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Metallica – Fan Invasion

Stadt / City Helsinki 
Land / Country FIN 
Datum / Date15.07.2007 

Attention, this is no regular concert review but a report about the surrounding of such a mega event. What happened to fans who came to see Metallica – with HIM and Diablo as support acts – in Helsinki?

Even the day before there were signs of the “Metallica day” - many more people with Metallica merchandise in the streets, many Rock bars (e. g. Inferno) dedicated major part of their playlist to this successful US act, people inside discussed heatedly why HIM warmed up for Metallica, especially after Finnish newspapers wrote about the London show where – allegedly - people reacted to the Finns only with verbal abuse and throwing stuff (bottles, food) on stage. Well, it has never been easy, no matter for which band, supporting Metallica...

And then on Sunday only “For Whom The Bell Tolls”: Unified sound everywhere, as if there was no other band. Despite raised awareness, a certain view was still absolutely breathtaking. Riding on the train to town, about two hours before the show began, right after Pasila station, you could see an infinite queue of people dressed in black, looking like a 500 m black serpent wiggling through the green grass of Olympia stadium park.

If you had never quite understood the historical issue “emigration of nations”, this would have been a nice visualisation: 45.000 Metallica fans standing quite disciplined in two looooooong lines in front of the Olympia stadium.

Among the youngest were (from right) Patrick (10), Jere (13) and Vertti (12) who had been listening to Metallica for – on average – four years, and naturally they came with their parents to see the band for the first time. Only Vertti had seen them already with his dad, about two years ago at Talinn. Among the people waiting you could also see more mature fans (unfortunately they did not want to be photographed) who had come from Turku to watch musicians who could be their sons...

A group caught your eye because they wore devil horns: Almost a dozen friends had come from Vuosaari (Eastern city district) to see their faves live. Juha (32) had been a Metallica fan for 10 years, but this was his first concert. For HIM he expected “much better audience response here in Finland”.

The same statement came from Jussi (27), Metallica fan for 15 years, and Laura (25), 5-year-fan, both from Turku. They predicted that it would be much better for HIM in Helsinki, “because there will be many HIM fans in the crowd, too”.

We heard that many people spent 3,5 hours waiting until they could reach their destination, they missed both support acts and could just see the 1,5 hour show of the headlining act. Yet “Nothing Else Matters”.

Some of the rather tipsy fans attempted to re-enact another historic event: “The Vandals conquer Rome”. Yet local security and even mounted police – here two of the “Four Horsemen” - prevented acts of vandalism that exceeded “excessive littering”. Admittedly, at that time some fans appeared to have a premature “Fade To Black” - you wondered, in case they would really make it inside, if they would be able to remember anything of the show...

Some preferred to spend some time in nearby refreshment areas to “Load” their “Battery”. Those terraces emptied quickly about 19 h when the concert started and finally became somehow cosy, as only a handful “Friends Of Misery” moaned the fate of not getting a ticket. As Finnish newspapers had it, this Metallica show had been completely sold out within 45 min. “Sad But True”.

About 22 h a reverse exodus, towards the city center, started, some still preferred to continue partying in various refreshment areas. Nobody was up to “Seek And Destroy”, Finnish Metal fans proved once again to be very peaceful and disciplined. Rock Town organized an after show party with a Metallica cover band who entertained fans until the early morning.

In this location you could not only meet concert visitors, but also people who took an active part in the show about their impressions. Summary, the concert was great, for some HIM was not such a big thing yet still no reason to riot. And “Finnish newspapers just write crap.”

Apropos, Helsingin Sanomat, July 16 2007, reported that the 1,5 hour show of this US hit factory contained two encores, only two songs recorded after 1991 and a long bass solo played by Robert Trujillo, therefore it triggered nostalgia. The audience cheered to both Diablo and HIM, no verbal abuse or thrown stuff.

„...And Justice For All“

Klaudia Weber, photos: K. Weber

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