Hendo’s Corner: Metallica Recaptures ’90s Mojo
If there is one thing we learned from Metallica's triumphant return to Seattle, it is that Lars, James, Kirk and Robert have finally recaptured the mojo that led to worldwide stardom in the early 90's.
I was fortunate enough to see them on what was to become their biggest tour to that point as the "Black Album" became a permanent part of American popular culture. I was still in high school, just a fan and not in radio. I was there after countless hours of screaming along to Disposable Heroes.
It was an amazing show that has been engrained in my memory since. Last night I found myself smiling at seeing them back in top form.
#MetInSeattle offered fans the same power and intensity that propelled them to superstar status so many years ago with a renewed relevance that few can match.
The new album Hardwired (to Self Destruct) has earned the band an entire new generation of metal fans.
When James Hetfield asked the crowd how many in attendance were there to see Metallica for the first time, the half the audience erupted. A 10-year old on the front row caught Hetfield's eye and they talked as the show found its sweet spot.
I have been to see some of the biggest names from the 90's these past few weeks and while they were amazing in their own right, the magic that Metallica has on stage and in the hearts of fans is different from others.
When Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day gave a fan not only a chance to play guitar with the band, but gave her the guitar afterwards it was cool. It still felt forced, but the audience loved it anyway because that fan's life just took an amazing turn.
But when James knelt down and talked to a 10-year-old on the front row, you could see the same excitement on his face that you did the young boy and his family.
There was something magic about it.
On the whole this summer, the tours and 90's icons have been amazing. Green Day at the White River Amphitheatre was the best show I had seen from Green Day ever. I saw them on the Dookie tour and at Woodstock, but they were nowhere as polished and aware of what the crowd wanted than they were this summer.
Tool was simply brilliant. They do always seem to leave fans wanting more and their show at the Gorge proved no different, but it was the same during the 90's as well. The sound, the precision, the power of Tool's music aged so very well.
Both Green Day and Metallica have released multiple top five hits with their new albums and in doing so raising a whole new crop of young fans.
We often hear how rock is dead. I disagree. We changed the concert experience and made it unpleasurable.
In the end good music wins.
People show up when the headaches are outweighed by the love they have for the music.
If the mojo that has been recaptured by Metallica and Green Day also spreads to Tool and Guns 'n Roses as they get set to work on new albums, next year you'll see headline proclaiming a "rebirth of rock."
It does start with good music, but it doesn't end there.
It depends on rock fans spending their time and money on those artists. Record corporations used to make money on album sales, not singles. Charging a dollar per song is okay when people used to be forced to pay for the other 10-15 songs on an album, but the math doesn't work for them now.
Competing tours with expensive tickets and expensive concert experiences make it hard for fans to spend an affordable amount on more than one artist.
Charging me $12 for a beer doesn't exactly entice me to go to the next concert.
Charging me $40 for a concert t-shirt that costs $1.50 to produce doesn't exactly entice me to buy licensed merchandise.
Not when the bootleg guy in the parking lot selling memories for $10.