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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?