Metallica are masters of metal wherever they may roam, including Vancouver

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 22, 1994

By Steve Newton

What better way to get primed for a Metallica gig than to take a four-hour cruise around the harbour with a smokin’ blues-rock band and 75 beer-crazed party animals? None, thought I, so I hopped on board the Boomtown at noon on Sunday (July 17) and we motored off towards Deep Cove, the sun peepin’ through the clouds, while Will “Smokey” Logg and the Flame Throwers laid down a rowdy Stevie Ray Vaughan-type vibe on the upper deck.

Just after we passed a flotilla of Japanese warships anchored in the harbour—a few folks shouted the obligatory “Tora! Tora! Tora!”—the rain came down, and I started wondering what kind of soaked, muddy mess T-Bird Stadium would be by the time I got there. The unstoppable Mr. Logg and his mates quickly transported their rain-spattered gear down to the bar level and carried on—they’d come all the way from Dallas, Texas, and weren’t about to be shut down by some liquid Canuck sunshine—and I was almost tempted by the band’s raucous sound to stay on board after we docked and forgo a soaking.

But I had a review to do, goddamnit!

“Sounds like really bad thunder,” said my Metallica-loving nephew, Jeff, as we trudged from the student parking lot towards Thunderbird Stadium. He wasn’t commenting on the inclement weather, though. The bad thunder was coming from California skate-thrashers Suicidal Tendencies, who were busy bringing their full-throttled noise to the throngs of backward-baseball-cap-‘n’-big-pants-wearing ‘boarders mashed into a steaming mess in front of the stage.

There was no refuge to be found in the stadium’s covered seating area, so we stood out in the field and shivered, until Jeff got the bright idea of spending $95 on Metallica T-shirts and tank tops to keep himself warm. Cool shirts, mind you. Lotsa skulls.

I became an expert at watching circles of young men play hacky-sack during the next little while, waiting for Candlebox to take the stage. Fellow Seattleites Alice in Chains had cancelled their appearance—due to illness, according to signs outside the gates—so the two warm-up acts that weren’t ill had to take up the slack. Candlebox vocalist Kevin Martin dedicated the band’s opening tune to its favourite band, Aerosmith, and another to Canadian and American Natives, “whose land we stole”.

“I do believe it stopped raining,” announced Martin early in the set, but that precipitous pause was followed shortly by an increased downpour. Since Martin couldn’t quite coax the sun from its cloudy lair, hardly anyone cheered for his band. Or maybe the audience just didn’t like the music. Beats me.

As if to spite Martin–and prove the power of the almighty Metallica–the sun appeared as soon as Candlebox was done, and the rain cut off for the rest of the night. The warm rays were greeted with enthusiastic cheers, which intensified when massive banners depicting screaming skulls were slung up at both sides of the stage. Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town” was snapped off the PA at 7:45 pm, replaced by a symphonic spaghetti-western score that hailed the arrival of the show’s main attraction. Fifteen minutes later, a football field-wide ocean of fist-throwing headbangers bounced as one to the wild strains of “Wherever I May Roam”.

Things were heating up. Hell had arrived.

Without a new album to promote, Metallica offered a retrospective look at its back catalogue, and as such its set didn’t have the cutting-edge feel of previous Vancouver gigs. And the fact that it took place mostly in daylight undercut the band’s normally thrilling light show. Still, the band was in typically fine musical form–it can play circles around most metal acts—and there was lotsa stuff to watch, like the incident during “Fade to Black” when one ballsy fan came running from the back of the stage and leapt into the crowd. That’s not so unusual at metal shows, but this particular stage diver was clutching one of the band’s guitars. A roadie jumped in after him, as did a blue-shirted security guy, but I couldn’t tell whether they ever recovered the prized instrument.

Another thing I’d never seen at a rock show before came during “Seek and Destroy”, when what looked like a door-sized chunk of plywood materialized in the seething mosh pit. When the helpful crowd held the board up flat, various nutty guys would scramble on top and dance a little jig before hopping off onto someone’s head—or else too many nutty guys would climb on at once and they’d all tip over like hapless swimmers on an upturned raft.

 

To hear the audio of my interviews with Metallica’s Lars Ulrich from 1985 and James Hetfield from 1986 subscribe to my Patreon page, where you can also eavesdrop on my uncut, one-on-one interviews with:

