Set off at 12.30 and arrived in a multi-storey car park in Twickenham at 14.00. The car park appeared to be heaving. I thought I would be there in plenty of time and miss all the crowds. After lunch and a long time before the show starts, there should be space. Didn’t quite work out that way, there were masses of fans already in the streets. Parking was crazy, cars driving round and round the car park looking for space. Struck lucky, a woman had arrived at her car with her Waitrose shopping. Grabbed the spot.
Walking to the arena there were crowds of Metalheads walking in the opposite direction. Had to check google maps to see I was heading the correct way. I think these fans had arrived by train and were heading into the centre of Twickenham for a pre-festival drink.
The walk to the stadium was 15 minutes and I arrived in time to check in for my free poster, T-shirt, beer and buffet lunch. There was also a Metallica exhibition and museum containing mementoes from their tours and the original handwritten pages with lyrics of their old songs. The buffet lunch was excellent with shredded pork and beef, vegetables and other accompaniments. Whilst there I spoke with another fan, he was Norwegian and had lived here for seven years. He had seen the same Metallica show recently in Norway. ((Slightly bemused (irate?) R says at the price I paid, I cannot call anything “free”.)
Time to get out on to the pitch. We had a 15-minute start on general entry. I did dither a bit, and when I entered the arena, (you were led through the back stage area by security staff), I saw there were people already on the crowd barriers. The Gold Circle is huge, so if you were late in you could still be miles from the front. In any case, I had only a couple of people in front of me, which ended up as one when Metallica came on.
The sound in the arena was poor, huge echoes everywhere. Whenever the band members spoke, it was nearly impossible to hear what they said, their voice being drowned out by the arena echoes. This was even at the front where we were near to the speakers. What it was like for the rest, I have no idea. Thankfully when music was being played was not noticeable.
Then on came Metallica at about 20.00, and they played until about 22.30. An excellent set. Some issues with the screens, their video screens let the background light through, and until it was dark there were poor images on the huge backgrounds. They used the stage to the maximum, moving out to the wings and up to the front. Lars, though remained hidden, because I was so close to the over 2-metre high stage and he was at the back of the stage. Even this was circumvented by him playing a set of drums which had magically appeared on the runway out at the front of the stage. So pictures of Lars were taken, but all from behind.
After finishing their final song, Enter the Sandman, they did their usual thank you and threw their plectrums and drum sticks into the crowds. So many plectrums, such that I was able to go away with one. Happy days!
Left the stadium, slow progress getting back to the car park with Whitton Road filled with people. Of course, the station platforms became full and this backed up onto the road. Thankfully the pedestrian management did allow me fast access to the car park. This is where it all now went wrong. Twenty minutes before I could pay for parking and another hour sitting in my car unable to move. Exit from the car park was slow, and of course, I was on the top floor, so all the floors underneath had to empty. When I did get out, the roads were empty except for the street where the car park was on. The traffic light lets four cars out onto the A305 at a time, and you then sat there watching no vehicles go by on the A305 for ages. Made it home just before 2.00am. The M25 was empty and no road works.
A quote from one of the music papers about Metallica crowds:
The security guys at Twickenham said the Metallica crowds were far easier and nicer to deal with than the Ascot crowds he was working with the previous day, confirming what we already knew – Metalheads are the best.
I think this sums up the culture of entitlement which pervades some of the events attended by the 1%.
- The Memory Remains
- Ride The Lightning
- Harvester Of Sorrow
- The Unforgiven
- Here Comes Revenge
- Moth Into Flame
- Sad But True
- No Leaf Clover followed by Kirk and Rob’s version of Killers
- Master Of Puppets
- For Whom The Bell Tolls
- Creeping Death
- Seek & Destroy 6. Lords Of Summer
- Nothing Else Matters
- Enter Sandman