiny tiny detail… they were not selling beer!
After Enter Sandman (perhaps the climax of the show) they played three encores (Am I Evil?, Battery, and Seek and Destroy). At this time of the show they were teasing to leave the stage and normally this is the time where ALL the crowd starts asking for more, then they come back, and the crowd cheers and there you go, a couple of more songs. Well, not here. The band was literally walking on the stage fooling around, like waiting for people to really turn on and ask for another song. I felt about it like the crowd being so satisfied that those 18 songs were already enough. In fact, I was looking at the last tour dates and they play in average 18 songs, but hey, this is India, the first concert in this country in history! I just think people could have asked for more and they would have been given it. Bangalore respected Metallica way too much…
Ultimately, as a non-metal fan, I have to say I was very satisfied because I rarely go to a concert with no expectations at all, this is why I think I enjoyed it a lot. I am also happy that people behaved because this might have been one of the largest concerts I have been to, and not forgetting the fact that it was open space, muddy, etc., and if things would have gone a little crazy it could have been really really dangerous. So that was it, a great experience to be part of a historic event and really wishing that all those people in India who love music can continue to enjoy their favorite bands and I hope Metallica sets an example for other western bands to decide to come and please their millions of fans in this country. Rock on India!
“Bangaloooooooooooore…” – James Hetfield, opening words, October 30th, Bangalore, India… EPIC!!!