By Sondra Demeterio
I’m no metal-head. Or, at least not much. I’m in love with one, and I can listen to metal on most days; but I didn’t hurt when I couldn’t see Iron Maiden, Hatebreed, Suicide Silence, or Avenged Sevenfold perform in Jakarta. (Not like I would have writhed in absolute pain if I hadn’t seen the Smashing Pumpkins in Java Rockin’land–which I had, thanks to Anjanette, my other cool chick friend!)
But Metallica? Metallica.
Shit. This is Metallica. I can roughly divide the milestones in my life with: The Unforgiven(graduation!); The Unforgiven II (I have a baby now); The Unforgiven III (my baby’s almost a teen and I’m planning to go abroad). I practically grew old with their songs! I cannot not see Metallica.
And just as soon as the want to hear Welcome Home Sanitarium played live swamped me, apprehensions started buzzing around my not-so-metal heart like a swarm of cranky bees. And not for ordinary reasons either:
1. The last time Metallica came to Jakarta, a whole neighborhood was set ablaze, a mall and several houses were looted, heads were smashed, and more than 50 cars were torched.
2. I don’t think I will survive a jam-packed crowd of raging testosterone, let alone a sweaty mosh pit! The last metal concert I’ve been to was a hardcore heaven because I stayed by the sides–well away from deadly elbows, lethal legs, and banging heads.
In a Metallica concert, space is what you can’t have. Not even for breath. No. Way.
3. This concert will be held in the biggest stadium in the country. This is to be one of Indonesia’s biggest events of all time. Metallica fans from all over the archipelago are selling their pets, their heirlooms, their last shirt (hell–even their girlfriends!) just to come and see the legendary band. I am going with a chick. One misstep, one wrong move to chaos and we’re toast. Don’t think I haven’t been terrifying myself with that spectre for nights!
But. This. Is. Metallica. A once-in-a-lifetime event for a small-town fan like me. As my chick friend Bash said: “This might be the last chance we have of seeing them perform before they really get old!” (She’s still on the right side of thirty!)
So we went and had our vouchers changed to tickets this morning. Little did we know that it would drag on for almost three queuing hours. The metal militia from different parts of Indonesia have already started pouring into the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium and even before midday, the lines to the ticket booths were long… and black. I wished I hadn’t worn shorts as my skin began a slow burn. Luckily, a Metro TV guy gave my friend a banner which we used as shade from the scorching heat. This is my first huge (METALLICA-HUGE) metal concert. I never imagined that the simple act of having vouchers exchanged for the real McCoy would entail a long wait in the sun and imminent dehydration–even before the big day!
But surprisingly, there was a lighthearted air of camaraderie in the lining crowds this morning. Those who were good-naturedly waiting were mostly in their mid-thirties up. We chatted up one who just flew from Surabaya. Clad in a black Megadeth shirt, he said he was 14 when Sepultura played in that city, but wasn’t there when riot broke out at the Metallica concert in Jakarta the following year. Understandably, the restless ones in the queue were those guys in their teens and early twenties who were too young to be at the historic Metallica live performance in 1993. The third-generation Metallica fans as Bash and I dubbed them–young men still bursting with angst and whatnots–yelling, making catcalls, laughing blithely.
And amidst the exhausting heat, the long wait, the packed crowd, there was this contagious sense of something big going down, this palpable air of shared excitement, excitement, excitement.
We are seeing Metallica.
About the author: Sondra is a Filipina teaching English in Indonesia.