On Friday night (Oct. 28), Metallica was scheduled to play a concert in Gurgaon, a suburb of Delhi in India. It was to have been the first stop in Metallica’s first tour of the sub-continent. Tickets to the show were priced between the equivalent of $34 and $57, and the concert had drawn fans from cities across India as well as countries such as Bangladesh, China, Nepal, Indonesia and Singapore. Unfortunately, it never happened.
After more than 20,000 fans waited for more than 3 hours at the venue (including a two-hour delay in being allowed inside), an announcement was made that the show would be postponed to the following night due to “technical difficulties”. News reports indicate that Metallica (or their representatives) were unhappy with the audio systems and the adequacy of the security barricade that would separate fans from the stage. It also turns out that the tour organizers (from an outfit called DNA Entertainment) had over-sold the 25,000-person capacity of the venue.
Many of the fans didn’t take the postyponement news very well, particularly when it was learned that Metallica was taking part in a press conference at the same time. Although most left the venue calmly when asked to do so, others rushed the stage, damaged equipment, and some even attempted to set fire to banners. And that led the organizers and Metallica to cancel the Gurgaon show altogether.
Early Saturday, police arrested the “operational head” of DNA Entertainment and three other company employees, charging them with fraud and cheating. (more after the jump, including video . . .)
All the press attention given to the mismanagement of the show and the rioting prompted Indian metal musicians to speak out quickly. They are obviously concerned that this episode, like other fuck-up’s in the past, will deter big-name foreign metal acts from planning Indian tours. Here’s an example of such a statement, from Demonstealer of perhaps India’s best-known metal band, Demonic Resurrection:
“All said and done,MESHUGGAH, LAMB OF GOD, SEPULTURA, PORCUPINE TREE,OPETH, HAMMERFALL, MACHINE HEAD, JOE SATRIANI, IRON MAIDEN, KATATONIA, POETS OF THE FALL, SATYRICON and a dozen other international metal artists have played in India, and I can safely say they had a fantastic show, great appreciation and love from the metal fans in India. So it sucks that one terrible incident by a few c**ksmokers ruins it for the rest of the people in India. But as an Indian, I can safely say this doesn’t represent India or Indian people or Indian metal in any way.”
More comments from Indian bands can be found here.
It would be a shame if the Indian metal scene got a black eye over this event. Metal in India is a fast-growing movement, and here at NCS we’ve tried to spotlight some of the music in our posts. It’s only a matter of time (I hope) before the music of more Indian bands breaks out and catches on internationally. Getting prominent internationally known metal bands to tour India can only help the Indian scene grow and bring more attention to Indian bands.
But honestly, my first reaction to this story was not a negative feeling about Indian fans or corrupt tour management. My first thoughts went something like this:
1. Man, if I’d spent hours getting to the venue and hours more waiting around with my thumb up my ass, only to be told the thing was postponed, I’d want to bust up shit, too.
2. Metallica are a bunch of fucking prima donna’s. I mean, how bad does a sound system have to be for you to no-show 25,000 fans? And what the fuck is up with complaints about the security barricade? Did they think they were about to play for a bunch of animals? How many metal bands play in clubs and even bigger venues with no barricades at all?
3. Metallica obviously doesn’t care if an extra 25,000 fans now hate their guts.
And on the subject of just how bad was the stage set-up, check this out, as reported by Blabbermouth: “A METALLICA crew member, who was packing up the sound system late in the evening, when asked about the situation, told The Times Of India that he was clueless. ‘I have no idea at all. I was getting ready to play the show, and then I was told it wasn’t happening,’ he said.”
Well, I wasn’t there and I may be way underestimating the safety risk that a band like Metallica incurs when they play in front of 25,000 fans, but this whole thing still puts a bad smell in my nostrils, and it smells like . . . Metallica.
The original Blabbermouth story I saw about this fiasco (here) includes a variety of video news reports about this story. I’ll just put one of them here, which includes footage of the unpleasantness at the venue:
Metallica is scheduled to play in the southern Indian city of Bangalore tonight. In light of what happened on Friday night, an extra 1,000 police will be on hand. Good times.
