December 3, 2010

Best and Worst Experiences at a Metal Show

Brutal Tunes, Tr00 Metal Life

What turns a gig from a great night into a crappy one? For some people, it’s the price of beer at the bar. For others, it’s the sound quality, or the band’s stage presence, or the lack of pyro, or the crap lighting, or getting an elbow in the face, or not getting laid, or even just the general “vibe” of the place.

I’m all about the vibe. Some of the best shows I’ve been to (and indeed, the festivals in Europe) are my favorites simply because of the vibe. When the crowd’s on a feel-good buzz and the band is on fire, there’s nowhere I’d rather be then in the centre of it all, throwing my neck around.


This brings back memories. One of my first local metal gigs.

Some of my best memories of metal, and non-metal gigs:

Fighting for seven hours to be front row centre for Metallica at the Big Day Out in 2004. They played my 5 favorite songs first off, so I got to see “Creeping Death” and “Harvester of Sorrow” up close and personal before departing the pit due to possible fractured ribs.

Amon Amarth emerging from the mists at Wacken 2009, standing on the prow of their viking ship.

The “Blind Guardian Video Singalong” at Wacken 2009, where 10 000 metalheads stopped talking and started singing the “Bard’s Song” because the music video was playing on the big screen.

Wacken 2009

Wacken 2009. Wall to wall metalheads

In fact, pretty much the whole of Wacken 2009. Because the the vibe. Those who’ve been will understand.

Blind Guardian and Apocalyptica at Bloodstock 2009. Blind Guardian are an incredible live experience – the level of emotion and camaraderie in the crowd still gets me a little choked up :) Apocalpytica put on an INCREDIBLE show – can’t wait to see them at Wacken next year.


Apocalyptica, Bloodstock 2009

The first time I saw Iron Maiden, at Earl’s Court in London, on the Matter of Life and Death tour, where Bruce Dickenson got so angry because no one knew how to sing the Sooty and Sweep theme song.


Iron Maiden, Earls Court, Christmas 2006

Iron Maiden

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – 2005. Just the most incredible show I’ve ever witnessed. The man was born to be an entertainer. Also, he held my hand during “Messiah Ward”. And then afterwards, I met him, and gave him a hug, and he laughed at my joke. This still makes me giggle like a school girl.

Escaping a crazy System of a Down mosh pit in my younger days, only to discover my cellphone was missing. Having the nicest dude in the world find my cellphone, pick it up, ring my mum, who rung my friend and arranged a pick-up spot. This guy than found us in 40 000 people all trying to escape the venue to give me my cell back, and a hug, too. I am a lucky girl.

Being accosted by a drunk Norwegian in the unisex toilets at an Oslo metal club, who insisted I meet all his friends because he thought it was so awesome I came all the way from New Zealand “for the metal”.

Warbeast, Final Eve and Trial by Fire, 2006. The local gig that got be into metal in a big, big way. Where I met my friend Johnowar, who headbanged so hard he got his hair caught in the ceiling. Hearing the Warbeast song “Heavy Metal Sex Beast” (I still remember all the words) and for the first time EVER, discovering there were other kiwi’s who liked Manowar just as much as I did.

Zakk Wylde

A blurry picture of Zakk Wylde from 2007, just to prove I was there. At this particular show, he poured his beer over me. He later apologised, said I looked like I was thirsty.

Warbeast, Trial by Fire and some other bands, 2006. It was at this tiny music studio (yeah, in a music studio. Not sure why) off in West Auckland. TINY. The room was so hot, and it was just CHAOS. People flying everywhere. Utter madness. I hope photos somewhere, might be able to show you.

Flight of the Conchords, 2003. At our local comedy bar. This was before they went to America and made it big. They played the Frodo song, and a song called “Stana” which they don’t do any more but was all about a guy who’s name was an anagram for Satan … it was pretty metal.

Opeth, Ghost Reveries tour, 2006. One of the best shows in Auckland, ever. At the St. James (now condemned after a fire, but once the BEST venue in Auckland), with the perfect intimate atmosphere, perfect sound (a rarity) and just a beautiful show, a humble, approachable band super pleased to be here, and a laid back crowd of true metalheads.

Misfits, 2005. So much fun. My first ever stage dive. And it didn’t end in disaster.

Some of my least-favorite concert memories:

Being repeatedly punched in the face by a guy in the mosh pit of a Velvet Revolver gig, because I was apparently “pushing his girlfriend”.

HIM in 2006. I was the oldest person there by about ten years. I was right down the front, surrounded by whining teens (seriously, the things teens talk about today. I SWEAR I was never like that). An hour and a half between the opening band (Goodnight Nurse, a NZ act I don’t like, although they put on a good show) and Ville Valo finally deigning to appear on stage, where he proceeded to slump over the microphone and look incredibly bored. Also, has anyone ever noticed that EVERY HIM song sounds the same?

