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“Gimmee Fuel, Gimmee Fire,” Give Me Blog Content I Desire

October 6th, 2010 · Tags:Arts · Cities

Metallica Video

My Texas Tech football jersey never will be politically correct. At the time Coach Mike Leach elevated the Red Raiders to #2 in the country, there was that simpleton “Mike Leach System” cliché.

Before Mike Leach, with apologies to Coach Spike Dykes whom I really liked, no one had heard of Texas Tech.

After the firing of Mike Leach — yes, the firing of the winningest coach in Texas Tech history – The Double Ts have dropped out of the rankings and off the map with a bloody “civil war” splitting Red Raider Nation over the bonehead firing.

I wear the jersey anyway — a pirate black jersey sporting #2 — the style and number selected to reflect Mike Leach’s style and his success. And when I do, magical things happen.

In San Francisco, an MTV pilot film crew interviewed me because they were Mike Leach fans (although the main guy was from Detroit.)

I wore it at South Padre Island a few years back, on location to cover a music festival with Blue Oyster Cult, Ghostland Observatory and Steel Pulse, mon. What’s magical about that? While I was watching Blue Oyster Cult play “I’m Burning For You,” on the TV nearby, I also saw the magical play where Tech’s Michael Crabtree caught a pass from Graham Harrell, then burned a couple of Texas defenders to score with seconds left … upsetting the Longhorns in one of the biggest games ever. Ha … my magic jersey did that!

So, no wonder I was wearing the old black #2 around Christchurch, New Zealand. I mean, it was Texas Tech vs. Texas week. But alas, this year the game was anything but magical for either team.

However … don’t give up on the powers of the jersey yet. Because I was wearing this black Texas Tech jersey in the hotel lobby in New Zealand, a long-haired dude came over to me and commented on it. “Are you from Texas? I’m from Austin.” The guy was obviously a rocker, and I knew Metallica was about to play in Christchurch. So, I asked him if he had anything to do with the Metallica tour. (Metallica added two Christchurch dates to their tour, after thousands of fans launched a petition and Facebook group. Originally, the tour was supposed to stop at Auckland.)

YES! The guy who spotted my Double T jersey was Kyle SchuTT, the lead guitarist of Austin’s metal outfit The Sword. We talked music for a bit … not much football … and then I ran up the elevator and grabbed some booty to commemorate the occasion. Schutt took the shirt I pushed off on him, and he took my name and e-mail address.

Thank you Kyle Schutt. He followed through and the next day I received an e-mail telling me that I had passes to the first of two sold-out Metallica shows … the very first performance ever by the group in Christchurch. The moral of the story — put on your black jerseys and represent, Team Leach.

Ok .. I have banged some head in my time, but I have never been that big of a Metallica fan. Is that taking my life into my hands to say that? I mean, I was more the Led Zeppelin, Rush, Deep Purple, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath variety of rabid fan. Then there was the whole punk rock thing … Any who …

But would I miss the chance to see these masters of the metal genre in New Zealand? Not on your life! I mean, seeing Metallica in New Zealand is like skydiving in New Zealand – a once in a lifetime thing. Anywhere else, and it might not of made sense. In the interest of this blog and adventure … count me in.

My buddy Steve, on the other hand, is a dyed-in-wool Metallica connoisseur. Would he attend with me? “Is a snowball fight with Randy Johnson a bad idea?” You bet your arse!

We loaded up, rushing to the Canterbury CBS Arena for the sold out show. Oops … there was only one reserved seat ticket at will call. It took some fast talking, but I was able to trade the one reserved seat for two general admission. Someone said general admission, floor tickets were going for about $150 bucks. We got in. Steve at that point — I kid you not — was like walking in the air … beaming with Metallica envy.

We had no idea of what to expect. To our surprise, the arena was a fairly small venue. I often rave about the rock concerts of my youth — a tiny coliseum in Amarillo, Texas, on a major U.S. highway … we got the best shows, and I usually stood three feet from the stage, dead center.

So, our good fortune at the Metallica show was quite nostalgic as Steve and I stood our ground, just left of center, five or six rows back in the crowd. It was awesome. We learned that there had already been one local opening act. My apologies. Soon after we arrived, Kyle and the boys from The Sword whipped out some dark metal that easily could have passed for Black Sabbath in their heyday. Pretty good … pity they had to use an “opening act” sound system. Oh well …

Then there was a push toward the front as the crowd moshed about getting ready for the next band. I thought it was going to be Metallica … but … there was yet another opening act — Fear Factory. I ain’t gonna lie. I didn’t know them, and I have already admitted that I am not the biggest Metallica fan. For an instant, and only that, I though these guys might be Metallica. But what the heck!?! … Was that Lars Ulrich (drummer) marching up to center stage to sing a few songs? No way! I didn’t know at first. I just kept thinking “Man, Lars has changed a bit” … Ha … But it wasn’t him. There was more band equipment, including a huge drum kit under a tarp, sitting behind the band now on stage.

My apologies to LA’s Fear Factory. They put on a good show, and the Kiwis responded as if the band was the headliner. Yes … a few BIC lighters here and there … and lots of cell phone salutes as the band rocked on.

