Location: Los Angeles, CA - United States [47 shows here]
Venue: The Wiltern [1 shows here]
Fan reviews: 1 - Add yours!
The Four Days of Insanity - 05/2008
Table of Contents
- Wednesday -- 05/14/08 -- The Wiltern
- Thursday -- 05/15/08 -- The Movers
- Friday -- 05/16/08 -- KFMA Day
- Saturday -- 05/17/08 -- KROQ Weenie Roast
- Saturday -- 05/18/08 -- The Move
- Closing Words
The Four Days of Insanity. The weekend I moved to Zurich. 4 days, packing, painting the house, 3 Metallica concerts, 2 states, 1 hour 20 minutes of sleep (total), and more.
I had planned to head to the KFMA Day show in Arizona as that was, when I planned these few weeks out two months prior, scheduled as the warm-up show for Metallica's European mini-tour (and also the only US show). I couldn't miss an opportunity to see such a show - especially with the chance they'd be playing some new stuff! I still hadn't seen New Song or Other New Song live!
About a week before the big move, a special benefit show for the Silverlake Music Conservatorium was announced, as well as the fact that Metallica would be headlining the KROQ Weenie Roast. The benefit show was in a tiny venue, and I couldn't miss the chance for such an intimate concert. I also couldn't miss the Weenie Roast with Metallica and The Offspring, another favorite of mine. So some last minute shuffling was in order.
I would start packing on Wednesday, then I would see the benefit show on Wednesday night. I would continue packing Wednesday night. Thursday the movers would come, Friday morning Josh and I would fly to Phoenix for KFMA Day, fly back the same night around 5am, get a few hours sleep, and I had friends coming at 11am on Saturday to help me paint my house. We'd paint the house until it was time to head out to the Weenie Roast (as late as possible to still catch The Offspring). We'd then kick everyone out, head to Weenie Roast, when we got back we'd stay up painting whatever wasn't painted, and then Sunday morning I'd drop off my motorcycle to my friend KC who had purchased it, and he'd give me a ride to the airport.
Easy, right? Talk about a tight schedule. I managed to pull off precisely that schedule, and I even managed to fit in a total of 1 hour 20 minutes of sleep in those 4 days!
Anyway, onto Wendesay...
I spent the majority of that day preparing for the movers, and then headed up to downtown LA for the show. This show was a very special one. This was a benefit concert for the Silverlake Music Conservatorium - a benefit put on by Flea.
I arrived and found parking for $12 (not bad for LA). Annoyingly, they made me park along a wall in a "hallway" part of the parking garage which I wasn't thrilled about. Ah well. I headed out, and noticed the line was down the block, around the corner and past the parking garage I had just walked out of. It was pretty much the same when I had seen Evanescence at this same theater 4 years ago. I headed towards the back of the line and passed my old Metalli-friend Michelle! I joined her in line, and we caught up while we waited for the doors to open. We both had floor tickets, so we'd be watching the show together.
When we got in, and the floor was small and divided into 3 sub-sections. The first two were quite full already and we found a spot in the front of the 3rd section.
Once we had a spot, I went to go purchase t-shirts for us. The shirts were really cool: soft form-fitting material with a really neat space-ship design.
The opening band was Scars on Broadway. Mediocre show, not that great songs in general.
This show was reminiscint of the Fillmore shows back in '03. The venue was small and intimate, Metallica was relaxed and having a lot of fun, and the crowd was incredibly stoked to be there.
Metallica was clearly excited to be playing again. Near the end of the show a pattern had seemingly emerged: they had played 2 songs from every one of their first 5 albums, plus Fuel, and then the last few songs were other old classics that broke the 2-per-album streak. One particular treat was ...And Justice For All which I don't think has been played in a very long time! I was very stoked about this. They busted this out amazingly well, and we had a ton of fun hearing it. During their final encore, Flea joined them on stage for his favorite Metallica song: Fight Fire With Fire. FFWF was a very very cool song to see as well.
The setlist. Well, first off, I think we were all hoping they'd play something new. After all they already played two new songs in Europe. What became of those songs on the final album is anyone's guess at this point; however Metallica just finished up in the studio - they have finished recording, they know the material - so I don't think it was an unreasonable hope. Sadly, we didn't get that. Ah well, in place of that, they whipped out some very cool oldies.
