It’s Sunday the 8th of march 2009. After a heavy Saturday night in Ericsson Globe in Stockholm it’s time for night two. Just as the night before Machine Head kicks off the night with a thunderous gig that surely won them lots of new fans. Then the waiting for Metallica begins, and goes on, and on, and on. All my senses by now says that something is very wrong. Then suddenly ¾ of Metallica takes the stage and people cheer when drummer Lars Ulrich walks up to the microphone. I don’t cheer, because they are all dressed in casual street clothes. Also, there is one band member missing. Those are not good signs. Lars tells the unruly crowd that frontman James Hetfield has been taken to the hospital and tonight’s concert won’t be happening. The cheers turn into boos. I don’t boo either, I worry about what has happened to Hetfield. Is he ok? How serious is it? He’s been taken to hospital, that can’t be good, right?
The next day we are told by the newspapers that he had some bad oysters and came down with food poisoning.
Metallica came back two months later and gave us a show that was pretty good so it all ended well I guess.
Fast forward to the 3rd of February 2017. I was at home following Danish newspaper Ekstrabladets live coverage of the first of the four concerts. It was clear right from the start that something was very wrong. James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett had come down with a really bad case of the flu. However, they did finish the concert. Nonetheless, I started worrying. The day after the show concert number two was postponed until September the 2nd (Metallica rarely cancels but postpones instead when possible) and no one was surprised. Now it was a race against time, later that evening I decided that I would go to Copenhagen and enjoy the beautiful city whatever happened. Another day went by and all was silent in the Metallica camp. On Tuesday the 7th there was an announcement that concert number three that now was concert number would go on as planned and I was relieved since I had a ticket for the last show on the 9th of February. On the night 0f the 7th it was apparent though that they weren’t up to par entirely and the result was a shortened show with longer solos and the addition of the instrumental track from Master Of Puppets. It was a fairly standard warhorse set which was somewhat disappointing.
Finally, Thursday came and I boarded a flight to Copenhagen, when I arrived I dropped my things at the hotel and headed for the Metallica pop up shop located nearby. I got there right at opening time, only to be welcomed by an insane line of people. I waited in the freezing cold for an hour, but in the end it was worth it. After a hot shower and a warming elephant beer at my hotel room I headed for the venue, the brand spanking new Royal Arena. It looked like a giant parking garage inside and out. (Still more charming than the Friends bunker in Solna though).
After a short but sweet set from tonight’s opening act Defecto it was time for the main course. METALLICA. By now the whole GA area smelled like a reggae festival. Starting off with a scorching “Hardwired”, I happily noticed that everyone seemed to be back to close to a 100%. Just like the previous night “Creeping death” and “For whom the Bell tolls” followed and the crowd was ecstatic.
Then it was time for the slot where they do seem to switch it up from night to night and this night we got to singalong to “The memory remains”, not one of my immediate favorites, but the singalong is always impressive. It was great to hear “Now that we’re dead”, the only one of the songs from “Hardwired to…” that was played this night that I hadn’t heard live. It really took off as I expected it to. Next was another new one “Atlas, Rise!” which was followed by Rob Trujillos bass solo, which segued into Cliff Burtons signature bass solo “Anesthesia (Pulling teeth) and for the first time this night I got that sweet tingle down my spine.
Next it was time for the slot where the instrumental track “Orion” had been played the previous night and as much as I love that one I was hoping for something else. And I got it. The truly epic “The call of Ktulu”! I heard and saw Metallica perform it live at the big 4 show in Gothenburg in 2011 and never in my wildest dreams could I imagine that I would get to experience that again. By now I was so overcome with emotion that tears of joy started running down my face.
Then we got some warhorses and the band said good night. But of course there was more to come. The stage was dark and a long silence followed (from the stage that is). My head screamed “Blackened” and sure enough. One of my absolute favorite Metallica tracks didn’t disappoint. “Nothing else matters” and “Enter sandman” closed out the night, two songs that I barely can stand anymore because they are so overplayed. But of course Copenhagen loved it.
I walked out into the cold Danish night with a smile on my face and although the night never became as magical and memorable as I had hoped it was a fantastic experience. The day after I spent visiting pubs and of course the Carlsberg brewery. Copenhagen is a wonderful city regardless of the reasons for visiting and I’m already plotting my return.