It all started back in March. I had received an email from the Metallic Fan Club. (Yes, I am a huge music fan, a metal head at heart, and a diehard Metallica fan!) Metallica just announced a show the grand opening weekend at the brand-new stadium in Minneapolis on August 20th. Fan club members were going to be offered a chance at a pre-sale for these tickets.
As most Metallic fans know, they haven't released a new album in nearly 10 years, and they haven't been on tour in over 7. So a chance to see my favorite band in a unique venue with great opening acts sounded too good to pass up.
Being the diligent traveler that I am, and diligent husband– and knowing what the wife will shake her head at and what she will agree to – I immediately looked at the calendar – all clear. I then went to the Delta website and looked at the price for flights, only 20K sky-miles each (for those uniformed - that is about as cheap as you can get a free ticket on Delta). I then looked at the flight schedules. We could go up on Saturday and come home on Sunday. Not too much time away - doesn't impact work, and not to difficult for the parental units who would be watching the kids.
I snatched up the tickets ( the concert sold out in 10 mins!) and then went and TOLD the wife. I made it sound like I was asking, but she knew we were going. How could she say no - I did my homework, no way could she come up with an excuse - besides, it is HER favorite band too!
Months ticked by and the trip planned way back in March was finally here. We packed our over night bag and hit the airport for our 7:15 am flight into MSP. ( a 4am alarm is early even for a guy who is used to getting up at 5!) We touched down in MSP, caught the shuttle to the hotel, had breakfast, checked into our room and then headed to the Mall of America. See, if you are staying 2 blocks from the largest shopping mall in the USA, you had better find time to shop and, more importantly, people watch! This left us just enough time for a couple hours of chilling in the room and maybe even a 15 minute power nap - though I will never admit to that - before the show.
The alarm went off at 4:30pm and we headed down to the ‘Blue Line’ metro train station. The line was manageable, and the trip was kinda cool. We don’t have light rail in Cincinnati, so this was new territory for my wife and I. On top of that, I had never been on a train, bus, plane or anything full of nothing but Metallica fans. It was a fun ride, and seeing the look of disgust and refusal by several patrons at stops along the route was worth the $3.50 it cost. I am certain that many of my friends would have refused to get on that train after seeing the motley crew that was staring at them when the doors opened.
Volbeat kicked off the show right at 6pm and played for just about an hour. They were followed by Avenged Sevenfold who took the stage and played to about 8:30. The time had finally come…the stage was cleared, the sun had set, and the stadium filled to the brim with an interesting assortment of young and old, skinny and thick, long haired and bald, tatted and clean, pierced and plain, and everything in between - all there to bear witness to my generation’s Rolling Stones!
I am not gonna spend the next 5 pages breaking down everything and every little detail. There are plenty of reviews of the show that you can read if you are really truly interested. The bottom line is - this was the single greatest concert I have ever attended! (and I have seen over 100) Metallica was ON, and they killed It.
The presentation was incredible, the band was tight, and their presence was out of this world. They played the usual hits, dug deep for a few rarely performed tracks, and presented their brand-new single to a very enthusiastic crowd. They concluded with dozens of Metallica logo beach balls dropping from the rafters as a seemingly endless barrage of indoor fireworks lit up the stage. After nearly 2 and a half hours of pure unadulterated metal, we left the stadium partially deaf, extremely tired, and most definitely satisfied.! Ladies and Gentlemen - Metallica is BACK - and better than ever!