The setlist was very strong. It was a nearly constant assault on all the senses that left you exhausted but wanting more. Despite the song choices being very cool, you can't help but walk away with the realization that with the exception of one song, they completely ignored the entire second half of their carreer; nothing from after 1991 was played (except for, as I mentioned, Fuel). Now, I'm not of the mind that every album needs to have equal exposure on every tour, or even that every album even has to be represented on every tour. However, I think ignoring the recent half of your career is awkward and leaves something to be desired. In particular, as each new album comes out, a few songs from that album are chosen as new rotations into setlists. Over time, in theory, as an album is more seasoned, other of it's songs eventually make it into the setlist. With the exception of Dyers' Eve, which now has been played too, the rest of their early catalogue had long ago been played live. However, their recent albums still have songs that have never been played live, and yet instead of starting to get their more obscure songs hitting setlists, they were seemingly ignored.
Now, it was not clear to me at this point if this setlist structure would vary on this tour, or even if this was a basis for the upcoming tour - it could have just been a one-off. Certainly it's a hell of a strong set, and a great base setlist for a tour. So just to be clear, I don't think it was a bad setlist - I think it was great; but I would liked to have seen at least a few more post-1991 songs.
The show included a few minor technical glitches as one would expect at a warm up show: Kirk's guitar cut out briefly, and a few other bits. But all in all a terrific show!
Well, 2 more US warm-up shows to hopefully catch a new song!
I got home and started to pack.
I spent the entire night packing enough stuff to live off of for a few months, copying all the data I might need to my laptop, and generally preparing for my move and more specifically the movers. I didn't get any sleep that night - I was working until it was time to go get breakfast for the movers and coffee for myself (I'd already stocked the fridge with water and beer for them). The movers showed up on time and claimed they'd likely be done shortly after lunch. They didn't leave until almost 7pm. Fantastic guys though, who took great care with all of my Metallica memorabilia.
They finally finished, and I had nothing in my house. Josh and I grabbed some dinner and I worked trying to get stuff done online in preperation for the move all night.
Josh and I flew out at 10am and got to Tucson there around lunchtime. We rented a car and headed to the venue. KFMA, the local radio station and creator of the festival was playing tons of 'tallica, which was great as all we had was the radio. We got lunch at A&W before going to the venue since doors weren't set to open for a while yet. The venue was way off the main road. We followed signs to the venue for about 20 minutes after leaving the main road. We parked and were one of the first there, so we waited in the car for about 30 minutes, and then got in line. Perfect timing - lines were short, but within 15 minutes were unGodly long.
In line we met Becca - 12 yr. old girl Metallica fan - and her very cool dad. We chatted with them in line; she was very sassy and cool. She had the coolest skull & crossbone shoelaces. I always enjoy seeing young fans. Becca wasn't dragged there by her dad - she was very excited about her first Metallica concert (and indeed her first ever rock concert at all). They separated the lines into male and female lines, something they had a lot of trouble doing and that pissed a lot of people off and made various people lose their good spots. Fortunately, we were in roughly the right place and weren't affected much. We got into the venue and got a spot near the stage. We then headed off to get shirts and stuff. Josh got the Tucson shirt and I got the tour shirt and the red scary guy shirt. Josh even bought me one as a birthday present. I regret not getting the Tucson shirt, as it was unique to that show, but on well. We headed back and found Becca and her dad. During first band, as more people came, Becca got frustrated at not being able to see anything, so they eventually went to go stand elsewhere.
Josh and I left to get water a bit later, and then made our stand to get a good spot and fight to keep it. Flobots came on and were surprisingly good. Rather than a lead guitarist, they have a lead violinist. She was amazing. She would shred on her violin with distortion; it was amazing. I definitely have new respect for them. Before Scars on Broadway came out the crowd got insanely rough. Like too-tight-for-moshpit-so-we'll-just-keep-shoving-round-as-much-as-possible rough. There was a never-ending stream of people needing to get pulled out because they couldn't breathe due to the pressure. And there was no band onstage! About 1/3 way into the Scars on Broadway set Josh and I started moving back trying to find calmer ground. We were investing so much effort in staying alive we couldn't pay attention to the band. We certainly didn't want that during Metallica. Plus, it was painful and generally unpleasant for no aparent benefit. We found a spot that had significantly less... turbulence, and stayed. There was still plenty of shoving and work to stay standing, but you could handle it and still pay some attention to the band, and we were still relatively close to the front. There was no divider between the front of the crowd and the rest, unfortunately. We then ran into Metallica Mo, (Jeff Y. and Dan N.'s friend, for those of you know know them), and her friend. We chatted between Scars and Metallica. We then heard, "Long way to the top" and braced ourselves for the mighty Metallica.
