Pictures below courtesy of www.metontour.com.
|Leeds Festival (22/08/03) – Meet ‘n’ Greet
I rise early, having had barely any sleep through excitement and nerves (well it has been over four years since the boys have toured anywhere near these shores), grab my shit together and head for Stamford (from Northampton) to meet up with Steve (Gillyboy) and his mate A-Star.
Once there it’s decided that A-Star will drive and Steve will navigate (I mean how hard could it be? The A1 takes you almost straight on to the Leeds site!!). After approximately twenty-five miles on the A1 it becomes apparent that we are heading in the wrong direction as signs for London keep whizzing by! We do a quick U-turn as I give my watch a nervous glance (I have to be at the Metclub booth to collect my pass several hours before Metallica hit the stage) and conclude we still have plenty of time. So I sit back and, as Leper Messiah reverberates around the car, relax. We get three-quarters of the way there and Steve decides to do a ticket check…I have mine…but Steve only has one for himself and A-Star! My heart sinks as we do another U-turn and head back for Stamford. After that every mile seems to take forever but we do finally arrive at Leeds after about six hours and I get my Meet ‘n’ Greet pass!!
I start chatting with a guy called Rishi who also won a pass while we wait outside two huge steel doors separating the arena from the backstage area. This is when I expected my nerves to kick in but they don’t and the weirdest thing was I was totally calm and under control the whole time. We all get told to line up against the steel fence at the bottom of the hill once the doors are opened and we get the “…no eating, drinking or smoking…stay in the line and they will come to you…” speech.
Before I know it Rob has come out and it making his way along the line shortly followed by Kirk who goes and starts at the other end. I was almost central in the line and Rob got to me first…all I can remember saying to him is would he mind signing the Master of Puppets album! But he seemed nice enough if not a little shy (I later thought maybe he’s a bit apprehensive about what some fans might say to him being the new boy and all).
Kirk was next I don’t know what made me come out with it but this is roughly the conversation:
Me: “Alright mate.” (I’m one of those annoying people that use “mate” excessively!)
Kirk: “Hi, how are you doing?”
Me: “Not bad, I was just wondering while you’re in the area and got a day off whether I could get some guitar lessons?!”
Kirk: “Ermm…(laughs)…well we are kinda in the middle of a tour right now so I’m a bit busy! (still laughing).”
Me: “Well I tell you what when you are over next we’ll have to meet up.”
Kirk: “Okay, we can do that I’ll have to give you a call!”
Me: “No. I’ll give you a call because I know what you’re like you’ll forget!”
Kirk: “No way man, I won’t forget, how could I?!”
With this Kirk walks off (I was starting to think I’d pissed him off), comes back with a handful of picks and sticks them in my hand!
Talking to Kirk I hadn’t noticed Lars and Jaymz making their way towards me from either side. Lars was pretty much like you see him in interviews, in your face and never stuck for something to say! Even though he seemed to think he was in Reading bless him!!
Jaymz was last (the main ‘tallica boy I wanted to meet) and was really down to earth. While he signed my albums I asked if he could draw the new scary guy for me but unfortunately he didn’t have time. However he did remember drawing one for Steve, when he met him in Germany earlier in the tour, and was quite impressed when I told him Steve had got it tattooed on.
So I didn’t do too bad…Master of Puppets, St. Anger x2 (one for my brother) signed, pictures with them all and a handful of picks…what else could be better? Of course seeing them rip Leeds apart later that day!!
Leeds Festival (22/08/03) – The Gig
Having just met the band I didn’t feel I needed to get as near to the front as possible plus risk losing the signed memorabilia so I opted for a midway spot where I had a good view of the whole stage. Marianne Hobbs was onstage pleading with the crowd to move back and “let the security do their job” which lead to Metallica being delayed and One was consequently dropped from the
Finally an AC/DC song (can’t remember which one) sounds over the PA signalling Metallica are on next and sure enough Ecstasy of Gold follows inducing a huge amount of noise from the expectant assembled masses. As the first few bars of the intro to Battery ring out it is quite obvious that this crowd are going to give Metallica everything they’ve got.
Metallica burst onstage and tear through Battery at a senseless pace and without giving themselves or the crowd a chance to grab a breath launch straight into an equally blistering full-length version of Master of Puppets (still not too sure about the sing-a-long during the interlude section
The boys are quite obviously enjoying themselves and their absence from the scene (with Jason leaving and Jaymz’s rehabilitation) has only served to bring the hunger back to their performance. We get a heavy ass Harvester of Sorrow, an inspired Welcome Home (Sanitarium) and a skull-crushing For Whom the Bell Tolls before the first of two tracks from the new album St. Anger in the shape of Frantic. I had my reservations about how the new songs would translate to the live stage but I needn’t of worried as both Frantic and St. Anger work extremely well.
Sad But True, No Remorse, Seek & Destroy and (my personal highlight) Blackened round off the main set. When the guys return we get the only reference to the late 90’s
Load/ReLoad albums with Fuel, several large flame pyros behind the drums keeping the crowd warm! Nothing Else Matters comes nest preceded by Lars and Kirk exchanging places to play a couple of bars of Am I Evil?
A nerve-shredding Creeping Death and crowd-pleasing Enter Sandman finish off the Leeds festivals first day…off to Reading then!!
Bottom line…Metallica are back.
Master of Puppets
Harvester of Sorrow
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Sad But True
Seek and Destroy
Nothing Else Matters