Guns N' Roses N' Metallica N' Faith No More N' 50,000 screaming headbangers party down
- Jon Bream, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"They Said It Would Never Happen," barked the ads for the concert featuring Guns N' Roses and Metallica.
GNR and Metallica are the two biggest rock bands in the world at the moment. Could they play on the same bill? Imagine the Rolling Stones and The Who playing together 20 years ago. Who would open -- Guns or Metallica? Clash of the egos?
They said it would never happen. Well, party on, dudes!
That's what the scene was like Tuesday when Guns N' Metallica stormed the Metrodome.
In the past 12 months, the Dome has played host to many big-time events -- the World Series, the Super Bowl, college basketball's Final Four -- but last nights blockbuster concert would have to rival the World Series as the event that lived up to all expectations.
A sellout crowd of 50,000 partied in overdrive to the thundering, exhilarating rock music probably not aware that there was thunder, lightning and pouring rain outside.
It may have been a traveling show business package of rebellious rock 'n' roll played by angry young millionaires, but it was a trailblazing concert nonetheless.
"I never thought I'd see the two of them together," said Amanda Roivanen, 16, of Chisago. "One (Metallica) is more heavy and thrashing, the other (Guns N' Roses) is more pop. It's unheard of to have two different types together."
Rick Woytych, 28, of Richfield, hadn't been to a concert for five years, but he took off work as a baker last night to go to the Dome. "I don't even listen to the music but when I heard they were coming together I had to go," he said at intermission. "This is the concert of the century. You'll never see two bands like this together again. And so far, this is the best time I've ever had at a concert."
Emily Burblies, 12, of rural South Haven, Minn., was attending her first concert ever, with her parents and two friends. She said she was embarrassed to be with her parents but she wanted to be at the Dome for this concert. "I'm in love with Axl (Rose, GNR's singer)," she said. "I wanna get onstage and give him a hug."
After Metallica's 2 1/4-hour performance, Paul Burblies, 42 wasn't sure his daughter would make it through the evening. "My neck hurts," she said. She had been shaking her long hair vigorously to Metallica's music. But the seventh grader, wearing her new GNR T-shirt, was determined to see her heroes. "I'm a country girl and I'm the only girl headbanger in my school," she said proudly. She did promise to be in school today but warned that "I might fall asleep in my classes."
Woytych brought his 17-year-old cousin from Virginia, Minn., and his cousin's buddy. They weren't planning on going to school today. "You've got to sacrifice some things," said Josh Tamminen, 17, who was wearing a newly purchased Metallica T-shirt. "You only live once, so you have to make it to a great show like this."
The best-selling T-shirts last night were the two $23 models with both GNR and Metallica on them, according to vendor Curtis Nachtsheim. As for the individual band shirts, he said, the GNR ones were outselling Metallica's. (Similarly, GNR has sold more albums than Metallica, about 40 million compared to 20 million.) Vendors expected to sell more than $500,000 worth of souvenirs last night, he said.
Activity was brisk in the lobby at nearby booths for such campaigns as voter registration, reforming marijuana laws and Amnesty International. John Katz, 27, a volunteer at the Rock the Vote booth, said more people registered to vote than he expected. Less than halfway through the long evening, his people had registered 140 new voters.
Across the concourse at the Amnesty International table, Jeff Scharlau, 31, also reported a positive response from concertgoers. "People who like sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll are also into human rights," he said. "I was worried about fans for a band (Metallica) with an album called 'Kill 'Em All,' but the fans have listened to what we have to say. I have hope for the youth of America after this."
The young people came in all shapes and sizes. Lizard-skin cowboy boots talked to black spiked high-heels.
Faith No More opened the 7-hour-plus concert. When the San Francisco quintet took the stage at precisely 5:30 p.m., maybe 5,000 people were in the Dome. About 45 minutes later, the aggressive, genre-blending band energized the audience with its closing number, the 1990 classic "Epic," which brought people to their feet to sing along.
Metallica followed with an intense, powerful, liberating and varied assault of intelligent heavy metal. It was more satisfying than Metallica's performance in November at Target Center, if only because of the performance of lead singer James Hetfield.
