Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Now that we're dead, my dear -- we can live forever

I am now a person who has seen Metallica perform live, which is low-key something I've been preparing for my entire life.

Metallica, in its many variations, has been an enduring presence throughout my life. Whether I was falling asleep in the middle of the living room floor during a house party while they blared through the speakers (#truestory), using my knowledge of their history to impress boys who would not be impressed or bashing them while still loving them because they bashed other bands I liked more, it's been a long, brutal journey for us. This is true for most of their fans.

Through it all though, I've known I'd see them live eventually and all of the mixed feelings would fade away entirely, giving way to raw devotion.

And I was right.

Last Friday, I took off work and my dad and I drove to DFW. After pitstops at Torchy's Tacos (obviously) and my cousin's house, where we stayed for the weekend, we headed out to AT&T Stadium in Arlington -- the gargantuan stadium where the Dallas Cowboys play.

I had never seen a show in a venue this large. Sure, nothing is bigger than an outdoor festival like ACL (which I have attended twice) -- but this was 60,000 people inside a building. It's truly unbelievable to me that this stadium exists just for people to play football in, but I digress -- though I was definitely living for every surface that normally says "Cowboys" saying "Metallica."

At 5, a band called Local H (who were not local, but in fact from Chicago) played. After that, someone decided it was a good idea to have a DJ come out and occupy the crowd. It's unclear who made this decision or why -- but it was kind-of entertaining, if only in a "why are you here, sir?" way.

At 7, Avenged Sevenfold took the stage. They're a band I've always casually liked in that I don't own any of their music, but if their songs come on the radio, I leave them on. They had some unfortunate microphone/acoustic issues (possibly because the stadium is so large and wasn't anywhere near the capacity it would reach later), but they were good. M Shadows has a powerful voice and the dual-guitar style of Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance is tight and impressive. (Plus, good call, high school Britny: Synyster Gates is still pretty cute.)

Shockingly, after A7X, someone once again thought a DJ was a good idea! This one had more cred -- he is the "turntablist" for the Beastie Boys -- but was still...a DJ. I spent most of his "set" taking selfies and saying he should play "Cowboys From Hell" to get the crowd fired up (Pantera are from Dallas). Eventually, he did.

At around 9, reality set in. I was about to see METALLICA. Not on 20-year-old VHS tapes, not on YouTube videos -- in real life. When the lights went down and "Ecstasy of Gold" started playing out of the speakers, as a clip from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly played on the giant screens, I was vibrating.

The set was non-stop. My heart was racing, my ears were ringing, my face hurt from smiling so hard. I couldn't stop moving the whole time (SERIOUSLY, how do people watch shows standing still? I have never understood this.) It was everything I wanted and more.

Later, I was reflecting on the experience -- as music nerds do -- and I realized at this show, I was at the happiest and calmest I've been in a long time. Isn't that strange? Surrounded by snarling, thrashing, screaming people, I felt right with the world. Music is weird and wonderful.

Post-cathartic concert experience, the rest of my weekend continued in good spirits. Saturday, we went to Forever Young -- one of my favorite record stores -- where I picked up a Metallica concert DVD I'd never seen before, coincidentally filmed in Fort Worth. Then we walked around Sundance Square, where we stopped for a drink at long-time fave The Flying Saucer (Finnriver Sparkling Black Currant Cider is delicious, by the way) and got sweets at Nestle Tollhouse/Red Mango. My wild Saturday night was spent watching the new Orphan Black episode (WHAT IS HAPPENING ON THERE) and '90s music videos on MTV Classic.

Hope y'all had a good weekend as well, and that this week is treating you well so far! I'm making it through with Austin at the finish line on Friday.

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