Festival, Hasselt, Belgium 22nd August 1997
When I read a small advert in Kerrang!
Regarding an excursion to Germany to see Metallica at the Blind Mans Ball,
I signed up straight away. The fixture was soon changed by the trip
organisers when Metallica were confirmed as the headliners for the last
night of the Reading Festival. This would give hardcore fans the chance
to see Met in Belgium on the Friday night (as opposed to Saturday in
Germany) and travel back in time to see the last day of Reading.
The group making the trip were a mixture of
hardcore Met fans as well as some intent on consuming copious amounts of
drink, drugs and hitting the Red Lights of Brussels. Horses for courses I
guess. I was nervous as I was about to lose my Euro-Fest virginity.
The trip was well organised as it gave us
patrons the chance of a free night in nearby Brussels where we were
staying before hitting the opening day of PukkelPop.
The main arena was flanked by a tent stage
as well as a 2nd Dance tent headlined by the Chemical Bros
tonight. It was also very flat, square and bi-sected by rows of trees Ė
pretty bland really. This was also where I had my very first Chips n
Mayo. An artery thickening delicacy only available on the continent. One
thing thatís a nice touch at Euro fests is they reward you for picking up
litter! For every 20 or so discarded beer cups you pick up and hand in,
you get a free drink! (Kids swarming about scouring the floor looking for
litter - an idea that should be adopted at Donington to put an end to the
annual bottle fight?!?! Well, maybe not!)
On the main stage today was the likes of 3
Colours Red, Dog Eat Dog, Bush & Marilyn Manson (pretty similar to the
Reading line-up). I hung around with a few of the hardcore UK fans before
heading deep into fold of the crowd. I was pleasantly surprised to find a
mom and daughter combo at the front barrier which I knew would make easy,
natural wastage once things got dark. Sure enough, once The God Of Fuck
hit the stage they were gone like shit off the proverbial shovel. Touch.
I managed to get a great position on the
rail, right in front of Kirk. The whole experience was overwhelming as
this was the closest Iíd ever been to the band. Seeing them play in a
different country was better than I thought it would be. Knowing that I
would be heading into Reading armed with this experience was going to be
The set was a blur. I can remember So What
as the opener after a No Remorse jam and then a volley of newbies Ė King
Nothing, Fuel (preview), Hero Of The Day and Ainít My Bitch. The usual
suspects were in there too along with a surprise Stone Cold Crazy. The
crowd were loud but fairly calm (as Iíve found out since, the Belgians and
Dutch are mad but in a friendly way and very polite!) with not too many
crowd surfers. I think Fuel was one of the high lights of this opening
night. In a way comparable to hearing 2x4 at Donington 2 years earlier.
The Memory Remains jam was also a nice touch after coming on for the
encore. Not that we knew what what The Memory Remains was. Reload was
still a few months away from being released. I only realised what they
played after watching the Blind Mans Ball video later that year!
When Battery fading into the night, I
panicked as I wasnít sure what time the coach was leaving to take us
directly back to Calais for the ferry home. I didnít want to leave in case
we were going to be treated to another song but Iíd be fucked if it went
without me! I tore my self away from the main crowd and went on the search
for our shuttle.
With everyone in tow, we left Belgium &
PukkelPop í97Ö.next stop Reading Festival, UK. The August Bank holiday
was taking shape very nicely indeed.
What a way to lose your ďMetallica On Tour
In EuropeĒ cherry!
No Remorse (Jam)
Master Of Puppets
Sad But True
Hero Of The Day
Ainít My Bitch
Until It Sleeps
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Wherever I May Roam
Nothing Else Matters
Stone Cold Crazy
Cads (Good memory) 2004