UPDATE: NCS writer TheMadIsraeli sent me this link to a write-up about what actually happened at the venue by an Indian metal fan who was there. Reading this makes me even more pissed off at Metallica. Fucking atrocious.
I totally agree with your assessment. In fact, my default position with Metallica is pretty much: if something bad happened, it was Metallica’s fault. If something good happened, it was despite Metallica’s involvement.
I realize this is totally unfair and closed minded…but, really, fuck ’em. They could buy me about a thousand times over anyway.
Too bad I’m already damaged goods!! Hahahahah!
Apparently they forgot what happened when they did that stadium tour with GnR and Axl left the stage in Montreal after only a few songs. But this is just another in a long line of broken promises that I’ve come to expect from Metallica.
Did they promise you a romantic cruise in the harbor with a bottle of wine, too????
They said that I’d be their first!!! I SAVED MYSELF FOR THEM!!!!
Yeah, yeah, yeah, but unlike Trollfiend you didn’t get the Tijuana boob job to make yourself more attractive.
Hey, I even shave around my nut sack. I earned that goddamn cruise!
My first reaction to hearing about this is
a) Why are there always a small group of shitheads who think throwing a riot is a good plan….”No music..lets burn this motherfucking stage to the ground”…”No cream for my latte…lets burn this motherfucking Starbucks to the ground”
b) Why is it a group of dumbass musicians who havent been relevent in 20 years think its okay to treat their fans like shit…I sense Lars Ulrichs foul hand in this
On the other hand..I could see security possibly being an issue. After watching that dumbass from Bring me the Horizon nearly get his ass beat (which he admittedly brought on himself), it is something to worry about. That being said, its far more likely its a bullshit excuse from a bunch of pussies who didnt want to play that night
I don’t know why we even pay any heed to these extinct fossils. Their music wasn’t even innovative for this time and I think this band ultimately did more to hurt metal than to help it. I wonder if bands like Megadeth or Overkill had been more allowed to take the lead how metal would’ve turned out.
Could you explain what you mean “not innovative”..I hate Metallica, but I wouldnt deny their place in metal history
All in my opinion that they did if you go back and look at what was surrounding them at the time was take NWOBHM and make it slightly faster and add punk beats into it. That’s all I can personally see anyhow.
I dont disagree, but isnt that essentially what thrash is?
Not really… that is how thrash started but that’s definitely not what essentially defines thrash. You can see this today where we have deathrash, which doesn’t incorporate NWOBHM elements at all. I think it’s more the emphasis on speed, the technical riffing, and the shouted vocals. Metallica was not really fast, and their riffing wasn’t exactly what I’d call technical either being a guitar player myself. I think they were proto-thrash, but Kill’Em All is the closest they got to real thrash. The rest was fast traditional heavy metal.
Got to disagree with you..your definition could just as easily be talking about Grind as Thrash. As for Death/thrash…Im not sure how you can say it dosnt use any NWoBHM elements when its directly evolved from thrash. You can still hear the elements pretty clearly in bands like Deceased
This is going to get into a debate on genres..which never really goes anywhere. So Im just going to say that..personally…Thrash is a mixture of NWoBHM and Punk and that would include Metallica. Otherwise we start getting into the sliding scale of heavy metal, where a band gets kicked out because the genre evolved past them
And you could also say that the Misfits were proto-thrash, especially since they had a huge influence on Metallica at the time.
You may not give half a shit about Metallica anymore, their shenanigans may just be old tired news, to you, and you might be completely over the whole thing. But it is a very big deal to the folks who were there, I’m sure. If this is the band’s first tour across India, I’d bet that a large percentage of those fans that day had never had the opportunity to see them live before. Many of them, depending how far away other tourdates are (I’m too lazy to look at a map) might not have that chance again.
