December 8, 2009


When I got word earlier this year that Metallica was coming to Vegas in December, I knew it would be the perfect gift for Frank. As soon as tickets went on sale, I tried to get my hands on a pair, but the show was already sold out. Thank goodness for Stubhub, they came through for me. I bought these tickets in spring, and was left to wait and hope the surprise would remain a surprise. Fortunately, it did.

This was my third time seeing Metallica and Frank’s fourth. Frank saw a show at Rosemont Horizon just before we started dating, the others we saw together.
My first Metallica show was in Pecatonica, IL at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds, July 1998. It was insane. I’ve never seen anything so disorganized. It was one helluva time, though. We drove out with a group of friends, tailgated, and then enjoyed the show. At times we made our way to the stage. Toward the end, dehydration set in on me. I passed out. I remember coming to in an ambulance and medics were making me suck down Gatorade. I hate Gatorade. Refueled, we were left to enjoy the rest of the show. Despite me scaring the crap out of Frank… that wasn’t the last time, either. After a number of fainting spells I was diagnosed with Neurocardiogenic syncope, but that’s a story for another day.

Two years later, Metallica headlined the Hard Rock CafĂ© Rockfest at Chicago Motor Speedway. A group of us took a limo to the show; we met more friends at the venue, eventually forming a group of twenty or so. Rockfest was an all-day show with a dozen bands. We drank Lynchburg Lemonade all day long. It was great fun, and one of the most memorable concerts I’ve seen. Kid Rock was also there, he performed Turn the Page with Metallica. It was awesome!

Nearly a decade later at Mandalay Bay Event Center, Metallica still rocked. It was a much different experience, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We used valet at Four Seasons, fine dined at Aureole and then walked 50 feet or whatever it is to the event center. How great is it that this was all under one roof? I love Las Vegas!

We took our seats – no fighting back crowds at the stage or mosh pits for us. We’re now too old for that shit. The last show we’d been to was before digital cameras. It was back when people used lighters instead of cell phones to waive back-n-forth in darkness.

Machine Head was on stage. After a few songs, they wrapped up, the stage was dismantled and prepped for Metallica. We thought they’d take the stage at 9:00, but it was closer to 9:30. The show opened with laser lights, later there were flames and pyrotechnics. They did an encore and had fun with us for the duration of the two hour show. I didn’t miss being drunk or smoking, being shoved or sweated on, but I can still throw up my arms and sing along with the best of them. This was definitely a show of all ages – 5 to 50, easily. It’s neat to see kids discovering a band we’ve loved for years. I imagine someone said the same about us, back in the day.

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