Monday, January 12, 2009

Been a while since...

I first saw Metallica play at Alpine Valley in 1988. They were part of the Monsters of Rock tour that included Kindom Come, Dokken, the Scorpions and headliner Van Halen. At the time I was just a bit familiar with the music, having heard Master of Puppets in a friend's room of South Scott Hall at UW-Oshkosh. I also was familiar with Fade to Black. My sister was playing it that summer as well. I was most interested in seeing the Scorps and Van Halen. But it would be Metallica who would steal the show.

I distinctly remember the scene. Late afternoon, sitting on the hill. Lots of young people around wearing their brand new Van Halen shirts. The sun was hot and would soon take its toll on those who did not drink enough water. Metallica hit the stage and started playing. It wasn't a big reaction at first but as they went on, a buzz came rose from the crowd of over 40,000. You could feel the energy building as the set went on.

It all blew up when the cranked into Master of Puppets. It was like a volcano. Molten lave collecting under the earth's crust and rising towards the surface, eventually exploding into the air above. Though it was lava in the air that day at Alpine Vally. It was 40,000 fists in the air, thrusting with every chord. It was the chants of Master, Master! It was the moshing all over the place as the band won the crowd over and people were eating it up.

As the place was going nuts, I noticed two kids to the left of me. Maybe 12 or 13 years old. They were displaying their brand new black Van Halen shirts proudly minutes ago. Now they just stood there, mouths gaping open in awe as the crowd went bonkers. They did not know what to make of it. They were frozen in time as the spectacle before them.

I would see Metallica the next spring on the And Justice for All tour in Green Bay with Queensryche as an opener. Then it would be a couple years later at Milwaukee's Summerfest. Instead of Master it would be chants of Die, Die, Die! during Creeping Death (which I have seen may not be on the set list. It damn well better be played tonight!).

Ironically I caught them the last time they came to town a couple years back with Sevendust and Kid Rock on a day just like today. Cold with 2-4 inches of snow expected. That show rocked. The forecast for tonight looks to be the same. Lazers, lights and enough loudness to rock your balls off.

I can't wait.

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