Most notable, the pit where Steve and I were holding our own, had become a little more violent. It wasn’t an all-out skirmish, but there were some drunken/disorderlies, some punksters … and lots of just people jockeying and pushing for position. After about the third or fourth shot to the back, I confess, I ‘had words” with one bloke. Ha … I knew Steve, who was wearing his steel-toed boots, had my back.

Fear Factory did fine. The crowd loved them and they too reminded me at times of Gwar and a little of Black Sabbath … the example by which all other metal bands are measured in my mind, apparently. Ha, yes so brrrrrrrutal! … NOTE: After the show, I met guitarist Dino Cazares back in the lobby of our hotel. I wasn’t wearing my Texas Tech jersey, so we didn’t discuss that. We did discuss Texas. He had lived in San Antonio, and another band member lived in Houston. Texans … representin!

Hey … on the topic of the hotel, in a previous blog I mentioned how I went exploring up on the 22nd floor — a vacant, under-construction penthouse suite. The night before the Metallica show, my buddy Markus and I met two of the drivers for the Metallica tour, and we told them about the 360-degree view of Christchurch from the vacant penthouse sweet.

“Let’s do it mate!”

So, we took the Metallica guys up to the top … and out on the catwalk balcony. I had already, by this point checked it out in the daylight and knew it was all safe. The balcony afforded a sparkling view of the city at night. However, it needed more light, apparently. One of the Metallica roadies pulled out what looked to be a 5-inch, titanium flashlight … or was that a Jedi light saber!?? Ha … it was an industrial strength laser. He powered it on, and I kid you not, it shot out the strongest laser beam I have ever seen … clearly visible on the bricks and windows of high rise buildings a few miles away. That was cool!

But … I was a little nervous that someone would think we were sighting targets with the laser, and I suggested we end the light show. Note to self — gotta get me one of those!

I digress …

So, Fear Factory finished. There was a brief pause in the music, but the heavy metal scrum continued as more and more drunks pushed in to get closer to the stage. My favorite strategy was the dudes whose girlfriends would rub up on unsuspecting males … claim a space … and then bring in their boy friends from a few rows back. Dirty pool, I say.

Then came Metallica, with Lars behind the drum kit where he belongs, the buff James Hetfield on a flying V rhythm guitar and vocals, former Suicidal Tendencies member Robert Trujillo on bass, and of course “The Ripper,” Kirk Hammett on lead guitar.

Christchurch went wild. Would we live to tell about it? “Steve, get those steel toes ready!”

After five or six ebbs and flows of the crowd, and a few left-to-right human tsunamis, our primo positions in the fifth or six row had deteriorated to about 8 rows back. The violence was a little more manageable there, although the spot was not quite as good for photos. I looked over at Steve and I swear there was golden light beaming off his Metallica-inspired smile. It was okay by Steve, I could see. I kept shooting photos with one hand and elbowing people who slammed into me with the other. Hey … throwing elbows is sort of fun. I digress …

All around us were hundreds of fists raised in the air, with index and pinky fingers extended, in the heavy metal salute. I always heard that was a satanic thing — like the horned head of the goat — so instead I did the Texas Tech “guns up” salute with my index finger and thumb. Look for it in videos from the night. Oh … this is funny, here is the emoticon for the goat hand gesture … \m/

Directly in front of Steve and I was a group of four little Kiwis — bearded, shirtless and extremely drunk. They danced arm-in-arm all night, stepping on our toes all night. Good thing hairy little Hobbits’ feet don’t hurt.

Metallica played every song of theirs that I know … plus about 15 more, including an encore. Ha … did I mention that I had made earplugs, early in the evening, from two pieces of a wadded paper towel? Old rockers never die … they just ask you to repeat yourself, ya know?

So … I was happy … even before the encore. I had heard my “faves” — “Enter Sandman” and “Fuel” … (“Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire”) … I admit that “Seek & Destroy” grew on me a bit, after the fourth or fifth shot to the ribs. Sidenote: go to and check out misunderstood lyrics. One example – “Give me two, give me five, give me double Chinese eyes.” More on mistaken lyrics later … because yes … I still have that Counting Crows song stuck in my mind … as it has been on the entire trip for that matter … “Down in New Zealand …”

Oh … we were talking about Metallica. Here is the set list, for those of you who know all of the Metallica songs:

  1. ‘That Was Just Your Life’
  2. ‘The End Of The Line’
  3. ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’
  4. ‘Fuel’
  5. ‘Fade To Black’
  6. ‘Broken, Beat & Scarred’
  7. ‘No Remorse’
  8. ‘Sad But True’
  9. ‘Welcome Home (Sanitarium)’
  10. ‘All Nightmare Long’
  11. ‘One’
  12. ‘Master Of Puppets’
  13. ‘Battery’
  14. ‘Nothing Else Matters’
  15. ‘Enter Sandman’
  16. ‘Stone Cold Crazy’
  17. ‘Whiplash’
  18. ‘Seek And Destroy’

The last of those songs were in an encore … and eventually Lars did leave the drum kit, whipping up the crowd center stage alongside Hetfield and the gang … The show ended with hundreds of large, black balloon-like Metallica balls pouring down on the audience and of course us fighting to grab one.

2 Metallica t-shirts — a hundred bucks!  2  “front row” views of the tightest metal band on earth — free!  Headbangin in New Zealand — priceless!

Ha … 3-hour concert — 3-hour blog.

Know what I sayin?

(More New Zealand blogs to come …)