Steve Lynch of Autograph, 1985
Don Wilson of the Ventures, 1997
Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar, 1998
Trevor Rabin of Yes, 1984
Albert Lee, 1986
Yngwie Malmsteen, 1985
Robert Cray, 1996
Tony Carey, 1984
Ian Hunter, 1988
Kate Bush, 1985
Jeff Healey, 1988
Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, 1993
Colin Linden, 1993
Kenny Wayne Shepherd, 1995
Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues, 1986
Elliot Easton from the Cars, 1996
Wayne Kramer from the MC5, 2004
Bob Rock, 1992
Nick Gilder, 1985
Roy Buchanan, 1988
Klaus Meine of Scorpions, 1988
Jason Bonham, 1989
Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers, 1991
Joey Spampinato of NRBQ, 1985
Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers, 2003
Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash, 2003
Steve Kilbey of the Church, 1990
Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde, 1990
Dan McCafferty of Nazareth, 1984
Davy Knowles of Back Door Slam, 2007
Jimmy Barnes from Cold Chisel, 1986
Steve Stevens of Atomic Playboys, 1989
Billy Idol, 1984
Stuart Adamson of Big Country, 1993
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, 1992
Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule, 1998
John Bell of Widespread Panic, 1992
Robben Ford, 1993
Barry Hay of Golden Earring, 1984
Jason Isbell, 2007
Joe Satriani, 1990
Brad Delp of Boston, 1988
John Sykes of Blue Murder, 1989
Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, 1998
Alice Cooper, 1986
Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon, 1992
Myles Goodwyn of April Wine, 2001
John Mellencamp, 1999
Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 1999
Kenny Aronoff, 1999
Jon Bon Jovi, 1986
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1992
Little Steven, 1987
Stevie Salas, 1990
J.J. Cale, 2009
Joe Bonamassa, 2011
Rob Baker of the Tragically Hip, 1997
Tommy Emmanuel, 1994
John Petrucci of Dream Theater, 2010
Eric Johnson, 2001
Stu Hamm, 1991
Gene Simmons of Kiss, 1992
Ace Frehley from Kiss, 2008
David Lee Roth, 1994
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
John Mayall of the Bluesbreakers, 1988
Steve Vai, 1990
Tony Iommi of Heaven and Hell, 2007
Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1996
Geoff Tate of Queensryche, 1991
Rick Richards of the Georgia Satellites, 1988
Andy McCoy and Sam Yaffa of Hanoi Rocks, 1984
Steve Morse, 1991
Slash of Guns N’ Roses, 1994
Brian May from Queen, 1993
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1991
Jake E. Lee of Badlands, 1992
Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1997
John Fogerty, 1997
Joe Perry of Aerosmith, 1987
Rick Derringer, 1999
Robin Trower, 1990
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, 1994
Mick Ronson, 1988
Geddy Lee of Rush, 2002
Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult, 1997
Michael Schenker, 1992
Vince Neil of Motley Crue, 1991
Vinnie Paul of Pantera, 1992
Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, 1988
Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, 1989
Rob Halford of Judas Priest, 1984
Bill Henderson of Chilliwack, 1999
Paul Rodgers, 1997
R.L. Burnside, 1999
Guthrie Govan of the Aristocrats, 2015
Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe, 1985
Carlos Santana, 2011
Walter Trout, 2003
Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot, 1983
Tommy Aldridge, 2001
Donald “Duck” Dunn, 1985
Mark Farner of Grand Funk, 1991
Chris Robinson of Black Crowes, 1990
Jennifer Batten, 2002
Mike Fraser, 2014
Leo Kottke, 2002
Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, 2002
David Gogo, 1991
Booker T. Jones, 2016
Link Wray, 1997
James Reyne from Australian Crawl, 1988
Mike Rutherford of Genesis, 1983
Buddy Guy, 1991
Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers, 1990
Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers, 2016
Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1986
Lindsay Mitchell of Prism, 1988
Buddy Miles, 2001
Eddie Money, 1988
Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith, 1983
Gaye Delorme, 1990
Dave Murray of Iron Maiden, 1984
Graham Bonnet of Alcatrazz, 1984
Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, 2016
Doc Neeson of Angel City, 1985
Rik Emmett of Triumph, 1985
Sonny Landreth, 2016
Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders, 2016
Jeff Beck, 2001
Albert King, 1990
Johnny Ramone of the Ramones, 1992
Peter Frampton, 1987
Otis Rush, 1997
Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, 1989
Leslie West of Mountain, 2002
Steve Howe of Yes, 2017
Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, 1983
Uli Jon Roth, 2016
Poison Ivy of the Cramps, 1990
Greg Lake of ELP, 1992
Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson of AC/DC, 1983
Warren Zevon, 1992
Tal Wilkenfeld, 2016
Steve Clark of Def Leppard, 1988
Roy Buchanan, 1986
Gary Moore, 1984
Ronnie Montrose, 1994
Danny Gatton, 1993
Alex Lifeson of Rush, 1992
Ann Wilson of Heart, 1985
J.J. Cale, 1990
Yngwie Malmsteen, 2014
Chris Cornell, 2008
Long John Baldry, 1985
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
Kim Mitchell, 1984
Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers, 1994
Derek Trucks, 1998
Susan Tedeschi, 1998
Joe Satriani, 2018
B.B. King, 1984
Albert Collins, 1985
Ronnie James Dio, 1985
Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, 1984
Dick Dale, 2000
Greg Allman, 1998
Dickey Betts, 2001

….with hundreds more to come

 

One thought on “Metallica are masters of metal wherever they may roam, including Vancouver

  1. i was at that concert back stage all over the stadium.Even much music had filmed me and another person i knew and has all footage of that concert and will not release any info to me even though i have a legit reason for asking.That person they brought from the auidence to play i know but didnt know him then and has a very terrible illness.I would love to have any pics of that time to put a very big grin on his face

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