Iron Maiden most pit in Auckland, 2009. What was UP with that New Zealand? Do we REALLY have to slam-mosh to Maiden?



DIsgorge 2005 – got pummeled to death and partially trampled in pit. My fault for being there, but didn’t make it fun.

I’m sure there are plenty more, but I’ll hand it over to you. What are your best and worst memories from shows?

8 Comments on “Best and Worst Experiences at a Metal Show

Joshua Russell
January 1, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Best; Morbid Angel tripping on LSD

Worst; Vomiting

December 6, 2010 at 9:14 am

@Nellie: EWW that guy was probably there with the sole intention of grabbing the girls. Or maybe he had some HIM fetish. Either way: creepy.

@dschalek: Trashed bathrooms seem to be a constant in any show. Last month I wento to Paul McCartney’s show at a stadium, and I had to roll up my jeans just to step into the bathroom. And it was the ladies’ bathroom. I don’t want to imagine what the men’s room was like.

@Steff: Yay!! It would be awesome to read about your South American adventures! I might head for the European festivals in 2012, but who knows? Maybe I can drop by and say hi!

December 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm

I get pissed when the bands run over schedule, don’t start on time, etc. and you end up waiting until 1am for the headliner. On a weeknight. After sitting through 6+ shitty bands.

I get pissed when the bathrooms are trashed.

I get pissed at stupid people in general. Especially at shows.

December 4, 2010 at 2:46 am

You forgot THE OGRE at Motorhead! LEMMY, You must turn up your bass amplification system! Crushing us as he offered sound advice :P

December 3, 2010 at 1:59 pm

I was at that same HIM show, and trust me, you weren’t the oldest person there. The guy behind me with his humongous gut and grabby hands likely was.

That show was probably my least favourite too.

I went with my sister, who had never been to a concert before and the moment HIM came on, the crowd started to surge and my sister freaked out. I had no idea where she was going to end up, and we hadn’t discussed where we’d meet up if we got split up, so I had to follow her out of the crowd. As I was being pulled out over the barrier, some silly bitches decided that I was totally being pulled out so I could storm the stage and make out with Ville or something, so they started to lay into me. While the security guys were simultaneously trying to get me out and stop the freaky teenyboppers, I ended up getting slammed up against the rail, which both winded me and fractured a rib. Yes, I fractured a rib at a HIM show!

The best show I’ve been to was most definitely Devin Townsend back in March. I was absolutely knackered before the show had even begun because I somehow forgot that I have a chronic illness and, being from Hamilton, we thought it was a good idea to go and hang out at Rainbow’s End all day beforehand. But somehow, I managed to ignore all the pain and fatigue and it was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had. After the show, I was pretty convinced Dev had some kind of magical healing power because I KNEW I was absolutely shattered, but I didn’t feel it. I was dead to the world the following week, but it was well worth it. :)

December 3, 2010 at 12:35 pm

@Mr Polek – I can’t believe Maiden played Blood Brothers in 2010! That’s my favorite Maiden song EVER. I am insanely jealous.

You’ve had lots of good concert experiences. Whenever I go to Europe (or even the UK) I am so surprised at how laid back the crowds are. Everyone’s just chilling out, having a good time. Here, it’s more aggressive, which I don’t like because I have to stand further back, and then I can’t see. Looking so so so so forward to Wacken 2011.

@Altáriel – Aw, that clip is AWESOME. I want to come see a show in Argentina now (MIGHT be there in 2012, we shall see …) Seeing Martin Walkyier would have been incredible – I am also jealous of this. Skyclad are one of my favorite bands – I think they have the best lyrics out of any metal band.

After that HIM concert I’ve deliberately avoided shows I know would include a crowd of whiny teens. I blame Evanesence too. And My Chemical Romance. I would make an exception for the Rasmus though. Love those adorable Finnish boys.

December 3, 2010 at 9:29 am

Having Nick Cave hold your hand and then give you a hug must be one of the greatest things ever…
I agree that it’s the vibe that makes a concert special. The feeling that you’re not just seeing some dudes playing while some other dudes are standing there, but that you are a part of something amazing.

Some of my best experiences. All in Buenos Aires, for I still haven’t been able to hit the European festivals. Yet.

These two are pretty recent:

Rhapsody – FUCKING YESTERDAY – After 10 years I got to finally see them. I’m still having goosebumps. It is one of the first bands that really got to me, that made me feel I belonged somewhere. Too bad my sisters couldn’t come :(

Paul McCartney – last month – I’ve listened to the Beatles ever since I was born, for my dad is a huge fan. So it was amazing seeing him live after, well, all my life so far. The guy clearly enjoys what he does. And my dad was so thrilled! It was like he was 16 again. An my mum commented on how handsome sir Paul is even at his age.

