All week long, we've been hearing about how Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano has disrupted pop culture. With airports shuttered across Europe, the "Iron Man 2" premiere has shifted from London to Los Angeles, Miley Cyrus couldn't make it to the London red carpet for "The Last Song," and Adam Lambert had to cancel a planned promotional trip across the pond.
You know who the erupting volcano couldn't stop? Metallica! In the midst of a European tour, the band has been traveling by boat and bus to ensure no shows are missed. To make a concert in Riga, Latvia, on Saturday, the band traveled 28 hours to accomplish what a plane would have in just two hours.
"I just could not relax, thinking, 'Wow, those buses have changed a lot since we traveled,' " lead guitarist Kirk Hammett told reporters, according to The Associated Press. "They are so much more comfortable. You see, we did not use this means of transportation for more than two decades since the tragedy."
Metallica bassist Cliff Burton was killed during a European tour in September 1986, when the band's bus skidded and flipped over multiple times in Sweden. "When we boarded the bus again this week and had to travel overnight, I realized that those bad memories are still here. I still haven't overcome the fear of buses," Hammett said. "But the show must go on."
To get to Riga, the band took a bus from Oslo to Stockholm, then hopped a cruise ship headed to the Latvian capital. Onboard the ship was a contingent of surprised Metallica fans. One of those fans, a 23-year-old named Liga Viskinte, told the AP that singer James Hetfield and bassist Robert Trujillo hung out in the ship's karaoke bar, drinking beer and taking in a passenger's version of "Whiskey in the Jar."
Currently in Lithuania, Metallica are planning to take a 13-hour train to Moscow on Thursday for a two-night stand (unless, that is, travel restrictions are lifted by then). From there, the tour will pick up again May 11 and hit cities like Belfast, Lisbon, Madrid and Prague, before wrapping up in Istanbul on June 27.
"It would take a really great force to stop us," Hammett said of continuing the tour, adding that no one was sure how they'd be getting back to America after the shows in Russia. "But we'll figure it out somehow."
What do you think of Metallica's dedication? Let us know in the comments below!