Metallica. The band that first got me into listening heavy music. One of the bands that any ‘genre-specific’ person has heard, at least once. I first started listening with their hits, but slowly they got me very attached into their music. It all grew on to me, album by album. And being a citizen of Nepal, getting to watch them live was one of the last things I could have expected. But one summer evening when I log into facebook, there’s an invitation to like a page ‘Metallica Comes to India’!
At first I took it to be only a hoax. Dreams for the simple minded. But eventually, I checked their official website. They had indeed mentioned about touring India. Two concerts were scheduled- one in Delhi and one in Bangalore. In the beginning, I could get only slightly excited because I just couldn’t picture myself actually watching Hetfield playing live in front of me! It was too real to believe. But calming my emotions, I began finding out more about the concert and soon spoke to one of my friends on actually attending the concert. In a few days, we made our mind. We decided to go to Delhi. A guitar pedal was sold (Metallica being the band paid most tribute by it!). Tickets were booked. Heart was set. After some days, he said that our tickets were actually confirmed- Yes, I was actually about to see Metallica Live! I had my travel plans; I had the gig tickets, now all I needed to do was be there!!
The gig was scheduled to be on October 28 and we reached Delhi on October 27. The time passed by slowly, waiting, waiting for the clock to tick-tick-tick away faster and faster’¦.Finally, October 28, we reached the gate at 1:30 and already there were hundreds of people, just like me, waiting under the heated sun. To see them, Metallica, LIVE!! We entered the venue, scrambling against each other- hardly worrying to see who it was you were with or against. It was all push and go. A mad need. We entered the venue and there, in front us, was the stage, that big stage, where Metallica were actually about to perform!
We were not sure who the opening band was, nor how it was about to go, but none of that mattered now that we were going to see Metallica for sure. The gig was scheduled to start at 4:00, but half an hour past the schedule and still there were no signs of any bands opening. The audience was getting impatient. A feeling was growing amongst us. Due to the pressure from the crowd, the barrier on the left front broke. There was confusion. An announcement was made by the officials to the crowd to take a few steps back so that they could fix the barricade. ‘Take a step back if the program has to start’. The crowd did not oblige. People at every corner were getting restless. There was no sign of any music, even after an hour or two had passed after the scheduled time. Anxiety was growing. And then, things got worse.
A man went up to the stage and announced that ‘the gig that day had been postponed to the next day, Oct 29, at 4:00 pm in the same venue’. All around me, the news hit the crowd with a shock. I was at total disbelief. I could hardly know what was going on anymore. The visions came crashing to the ground. People climbed on to the stage, began hitting the speakers, damaging the monitors and other equipments. I kept staring, not knowing what to do. The expectation; it all came crashing down.
In the night, we slowly walked away from the venue; from the joys of hours past. There was little to be said. Later that night we came to know through the news channel that the gig has actually been cancelled. An official statement. Over time, I heard many things from people. Many say, and I partly agree, that it was poor management that caused this. Some say it was to be expected. For myself, I know I was not expecting this. Many things can be said, but I don’t think it is easy to write out those feelings. It isn’t easy to say how I still feel, to have to return without watching them, when at one point in time, I was only ten steps away from the stage. Ten steps away from where Hetfield would have made love to his guitar. Ten steps away from where they would be playing what I first regarded as good heavy music. The failure of the gig is also a national level embarrassment. That is what will happen if managers underestimate the crowd capacity for a band like Metallica.
From that guy who would have sang the songs word to word and remembered the day for his lifetime, I say, hats off to the Indian organizers, who were able to fool 30,000 people at a single time on a single day- which led October 28 to be the best day I never had.
This is what my friends and seniors had to say when they were disappointed like I was;
Puru Lama (Bassist who is not currently active) ‘So pissed off with those faggots who broke the security barricade. Those indian butt-heads really showed an Indian Attitude- arrogant, proudy and savage.
bottom line-dream shattered, sad, unhappy’
Monica Thapa (Runs a Montessori school in Pokhara)‘Bekar ma paisa kharcha. Cunning Indians have good ideas to make easy money’
Raul Regmi (Plays for a local Nepali underground band ‘Consequence’) ‘Never trust Indians! They can fool you anytime, anywhere!’
Nikita Tripathi (Student and a local gig-seeker) ‘It didn’t feel very good returning back after waiting two hours in the sun before they let us in, tugging into God-knows-whose t-shirts, getting in and out of the crowd with much effort, spending almost three hours inside the venue’
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Renasha Ghimire (Nepali student at a Punjab University) ‘ With all hopes shattered it’s ironic that I don’t want to remember what happened that day’.
Avishek K.C (Vocalist for Underside/E.quals/Lost Oblivion). ‘I couldn’t listen to my favourite band ever. What was going to be my happiest day ever turned out to be the saddest day ever’
And this is what Sujan Shrestha and Saleem Akthar, who were one of the organizers of the recent SUCCESSFULLY held ‘Silence Festival’ headlined by VADER, had to say when they returned with sad faces too.
‘It’s a shame for a team like DNA to have failed to manage such an event. 30,000 sad faces on a single day for a single cause-well, if that doesn’t make DNA one of the worst event organizing teams ever-what does?’