Master(s) of Puppets
Fangirl Fridays – Metallica
This week, I am going to try to put my love for Metallica into words for you. It's tough. Given I am an avid fangirl and tend to not hold back in the face of something I love, some things are harder to explain than others. There's pretty much nothing I can tell you about this band that you can't find written more accurately (and better) on their site. No point in writing out facts about the band you already know or can google: members' names, album names, song names, how many grammys they've won, the Napster drama, Jason Newsted breaking our hearts by leaving and then joining Rockstar Supernova with Tommy Lee (REALLY?!).
So instead, I'm going to focus on trying to explain why the band means so much to me, and how much I love them for numerous reasons.
I've loved Metallica for as long as I can remember. For real. The band formed before I was born (like most of the best bands). And my introduction to Metallica was fairly boring. My brother used to listen to them around me; I was in 4th grade when he actively started making me listen to them, along with other stuff. Not everything made an impact like Metallica did, though.
From their early years:
To the Newsted years (which were my favorite):
I've always been totally obsessed with their music!
Fade to Black just sucked me right in. I was a goner. I barely understood everything James Hetfield was singing, but I was hooked. It's hard to put into words the way good music can move you. Leave every cell in your body vibrating with emotion. Your mind enters this weird (yet awesome) hypnotic state. And I swear, everything seems more intense and nothing else matters (ahem ahem). In the best possible way. Metallica has always made me feel that.
I think most people who know me know about my... um... fairly intense love of James Hetfield. With that voice, that laugh, that growl... sigh... can you blame me? Sexy motherfucker... I seriously cannot get over him.
I think the world should be happy he used his crazy awesome powers of Metal and his charisma for good, and not for evil. Because he would have a LOT of followers. Believe you me.
But the truth is, I seriously adore every single member of this band.
Amazing Kirk Hammet, who plays the guitar like he was born playing it, and makes me feel like I'm ascending to the heavens when I hear him play.
And he is THE sweetest, nicest guy. For real.
Fucking awesome Lars Ulrich, who looks like he has the time of his life EVERY time he's on stage.
Even after all these years.
Robert Trujillo, who ROCKS that bass guitar and that awesome hair like no one else.
I absolutely love his amazing energy on stage!
I'm part of the unfortunate generation that must live with the best bands either being long gone, not playing together anymore, or not performing live now. Like I always knew I was one of the unlucky people who would never see Led Zeppelin be fucking spectacular on stage, or never have Pink Floyd make me want to cry at a live performance, I also figured I'd never get to see one of the greatest bands on earth live either. It's just something a kid growing up in the Middle East is pretty sure about. A famous band from California that had been performing for more than 3 decades was not going to be coming over to Dubai to perform. (We get lots of pop acts, lots of famous hip hop performers, etc., but nothing I'd pay to watch.)
Or so I thought. More than 15 years down the line, in 2011, it finally happened: METALLICA WAS COMING TO THE UAE (to Abu Dhabi, specifically). How could it even be possible that I wouldn't go?! We (my sis, bff, and I) didn't get front-row tickets, but we didn't care. We just had to be there. And it was worth it.
Yes, I got pushed into a mosh pit, someone dropped warm beer on my fave comfy shoes, and it was pretty fucking hot and humid. But it was one of the best nights of my life. Listening to Metallica play live was better than pretty much anything I had ever felt in life prior to that moment. Did I tear up more than once? Yes. Did I have goosebumps when they started playing Fade to Black and Nothing Else Matters? Yes. Did I sing at the top of my lungs when they played Master of Puppets? Fuck yes! It was magical. It was amazing. It was everything I'd wished it would be and more.
It was a once-in-a-lifetime kinda night for me. Never thought it would happen again, but it did. They came back! A few short months ago, in 2013. And we saved up for fan-pit tickets. Let me tell you, it was worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY.
Some concerts are about the gimmicks, the special effects, the lights, the dancers, the performances... which is all fun. But then there are concerts that are purely about the music. This was one of them. It was worth saving up for, worth eating cereal and nothing else for the next few weeks. Worth the long drive and waiting in line 4 hours. Worth it all.
NOTHING between you and the stage... watching Metallica perform a few feet away from you. There is NO bigger rush. Great music does that, it makes you feel more alive than anything else. Just makes you FEEL. I had never felt as alive, as in love, as moved, as touched, as in tune with thousands of other people as I did that night. Kids, don't do drugs, do music, it is the ULTIMATE high. Adrenaline pumping through your veins, music drumming in your ears, NOTHING but the notes of the electric guitar in your mind. There is nothing that will absorb you as completely and enthrall you as seductively as good music.
Metallica played the audience like virtuosos. Thousands of people, hanging on their every move, every note, every word, every breath. We were the puppets, and they were, in those moments, the most amazing masters. Not all musicians can captivate enormous audiences like that. But they did, effortlessly.
Listening to them live just made my love for them more intense. James Hetfield is THE most awesome frontman ever. That man is spellbinding. And each and every one of us in the audience there would pretty much do anything he wanted us to do. Kirk Hammet is a guitar GOD. Watching those fingers run across his guitars is mesmerizing. Lars Ulrich's passion for his music is fucking contagious. And Robert Trujillo's powerful bass playing is truly impressive. Nothing equals listening to a band you love, live. And nothing will ever beat listening to songs like The Unforgiven, Enter Sandman, and Fade to Black live.... ever.
To top it all off, I have to add, the Metallica fans are pretty effing awesome too. I know James Hetfield brings up the Metallica family a lot, but man, you really understand that when you actually go to a concert. The Metallica family is the fucking best.
I surrendered a long time ago, James. And I have absolutely no regrets. Metallica fucking rocks.
* Gifs from tumblr.