As we snake our way through the intestines of Petco Park, my nervous excitement grows in tandem with the low drone of the assembled black t-shirt army on the other side of these concrete walls. I’ve stood before legends in the past and lived to tell those tales, but tonight is palpably different. Around a final switchback and down a ramp. The walls give way to the night sky, the drone now a dark and disparate chorus.
A deep breath. A grin. Stadium lights. I clench my jaw, narrow my eyes – game face – and walk confidently toward the snake pit, my cameras swinging by my side. I’m a disconcerting foot, maybe two, from the fenced-in tangled mass of sweat and hair.
Minutes later, the lights go out. A cannon blasts. The crowd erupts, and Tuco runs through the graveyard as Ennio Morricone’s Ecstasy of Gold starts the show. A man behind me screams, “Oh my god! This is fucking happening right now!” My heart is racing.
Something loud this way comes.
40,000 phones rise. Flashes of red, distorted faces fill the 5 towering video screens. First drums, then bass and guitar. The pounding tempo. Finally, the unmistakable voice of James Hetfield fills the stadium, “In the name of desperation, in the name of wretched pain, in the name of all creation, gone insane!” The gathered masses comply, and Petco Park has lost its mind.
This is the real fire and fury.
This is Metallica.