Friday, November 2, 2018

Metallica: Chaos reigns supreme at LA gig in 1988

By Andy

First time I heard "Harvester of Sorrow," there was heaps of bass slithering through the epic Metallica song.

Jason Newsted was fucking plowing through that towering tune alongside the three other horsemen during a raucous daytime set at the Monsters of Rock metal bonanza at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on July 24, 1988.

When "Harvester" appeared on the "...And Justice for All" battering ram of an album a month later, there was disappointingly just bits of bass on that song and meager to none of Newsted's low end present throughout the nine-song slugfest. There are plenty of articles on the web about this, but let's get back to that wondrous, turbulent Metallica set at the fest, which also featured Van Halen, the Scorpions, Dokken and Kingdome Come. (I know, monumental ouch, on the last two, but that's not why we're here now, isn't it?)

Following Kingdom Come's awful set that I cringed through from the upper seats with my friend Marie, we switched tickets with Marie's brother Donald and our pal Steve, and were headed for the reserved seats on the field.

A bevy of those poor seats wouldn't last for long.

As Metallica's intro music clawed through the PA, shit got crazy as frenzied fans ditched their chairs -- even throwing them aside -- and hurtled toward the front of the stage. This massive rush to the front was uncontrollable as metalists blasted by us and knocked into us on their way to the unhinged promised land of whiplashes.

We could see fences being torn down that separated the stands from the field and soon it was ...and general admission for all.

Amid all the disorder of people and security getting rammed, the show proceeded and the band ripped through five songs before chairs, seats, bottles and more rained upon the stage during, of course, "Whiplash."

Kirk Hammett threw his arms up, shook his head and smirked, even smiled a little, and mouthed, "What the fuck?" to the crowd. The crowd chucked even more projectiles up there before the band left the stage. During the few minutes they were gone, some berserk fans were plucked from the crowd and dragged away from the scene by security or cops.

Metallica soon returned and pummeled through the rest of their set, which seemed like it could have smashed chairs and fences even if this hadn't already been done.

But who was the real victor that day? It had to be me.

You see, during the rampage before the band had played a note, Marie's purse got tangled in one of stage-rushers' legs and was quickly being dragged away, maybe never to be seen again. Ever alert, I darted after the purse, dove at it with arms outstretched and snagged it away from the fast-moving leg. After returning to my feet with Buzzcocks T-shirt and Bermuda shorts now dirtied, I jogged back with the prize, dodging more metalists bolting toward Metallica.

*** A deluxe reissue of "...And Justice for All" was released today.

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