Riding the lighting: Robert Trujillo (left) and Kirk Hammett share a light moment during the concert. Antara/I Gede Adhiputra
The long wait ended for more than 60,000 Indonesian metal fans as Metallica returned to Indonesia to rock Bung Karno Stadium on Sunday night.
Metallica Live in Jakarta 2013 was part of the band’s most recent Asia tour — and came 25 years to the day after the release of their fourth album, …And Justice for All, and more than 20 years after their tumultuous first concert in Indonesia in 1993.
Comprising lead singer/guitarist James Hetfiled, drummer Lars Ulrich, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo, the band formed in 1981 in Los Angeles. The winners of nine Grammy Awards, Metallica are also one of the founders of Big Four metal, together with Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax.
Back in Jakarta, the stadium lights dimmed at 8:30 p.m. while giant screens to the left and right sides of came to life. Piped in on the sound system was “The Ecstasy of Gold” from the soundtrack of the spaghetti western The Good, The Bad and the Ugly by Ennio Moricone.
Upon hearing the strains of “Ecstasy” — the traditional way the band gets underway — the audience began to scream, pumped up after a rousing set from local metal band Seringai.
Metallica appeared on the stage, raising the heat with a rendition of “Hit The Lights” that was immediately started the crowd singing along.
The tension increased as Metallica performed “Master of Puppets” from their third album, as waves of people bashed into each other on the floor while screaming “Master! Master!”
Not wanting to be left behind, the audience in the tribune section also jumped out of their seats, banging their heads.
The massive sounds created as the crowd sang along made Hetfield’s voice a little bit hard to hear from the confinements of the press section in the back.
‘Dalang’: James Hetfield leads the crowd during Metallica’s concert at Bung Karno Stadium on Sunday. People in the crowd could be heard screaming “Master! Master!” as Hetfield performed “Master of Puppets”. Antara/Muhammad Adimaja
Not wanting to tone down the mood, the band continued to rock with “Fuel”.
Afterwards, Hetfield took a moment to greet the crowd. “You seem very energetic tonight! I can’t believe it’s been 20 years, and now we’re here!”
The band continued with “Ride the Lighting”, “Fade To Black” and “The Four Horsemen”. The latter song is seldom performed live, but the band decided to include it on the Jakarta setlist.
Next up, Metallica played “Cyanide” from their latest album, Death Magnetic, which concluded with a virtusoso two-minute solo from Trujillo, showcasing his slap-the-bass technique.
When the band started to play “Sad But True”, the crowd grew wilder, and more wild still when Metallica moved on with “One”, and “Blackened”.
One metal fan from the festival section, Dimas Mulyawan, said that he had been in the middle of the biggest and most brutal mosh pit he had ever experienced during “Blackened”.
“That was wild; so crazy. All over my body ached afterwards.” Dimas laughed.
To give the crowd a break, Metallica came back with their famous ballad “Nothing Else Matters”, turning down the tempo for a moment
But just for a moment.
As the intro of “Enter Sandman” was played, screams resounded throughout the arena, as expected. From the beginning to the end of the song, the audience and moshed — all under the direction of Hetfield.
“That’s the loudest I ever heard a crowd sing “Sandman” in a very long time,” wrote Metallica on its website.
The band then left the stage, but came back a few minutes later to perform three encores: “Creeping Death”, “Fight Fire with Fire” and “Seek and Destroy”.
During the more-than-two-hour concert, Metallica — all of who are in their late 40s, at least — did not slow down, daring the audience to stay on fire through 18 songs.
‘Merah Putih’: Members of Metallica (left to right, foreground) Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo hold an Indonesian flag as part of their rollicking concert at Bung Karno Stadium on Sunday. Antara/Muhammad Adimaja
With Hetfield asking “Are you with us?”, Ulrich got out off the drums several times keep the crowd hyped. Meanwhile, Trujillo, squatting and rolling over on the stage, and Hammett, bouncing from one corner to vast stage to the other while playing, kept things energized.
“They’re legendary. I’ve loved them since I was in elementary school, and this is the concert I’ve been waiting for,” said Metallica fan Ade Hapsari. “This is the best concert I’ve ever watched.”
Similaly, Dimas said the whole concert was more than he had expected.
“It was an awesome night, great performance from them all — the lighting, the stage, the sound and the crowd,” he said.
He was also grateful that the concert went safely and smoothly, unlike as in 1993.
“This was all good, except for the dehydration part. Only if the organizers could have thrown us some water,” Dimas said.
In April 1993, Metallica’s concert at the Lebak Bulus Stadium in South Jakarta turned into a riot, as hundreds of people who could not get inside went on a rampage.
To prevent that from happening in Sunday, more than 2,000 security personnel were deployed.
The concert of the year has raised spirits since July soon, when tickets went on sale. Many gatherings and tribute concerts took place, and the @DemiMetallica Twitter account started, where fans could hock their belongings to raise money to buy tickets.
All in all, the consensus was that Sunday’s concert had taken the crowd “off to the never never-land” of Metallica.
“What an amazing show to end this run of shows in Asia,” said the band.