Having burned his left hand in a recent on-stage accident with a pyro device, Hetfield can't play guitar for the time being. So last night he stalked the stage. He was more menacing and powerful than before. He was not as scary or possessed as Rose was later on that night, but Hetfield's controlled fury ignited the crowd; then at song's end, he would say demurely, "Thank you."
Even though Metallica was playing on a much larger stage than at Target Center, the five players (guitarist John Marshall has been added temporarily) roamed around the stage less often than they had last fall. Thus, their performance was more focused, compact and potent.
At the end of their performance, the guys in Metallica took a curtain call, which was reminiscent of the Twins returning to the field after winning the World Series last October.
Then, after a 95-minute intermission during which there was human gridlock in the humid Dome hallways, Guns N' Roses took the stage. Their explosions and flashpots during "Live and Let Die" outdid any pyrotechnics Metallica offered and GNR's light show was much more artful, extensive and sophisticated. However, GNR's performance was less focused than Metallica's and more varied, ranging from piano ballads to full-tilt rockers.
Guitarists Slash and Gilbey Clarke meandered on some aimless solo excursions, and hyperactive singer Rose kept disappearing from the stage during guitar solos to change outfits. When he was onstage, he scurried all over the place like a scrambling quarterback desperately looking for a receiver (at one point he muttered something about ex-Viking quarterback Fran Tarkenton. Thus, much like the Stones' performance at the Dome, it was difficult last night at times to focus on the 10-member GNR spread all over the stage with its various tiers and ramps.
Rose, who had called off a Dome appearance Aug. 5 because of throat problems, sounded in fine voice last night. Especially impressive were the current hit, the piano ballad "November Rain," the up-tempo hit ballad "Sweet Child O' Mine" and the ambitious epic "Civil War." The repertoire was nearly identical to the one GNR played at Target Center in January. The big differences were two inflated crab-like creatures that appeared over the stage during, "Welcome to the Jungle" and the fact that GNR got onstage at a relatively early hour for them -- 10:45 p.m.
And the band finished 10 minutes before the 1 a.m. curfew, leaving some time for post-concert fireworks and a curtain call, complete with Rose tossing roses into the crowd. Sometimes, GNR plays by the book.
HEAVY-METAL ACTS AT HOME IN DOME
- Melissa Heng, Minneapolis Star Tribune
As the Twin Cities struggled to cope with rain and floods Tuesday night, the Metrodome played host to a capacity crowd that spent over six hours bowing to gods of their own.
Faith No More, Metallica and Guns N' Roses, icons of the heavy-metal world, attracted every hasher, rocker and head-banger under the age of 50 in the Twin Cities. Not since Lollapalooza has so much hair been flung.
The combination of screaming fans, wailing guitars and roving strobes in an enclosed arena with excellent acoustics created a sound powerful enough to blow a person into another dimension. The floor thumped and jumped as fans pogoed non-stop for hours.
Metallica's set, which lasted well over two hours, was a celebration of music as the ultimate in entertainment and escapism. Times like this remind us of just how long Metallica's been around and how many hits they've had. "Seek and Destroy" inspired the most audience participation I've seen in ages.
The energy was charged even in the slow moments. Everything from gut-wrenching guitar solos to "Enter Sandman" had the crowd on their feet. When they weren't bopping up and down, they were waving their lighters in the air, singing and swaying along.
At 10:30 p.m., Axl Rose arrived, and Guns N' Roses prepared to take the stage. The backroom joke among the police and security forces was that Elvis was indeed alive and in the building.
Somehow the crowd found more energy to keep up the frenzy for another two hours.
Despite heavy security, there were minor problems. At least two fans were sent to jail for disorderly conduct and one for assaulting a police officer, Minneapolis police said.
But other fans were blissfully unaware. As the stage was bathed in colors, a tireless Axl pranced about during long, drawn-out intros and instrumental solos. They managed rousing renditions of ``Live and Let Die'' and "Attitude."
All in all, it was a great stage, great visuals, a great crowd and a venue that can't be beat. This is what a great gig is all about.