Why I’m Excited To See Metallica At New York City’s Apollo Theater
On Saturday night (Sept. 21), I am lucky enough to see Metallica in one of their most intimate performances in a very long time. Around 8:30 PM, Metallica will take the stage at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem. What sets this performance apart from other ‘Tallica shows is the sheer intimacy that the crowd will experience: the Apollo’s capacity is just a shade over 1,500.
I’ve been a Metallica fan my entire life. My dad had the albums, I listened to them, my life was changed … it’s as simple as that. I see the band live every single chance I get, but no matter when I’ve seen them, it’s always been at an arena, stadium or festival. I enjoyed every second of every show while I headbanged with tens of thousands of fellow fans. But, I always thought about what it’d be like to see them in a more intimate setting.
Remember Record Store Day 2010? Metallica released ‘Live at Grimey’s,’ a show they put on in Nashville at a club that holds roughly 150 people. The show wasn’t recorded in the ’80s. It was recorded in 2008, the night before the band headlined Bonnaroo to a crowd of 70,000. Imagine being at Grimey’s, one of less than 200 screaming fans hearing some of your favorite tunes like ‘Master of Puppets‘ and ‘Motorbreath.’ It’s hard to fathom what it would be like to experience the power of Metallica in such a small environment.
Five years before the show at Grimey’s, Metallica played another small show, this time in New York City. As a favor to the legendary, but now defunct, rock radio station K-Rock, the band played the Bowery Ballroom, a venue normally reserved for smaller acts due to its capacity of 550. Tickets never went on-sale. Instead, the only way to score a chance to see Metallica at this club was to win them from K-Rock. Opening with ‘The Four Horsemen’ and playing tracks like ‘Damage, Inc.’ and ‘Breadfan,’ Metallica proved to fans in New York City that no matter the size of the stage, they put every ounce of energy they have into their live shows.
Now let’s take a trip back to March 14, 1982 to Anaheim, Calif. where a brand new thrash metal act was getting ready to take the stage at Radio City. This would go down in history as the first concert Metallica ever performed. Capacity of this joint? Somewhere around 100, and who knows if it was packed for this up-and-coming band. But, what I can say without a shadow of a doubt that if you were one of the lucky ones to see Metallica start out over three decades ago, you witnessed a legendary band in the making. I, along with millions of other fans, would give anything to take a trip back and witness this performance.
The bulk of Metallica’s live career has been in front of huge audiences. In 1985, even though they weren’t the headliners, they played the Monsters of Rock tour in England to a crowd of 70,000. In 1991, Metallica played one of the biggest concerts ever in Moscow, Russia. Some reports say the crowd was in the millions, others say it was around 500,000. In 2013, just a few weeks ago, the band headed to Indonesia where they played to a crowd of over 60,000. Whether it was nearly 30 years ago or just a month ago, Metallica knows what it takes to play to thousands upon thousands of screaming fans.
That’s why I’m excited to see them at the Apollo. To be able to hear my favorite band play in a small theater on small stage in front of a small crowd will be the ultimate Metallica experience. I realize how crazy lucky I am to be able to head to this show, and if you’re going to Harlem tomorrow night, I can’t wait to rock out with you.
If you’re not able to make the concert, don’t worry. I am going to do everything I can to provide photos, song updates and anything else that will help you experience the event on our Twitter account (@ult_metallica). Head over there, follow us and then sit back and enjoy the fun.
And if you’re in the crowd, snap photos and share your thoughts by using the hashtag #MetallicaApollo. It’s going to be one hell of a night!