I don't know what happened, but I've never been to a Metallica show where there was such a bad mix, and I've certainly never been to a Metallica show where such a horrifying abomination of sound was allowed to go on the whole night. The bass mix of most of the instruments (I suspect the master mix bass), was so high that every note Rob played, many of James' notes, and a handful of drum kicks would reverb horribly. To the point where it was so painful it was hard to enjoy the show. The majority of the people around us were complaining about it. The sad thing is Josh and I had noticed it during the sound check, but apprently the sound check guys didn't. I don't know if it was someone new or what, but it was awful. In addition to the mix, there were a handful of other small warm-up show issues. Technical glitches, missed enterances, etc. And I don't say that negatively, Metallica's shows are so perfect, that it adds a little character when you see the occasional mistake at the warm up shows. But the mix was frustrating.
Well enough complaining. Metallica pulled out The Unforgiven and Wherever I May Roam which were both spectacular. Justice was also played again. Once again, a very powerful set. A second post-91 song was added: The Memory Remains.
Disappointingly, nothing of the new album was played - again. Here's hoping tomorrow changes that!
The crowd stayed rough throughout the show, but we managed to stay standing. After the show, we said goodbye to Metallica Mo and her friend and headed back to the car.
We pulled out of the parking spot, went 20 feet and came to a stop. The entire place was gridlock. After a while, some people had found a small gate that was open and started going out that way - but most people were ignoring it. I got out of my car and yelled at the line to make a hole big enough to let us through. It still took 20 minutes to cut across two lanes because of people being assholes but as we got there security came buy to lock the gate - apparently you can't actually get out that way. Back in line, we turned off the engine and waited. After another 30 minutes of not moving, I got out and walked up to see what was going on. Mostly general stupidity. Wherever lines merged people were being stupid. Then at the edge of the parking lot people couldn't decided if they wanted to go left or right. I asked some guys near the front how long they'd been there, and they said 2 hours. I walked back to the car and arrived just as the line was starting to move a bit. I got up close and was able to follow a bus up a not-lane, cut in shortly before the front, and got out the gate and swung a right, back the way we'd come. It had been over two hours. After 3 or 4 minutes of driving, we hit stopped traffic again. It took us another 40 or so minutes to get up to the main street and find out the traffic was due mostly to people hitting the main street and not knowing which way they wanted to go. After three fucking hours we finally hit the main road. At this point we had to head to the airport, but were starving. We passed the first few highway stops and pulled over at one that had a Jack In The Box - we were starving and wanted to get gas. The drive-thru line wasn't long - about 6 cars, so we jumped in line after filling the tank. I have no idea why but it took another 20 fucking minutes to get through that tiny line. It's like the entirety of Phoenix is fucking retarded. No offense.
Finally with food in hand, we flew to the airport in about 10 minutes, returned the car, and headed in. The airport wasn't open for checkin yet, so we sat in the lobby and ate our dinner/breakfast - it was little before 4am. At 4 the airport opened for checkin, and we got in line behind a guy at self-checkin. Sadly, he was ill-equipped to deal with the machine and it took him 10 minutes to get his tickets. Finally we checked in, breezed through security, and headed to the gate. Once we were boarded, the flight home was quick. We caught a cab back to my house and I prepared for painting the house while Josh got some sleep.
