PHILADELPHIA-- Despite the best efforts of city officials and the CoreStates Complex to stop the show, Metallica brought their "Multi-Million Decibel March" to Philadelphia Tuesday (Nov. 11), seemingly without incident.
That is, if you don't count all the head banging and the hard rock assault that took place on and off stage.
Although a crowd estimate was not yet available, approximately 30,000 fans banged their heads and threw their fists as the speed-metal pioneers played an hour-and-a-half set in the CoreStates parking lot that was long on rare and as-yet unreleased cuts -- including two from the new album Reload (Nov. 18) -- and short on the hits.
Before the 3 p.m. concert began, the band called a press conference to address
community concerns about the free show and talk about their new album
Talking to the media, drummer Lars Ulrich said the controversy surrounding the concert was "a bit unreal" to the band, as Metallica had spent much of the time holed up in a rehearsal studio to prepare for the event, he added. "We might not be the best looking guys in the world, but we're not going to go piss on your lawn or throw furniture through your window," Ulrich said in reference to local residents' fears about crowd behavior.
"Within the world of hard rock there are many different people doing many different things," he added. "[To stereotype Metallica fans] would be the same as saying all ex-football players are potential wife-killers."
On stage, the band offered a whip-smart set that included both "Fuel" and
"The Mystery Remains" from Re-Load, but concentrated more heavily on some of Metallica's older, rarely played material. Absent were favorites such as "Enter Sandman" or "One," which were replaced by songs such as "Am I Evil" from Metallica's debut album Kill 'Em All and the hard-core mega-assault "Damage, Inc." from Master of Puppets.
On "No Remorse," lead guitarist Kirk Hammet pulled out lightning quick solos
as if he were back in the San Francisco clubs where the band got its
start in the early '80s.
"It's gonna be nuts here!" predicted Jeremy Blumley before the show began.
Blumley drove three hours from Harrisburg, Pa. to land a coveted spot in
the middle of the mosh pit. "We're just gonna be trying to stay alive.
It's gonna be incredible -- the fans love this!" [Tues., Nov. 11, 1997, 6:30 p.m. PDT]