– New Orleans Arena 14th
weekend had finally arrived. My first trip to the States for 8 years - 3
days of sightseeing, sampling whatever New Orleans had to offer and
catching Metallica 'In The Round'.
slept rough at Gatwick to make sure I definitely wasn't going to miss
the flight by a, oversleeping or b, car breaking down/tailbacks on the
motorway etc. Waking with a cricked neck was a small price to pay
considering the scale of the weekend to come.
to my flight leaving an hour late - the connection in New Jersey was a
bit tense. I had less than an hour to get off my plane, find where the
fuck I was and get to the gate to catch the 3 hour flight to Louisiana.
Made it but only just. Hotel & kip was the order of the day as soon
as I arrived shortly after 6pm. That cricked neck was still pinching.
free day was spent taking a few snaps and hanging out at a few of the
bars in the French Quarter. The imaginatively named Mardi Gras bar
proved to be very hospitable with a cute girl from Michigan pulling the
pints and a guy called Robert helping to prop the bar up. Robert, by the
way is well known up the outrageous Bourbon Street for his vocal skills
in karaoke. The voice of an angels arse springs to mind! What he lacked
in singing skills he made up for with drinking though so can't say
fairer than that (starts drinking at 4am!?!?!).
on I went on search for any signs of a rock club. A block up the street
was a live music venue sparsely filled (it was only midday!) with some
party goers. Again, these guys were on fire. They weren't shy in getting
the beers in either. On from here the night seemed to turn into a blur
of young ladies exposing themselves over the balconies to huge cheers
from the punters below along with trying to locate my lift back to my
have no clue as to what time I eventually rolled in... I blame the jet
my email confirmation from Ticketmaster wedged tightly in the fold of my
pocket I headed down town yet again to prepare for the show. I spotted a
few shirts in a club called Razoo's so I followed them in and discovered
what must be one of the sexiest spots on Bourbon Street. As you can see
from some of the foxy photo's the recruitment manager certainly has got
his priorities right. Extremely un-ugly bartenders at your beck and call
and some struggling to contain themselves within the crease of their
tee's. No complaints from me or anyone else I can tell you. It was here
where I met a couple of Clubbers (Gina & Gary) who had advertised on
the BB about a MetClub meet up at this very bar. The turn out wasn't
very strong but there was a healthy percentage of the patrons within who
were already going to the show. They were also kind enough to give me a
lift to the venue - CHEERS!
before picking up my ticket I ran into a couple of MetWorld fans which
was a nice coincidence. Speaking to fans 5,000 miles away who have seen
our site and visit every week (Dude - get your tattoo pic sent in!).
I was running a trifle behind schedule I didn't managed to see if I
could blag a M&G pass or get a wristband for the floor from the
MetClub booth. Not being put off though I managed to slip a few $$$'s
into the moist palm of another guest to get me a standing ticket. Job
then.. I was there at last. On the rail at the New Orleans Arena waiting
for our boys to come out to play again. It was a surreal time. I was
trying to take it all in. The Stage, the crowd (completely different to
Europe! No surfing, no pushing.. Just fists pumping and screaming your
lungs out! Cool) and then The Ecstasy Of Gold.
middle section of the stage rotated every few songs so that Lars got to
see the whole crowd. This whole stage concept made a real nice change
from the standard layout that was the order in the open air gigs this
tore through the normal openers then into Harvester and then Clover
(Sexier than the girls from Razzoo's??? you make up your own mind).
Seeing a roadie site a guitar and stand on the top platform of the stage
meant something new was going to happen...The Unforgiven. This was one
that I was really hoping for and I wasn't left disappointed. James
introduced St.Anger with the snake style "Ssssss...sssssss.....sssssssaaaaint
Ayngeeeeer...! Fucking amazing. The 'ol faves mid section were text book
perfection. It had only been 4 months since seeing them at Werchter but
for some reason SBT took me by surprise?!?!? Again, James starting it
off with the lone vox and chug of muted strings. Being a lover of the
pyro element - Sandman stood out big style. I will never get bored of
listening to James bellow "Oh Yeah!" then ripping into the
main riff for the explosion. Cue flames and rockets engulfing the stage.
last wildcard slot went to Disposable Heroes before getting the 99%
permanent closer that is Seek & Destroy. Awesome. Fuck, I didn't
want this show to end.
headed back to the French Quarter for a post gig beer. I'd lost Gina
& Gary so decided to head back to Razzoo's (I wonder why...). It was
heaving and somebody had a few numbers from the Black album booming out.
Why can't they build one of these places in London! 3or 4 Abita's later
I waved down a Jonny Cab and splashed the obligatory $28 bucks for the
ride to my Kenner hotel.
journey back via Texas the next day seemed to take forever. Whilst in
transit I decided to try out a Po Boy (Sandwich type thing). Very good
by ones standards and it filled the void for the next 8 hours and 5,000
everyone that I met in the French Quarter and at the gig - thank you so
much for your warmth and hospitality. You know who you are! New Orleans
- you guys are a fucking testament to what Metallica and Heavy Metal is
all about. If any of you are ever coming to the UK let me know and I'll
get you all a beer.
must mention that after getting in touch with Gina & Gary on my
return to the UK, they informed me that they were lucky enough to see
Kirk & Rob in a restaurant the day after the gig. Kirk was fairly
quiet but Gary managed to congratulate Rob on the show. They were seated
in a special room with a strong entourage and guard on the door! Wow!
How cool is that!?!