I did a little prep work, and a few people called me. I slept on a floor ontop of a blanket Josh lent me - there was nothing in my apartment other than my suitecases and my laptop, and a few bits of food and stuff. It's quite difficult to sleep this way, and I caught only about an hour of sleep. At 10 I got up heading into my third day on only an hour of sleep. I headed out to pick up some beer for my friends who would be helping me paint, and do a few other needed errands. My friend John showed up to help me prep around 11 - he was the one in charge today being the experienced builder/repairer/carpenter/painter of the group. Josh also showed up. The three of us started taping down plastic, taping things, taking the faceplates off of the outlets and switches, etc. Around noon people showed up as planned to paint and I took lunch orders and headed out to buy people food and drink. I got back, delivered the food, and found new people, so I did another lunch run. I got back and finished patching a few holes left in the walls, and then started painting a bit. I actually did very little painting that day and I made it my goal to make sure everyone who was helping was fed, had beer and was generally happy. This seemed like a better use of my time, but anytime such services weren't needed I picked up a brush or roller and helped. Various phone calls, and paper work also took much of my time - but everyone was very helpful and understanding. Around 6 it was time to kick everyone out and head to the Weenie Roast. We said thanks to everyone and then quickly changed. Mid-changing, my friends Bill and Cheryl showed up from Santa Barbara to help paint. We thanked them for their effort, explained we were heading out, said goodbye and jumped in the car. At this point we were running a bit later than we'd hoped for (I had forgotten to take into account the time it would take to thank everyone, get them out, and then change).
When we got there, we found out that they had a rotating stage, so while one band was playing on the front half of the stage, they'd setup for the next band on the back half of the stage. Then they'd just rotate the stage 180 degrees. As such, there was much less time between bands, so they could afford to make everything later. This turned out to be fantastic, because we got to see the entirety of The Offspring.
As always, they put on a fantastic show. They really had a ton of energy and movement and we really enjoyed them. They played 2 songs off their upcoming album. To be fair, one of them is an already-release single from the ablum, but the other one isn't released. Would Metallica take this as a cue? We sure hoped so.
Metallica hit the stage the earliest yet: 9:20, only 5 minutes late. Their set was generally similar to the Westlake Benefit show and KFMA Day - concentrated on the first half of their career.
However, we did get a few cool surprises like Harvest of Sorrow and So What! The energy tonight was unbelievable - both from the band and the audience. The band was as tight as I've seen them, and incredibly excited to be at the Weenie Roast. Possibly the best "normal" show (i.e. not S&M, etc.) I've ever seen. I headbanged harder than I think I've done since my first Metallica show. Just an awesome show!
Quite disappointingly, however, they still didn't play any new songs. With Europe having had a taste of the new album many months prior and Lars saying "If we don't play a new song on this tour I give the fans permission to slap me" (I'm paraphrasing), we had really expected a new song at at least one of these shows. KROQ was very special as well, since they hadn't played it in 10 years. But alas, nothing new. Despite that though, as I said, it was a mind-blowing show.
We got home, and continued painting. Unfortunately, there are no lights in my living room (when I lived there I'd hung track lighting, but that had been packed by the movers). Since that was where most of the unfinished painting was, it was rather difficult.
Around 5am, John came back over to help us finish. We finished somewhere around 8:30am, I then got 20 minutes of sleep on Josh's couch before running a few last minute errands, and then dropping off my bike at KC's garage and getting a ride to the airport. I knew that getting sleep on the plane would end up causing severe jetlag, so I stayed up most of the flight. I caught a few small incriments of sleep here and there that probably added up to about an hour.
I got to Zurich late, and due to lost luggage, got out of security much later than that. My relo coordinator was actually thinking she missed me since I hadn't come out yet. I finally got out, and Sabine (my relo coordinator) brought me to pick up the key to my temporary apartment, showed me where to buy a few things I needed, and dropped me off. I got dinner, a few power adapters, checked my email and crashed for 14 hours.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of my friends who made those last 4 days possible. Many people threw away their Saturday to help me paint my house. John also added several hours Sunday morning. Josh took off a lot of time to help with not only the painting but countless other things, and also trecked around to Metallica shows with me and lost a lot of sleep. I could not survived those 4 days without the help of each and every one of my friends who helped out. You all know who you are. Thank you.
You may be thinking, "Well, Phil, if you hadn't have gone to 3 Metallica concerts in the middle of your move, it would have been much easier!" The truth is those concerts kept me sane through a very stressful 4 days, even if they did add to the stress in the end. They were much needed breaks and stress relief. I also couldn't have forgiven myself for missing some very special shows that were right next door. So, no, it wouldn't have made it any easier.
Thanks again to everyone who made that weekend possible.