Metallica pranks the audience

Metallica pranks the audience

Load Tour 1997

My first time seeing Metallica was in Milwaukee on Valentine's Day in 1997 during the Load Tour. This was a little late for me. My love of metal – Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and of course Metallica – had waned considerably since I passed the age of about 14.

I was 10 or 11 when I bought a tape of Master of Puppets with lawn mowing money. It may have been my first tape ever. I was in eighth grade when the Black Album came out – my friend and I rewrote the lyrics to Enter Sandman for a school project.

So in 1997 I was in university and hadn't bought or even listened to Load, other than the singles on the radio and MTV. But my friend and I got tickets. We were in for a great time.There was a circular stage set up in the center of a basketball stadium. We elbowed our way to the front and were really close, maybe two or three people back from the stage.

Each member faced a different direction from the stage. We had Hetfield's side – obviously a cool spot. But what really made it cool was around halfway through when the lighting rig above the stage (and us) began rocking back and forth. The band looked up in surprise. So did we. The speakers started to blow, sparks flying out of some of them. The lights started to pop and go out.

It was chaos. The band dropped their instruments and bolted off the stage. We in the crowd looked at each other, some freaking out. Then a man on fire ran across the stage.

That was when it became obvious – it was all a trick. There were more explosions and flashing lights, and then everything went dark. A single bulb came down, hanging over the middle of the stage. The band came back out and played some Garage Days songs, this time facing each other.

Since then I´ve seen Metallica a few more times. I even saw them do a short acoustic set, which seemed to bore the audience (I loved it). But nothing can top the prank they pulled on the audience in 1997.