Of course, on the other hand, many people might not WANT to anymore. I wouldn’t.
props to you, sir, for realizing the deep sense of pain and longing we outside of the global touring circuits feel.
i went to my first ever iron maiden gig in bangalore, 2007, which was their first-ever india gig, and just to put it in perspective, the only guitar-based acts of any fame whatsoever to do a show anywhere in india before them were the certifiably washed-out deep purple, bryan adams, scorpions (before they stopped being washed-out), and joe satriani – which, as a foreign student in india, i was forced to miss due to fucking semester exams (the horror, the horror) but i digress……….
people flew down thousands of miles from bangladesh and nepal, and though i myself was a ripe old 24 then, i well remember grown men of 30- & 40-something fucking weep out of sheer joy just at simply being there, and i probably did too in between all of my 100% substances-free-mindfucked screaming. there were even cheering ticketless hundreds who were just happy to fucking listen in from outside 20-foot walls. to this day, that maiden gig, and another after that, remain the only 2 (that’s two) bona fide international rock shows i’ve had the honour to attend, and i’ve still not listened to any maiden live albums after that, just to cherish the memories.
being a former hardcore metallica fan who still loves their first big four, i can well sympathize with the rioters. i probably would have blown up a fire extinguisher or machine-gunned the dna crew or something. how very apt. since this was their “india deflowering”, they’ve probably pissed off not just those 25,000 in delhi, but the vast majority of their indian supporters
this does remind me though, those same dna-fucktards had fenced off the cheaper-tickets area to the far end of the iron maiden venue, with a fucking huge screen bang in the middle of it so that we couldn’t see shit of the stage except by squinting in from either end; i don’t know if that’s normal or not, but we were all fucking outraged at the 70-or-so feet of clear space in front of that class barrier (pun intended). our righteous anger and crowd-pushing did end up in (gate)crashing that shitty fence down, and we successfully stormed into the front of the field about 3-4 songs in – and while they were playing “the trooper”, no fucking less! even the cops were mature enough to know when to give up. the only problem was that it made me so happy i forgot about trying to push to the front row after that 😀
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddfest: “The concert was and still remains the largest paid concert ever to take place in India with an estimated 38,000 people in attendance. It marked the first visit of Iron Maiden to the Indian subcontinent, and the first major heavy metal concert to take place in the country.”
Tashfin- thank you for sharing your story. It’s interesting to hear directly from a person who has been in a situation like this, because we usually only get the information from the perspective of the news media. (When I say “we” I guess I am referring to Americans, or Westerners in general).
Also, i’d like to say I admire the dedication you must have, as a fan of this music, when the environment where you live makes it so difficult to see or hear or experience it very often.
why, thank you………….. actually, i was a bit luckier in india than here in bangladesh in that i actually had shit to blow money on – my home country still doesn’t have official retail in any form whatsoever. until the internet picked up at the turn of the millennium, all i/we had to go on was cd rips from “guys who know guys who….” and taping shops run by nuts dedicated enough to pay returning tourists & expats to bring back stuff a dozen at a time. i’ve worked that circuit myself, in fact – most recently i turned guys here on to amon amarth, which they never knew even existed. but even that was few and far between: my hometown of chittagong (4-5 million) only has one such shop.
but, it’s all awesome now, and in a way you lot might probably never realize. net speeds are good enough to download shit (no streaming or youtubing yet though), and one upside is that there’s no fucking riaa to worry about 😉
to illustrate just how fucked up we’ve been, a non-exhaustive sample of bands i’ve yet to get into at all: death, venom, cannibal corpse, nightwish, iced earth, overkill, kreator, napalm death, accept, sonata arctica, enslaved, anathema, rainbow, van halen, saxon, pantera, destruction, testament, possessed, emperor, dimmu borgir, tool, alice in chains, paradise lost, slayer…………………….. from starving to death to dying from overeating, eh?
i hope you’ll understand when i confess that i really don’t see much point in the “no clean singing” philosophy yet; far too many years of my life have been wasted on bryan adams, oasis, aerosmith, bon jovi and shit like that – drowning men will, after all, clutch at straws. and i’m still grateful to the alt-rock & mall metal crowd for giving me something to listen to without committing sepukku for all those years
&, note that live shows aren’t even on my radar yet, because they come by about once or twice a decade, and i still have to get an indian visa and an international flight for that (i pity the wretches who flew from here to delhi for metallica, and bangalore is 2000 kilometres from delhi)
I also appreciate your taking the time to write these eye-opening comments. Makes me realize (again) how spoiled we are in the U.S. as metal lovers, compared to countries such as India and Bangladesh.
Sucks that India wants to see this band perform. Sounds like they did everyone a favor by not showing up. LOL