Episode eight: Kill 'em All For One all over again

It was January 2014... we were set to travel to Miami in order to to board the 70000 tons of metal cruise. It was the 2nd time for us and we were very pumped up indeed! I receive an email from our main man in South America ... Rodrigo.. who was setting up a tour for us in April. The question that sticks out is “ are you still in touch with Lars from Metallica” which confused me greatly... I answer “ kind of.. as a few months back he was cool enough to do a great video piece for our DVD “ rock until you drop”..... why?”
He tells me Metallica are playing a bunch of stadium shows in South America and we should ask if we can open for them in São Paulo Brazil....
Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
I get in touch with Metallica’s people and ask the question.. not expecting too much...
We go to Miami, board the ship and have a grand old time ( funnily enough this was where Mike Heller saw us for the first time as he was also there playing with Fear Factory) playing and hanging out with old mates like Overkill etc...
Once we are back on dry land and cleared through customs... we are all in the car to the airport when my phone goes “ping”
.....
I see a message from Metallica’s people ...
“ yes we’d love you guys to play the show”
Let me tell you,although we have to be cynical in all aspects of this business... seeing that was like scoring the winning goal in the World Cup final !!! Cheers and high fives all round!

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There’s a lot of messages back and forth over the show.. I start receiving phone calls from the “grand exalted cyclops” of Live Nation..
“ is this John from Raven? Just checking as I’ve personally never heard of you... you guys are actually ok to play this show???.”
and weird shit like that...
Turns out Metallica stating they wanted us on board pissed off a LOT of Brazil industry people including the act that was originally due to do the show... but Lars Ulrich's decree carries some weight obviously. Although there were many inquiries asking “ do they even have the right visas??” and other supposed roadblocks, Rodrigo is made of sterner stuff and told em all to politely piss off!!!

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The show was to be on March 22nd at the Morumbi stadium ... holding 60,000 plus people... our largest show ever.. but not much thought was put into that initially.. it was just a great opportunity to promote ourselves in a big way in Brazil.
March finally came and off we went down to São Paulo... not quite “ just another tour” but I’d shunted the “ oh god we are playing a stadium” bit into the furthest recesses of my brain temporarily!
We flew south to Curitiba for a club show which got us “ in the groove” so to speak... rehearsal ( of which there was none) is a poor substitute for actually doing a show!
The morning of the 22nd we flew back to São Paulo and checked into a seriously swanky hotel well out of our budget ... (thanks again to Metallica..). and after hanging out for a few hours got our stuff together and took the ride to the gig.
The closer we got to the gigantic stadium the more the enormity of the event was impressed upon us... people were lined up for well over a mile outside the gates!!!!
We were directed to the backstage and unloaded our stuff... and brought through an endless maze of corridors to our dressing room.. and then directed to where the food was! So we ate lunch in the bleachers watching the crew finalize their stage setup... which of course was immense!
We were told we’d have a 30 min set... but that it looked like Metallica were delayed - they were using Buenos Aires as their home base and flying back and forth to all their S. American shows ... I cheekily mentioned to the stage manager that we could quite easily play a few more songs if needed and he replied “ really? That could work! I’ll let you know as we get nearer the time!” Which surprised the hell out of me !
Slowly the 60,000 people entered the arena .. we got the call to come down and soundcheck. Our rider had been adhered to meticulously.. which was very nice.. the only issue was the “ house” monitor guy who seemed to be fighting with everyone over nothing! The Metallica crew could not have been more friendly or helpful.. many were fans of ours from “ back in the day” and were disappointed when we told them we were only doing this one show with them.

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Soundcheck went without any issues.. the stage was gigantic however and pacing it out made it clear that outside of our regular “stage area” monitors were nonexistent!
At most large gigs we’ve done, there was always music playing before the acts came on... but not at this one ! They played a 1 minute video clip of the Metallica movie “ through the never” over the PA and on the giant video screen behind the stage every 30 min. This initially got a roar from the crowd but that enthusiasm disappeared after the 4th or 5th time.. but the tension built higher and higher as the day turned into night. We were due to go on at 7.30pm but kept getting updates from the stage manager... “ it’s gonna be delayed... we don’t want you guys on early in case they are later than expected... we will keep you posted “
So there we are all dressed up & nowhere to go side stage... awaiting our cue.
Peeking round the curtains the enormity of the arena was evident.. lights & people as far as the eye could see and a low rumble from the gathered masses waiting....
Eventually we got the call that Metallica were going to arrive at the stadium and we were on in 2 minutes! The stage lights immediately went down ... I have NEVER heard a sound like the roar of that crowd right then when they knew the processing were finally going to start.. they were deafening! We ran out & started with “ take control” and the place went absolutely nuts!!!!
Mark had buttonholed the stage manager to give us a nod if we could play longer... we were ending “ faster than the speed of light” and ... got the nod! Off we went to do “ one more song” ... being cheeky bastards we did “ break the chain” complete with audience participation and the jams... which stretched over 10 min especially when James Hetfield turned up on stage left grinning from ear to ear and videoing us on his phone.. giving the thumbs up! Guitars were throughly trounced bashed and beaten and the response was brilliant!

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We came off stage knowing we had “ done the business” and had the crew shaking our hands & backslapping us all the way back to the dressing room!
We were immediately greeted by Brie from the Metclub.. she told us to come down in 5 min as the Metallica guys wanted to hang for a bit before they went on..
So we waited outside a room where they obviously had their portable rehearsal set up and one by one they came out... we’d met Lars briefly the year before at a San Francisco show but hadn’t seen James & Kirk in 30 years... they really haven’t changed... Robert seemed very cool also. We traded war stories and BS for 10 min before they had to prepare.. took a few photos and then went up to watch them.
They played the best show I’d seen them do... at least compared to recent video stuff etc. a bit of drama too when a pyro device went off right next to James as he was introducing a song... he just flashed a VERY angry look to the crew and continued talking - considering his previous experience with pyro accidents this displayed total professionalism indeed.
The other notable thing about their set is that they performed in torrential rainfall! It was absolutely insane how hard it was raining ... again, it did not faze them one bit - total pros.
We left after half the show as we did not want to get stuck in THAT traffic jam... and having an early bus call the next day . This meant we missed James saying some really cool things about us ( which turned up on video later).
We had 2 more Brazil shows after that which of course in comparison seemed a bit of a letdown ... but that’s the way it goes lol!!!!