Some others:

Martin Walkyier – 2009 – I love Skyclad. And when our local folk metallers Skiltron organized a special festival called Heathen Alliance, with several local folk metal and traditional folk acts and a special team up as main act consisting of the Skiltron musicians, Tuhatha de Danann’s Roger Vaz in violin and Martin Walkyier on vocals doing Skyclad songs. I arrived early and as soon as they opened the doors went straight to the front and stood there for 6 hours. It was priceless. I got a lot of great pics too. And a roadie handed me the setlist.

Nightwish – 2002 – My first concert by a foreign band. They sounded great by then. I was so happy to see them live. I never saw them again, thank Odin. I guess I would be very very disappointed.

Megadeth – 2008 – A very cathartic experience. I had just been through a very bad breakup. It is well known how much Megadeth loves Buenos Aires so they were on fire, as well as the crowd. Got pretty battered and some guy accidentally got his hand entangled in my hair and pulled it but hell, it was a great way to finally put all the hurt behind.

Avantasia – 2008 – An all stars band. Great crowd. It took days to erase the stupid smile off my face. I bought some posters after the concert and gave them away to my friends while calling myself the Poster Faerie. Many people thought I was stoned.

Dark Tranquillity – 2008 – The crowd started to sing to the band. We always do that and while Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Angra and the bands that have come here a few times pretty much expect that, these guys hadn’t been here before and they were so thrilled. Mikael Stanne asked if we had been rehearsing outside. I think this is the video or this (’tis blocked here, alas).

Also, I remember waiting for Dio last year, after what now became his last performance in Argentina. He was so kind. I couldn’t get a pic or an autograph but the image of the guy waving to the crowd and from such short distance will be in my mind forever. I also met Steve Morse the last time I went to see Deep Purple. He signed my ticket.

The worst…

Blind Guardian 2007 – I think I’ve mentioned this before: we were lining up at the gates when they announced us that the band was stranded in Brazil so the concert was canceled. I nearly cried. Honest.

Epica 2008 – I saw them 3 times already. The first two were great but this time there was a very bad factor: whiny teens! The band was a good as always, but somehow a great percentage of the audience consisted in silly teens that wanted to be in the front but without even being touched (I also encountered them in a Within Tempation concert. I blame Evanescence for this). It was sad when the band did, as they usually do, Death’s Crystal Mountain and most people were silently staring wondering what it was that they were playing.

Also, having to sit beside my ex for both Sonata Arctica and Iron Maiden, which were on the same week, and having broken up (badly) with the guy just a few days before. Serves me right for booking seats instead of the pit. The shows were awesome though.

And also, a recurrent thing every time Iron Maiden plays here. When they do The Trooper and Bruce waves the British flag some idiots start insulting him and his country, basing on the conflict between Argentina and England over the Malvinas islands. If you don’t like the guys because they’re British then don’t go see them. It is for people like that that our country is such a mess.

December 3, 2010 at 9:19 am

I love Metalshows! And I had both experiences at shows.

Most shows I was at where at Wacken.

Of course Wacken is allways one hell of a party. So maybe I count being at Wacken at the best experience linked to a metal show.

Another great experience was at a Onkel Tom (Soloproject of Tom Angelripper) Show. I was at a first row and got a bottle of beer from Mr. Angelrippe. Yet there was something greater: After I partyed for a couple of hours me and my friends went to the aftershow party and I was sooo thristy and ordered a cola. That was the best drink I had in my life.

Something pretty awesome was Wacken 2009 at In Flames. The fireworks after the show was soooo amazing! Never gonna forgett that.

And finally Wacken 2010 when Maiden played “Blood Brothers” and me and my friends all stood arm in arm an arm and sang loud as hell.

My worst experiences were:

At a concert people started thorwing rolls of toilet paper at the stage. And the band (Belphegor) got really pissed and everything was almost unenoyable.

And at the same concert (it was a little festival) a band called Haggard played. The soundpeople couldnt fix the sound so the soundcheck went about an hour. That sucked.

Probably my worst experince was at my first concert, where I lost my glasses and my keys and my purse. I found my glasses afterwards but they where smashed. After that I stoped wearing my glasses at shows. I do not see everything but thats better than getting them smashed.

At last I want to mention the whole violent-mosh-beating-others stuff. Thats the worst. I hate people in the pit that just are hurting other people. That sucks. I love myself a normal pit where people are jumping around and dancing pogo and everything. But violent pits just suck.

But most shows are pretty enjoyable.

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