TRI­UMPHANT RE­TURN

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

“Just do what­ever you are do­ing, just try to do it with the best you pos­si­bly can, try to be as hon­est about it as pos­si­ble.”

More than three years af­ter Me­tal­lica’s China de­but, the band is set to rock fans here again, with con­certs in Shang­hai and Bei­jing, re­ports.

When Me­tal­lica gave its first per­for­mance in China, at Shang­hai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena in Au­gust 2013, more than 20,000 fans were there for the his­toric mo­ment.

“It was epic,” says Jiang Wei, a Bei­jing-based in­die live show pro­moter, who was in the au­di­ence.

“It was to­tally a metal zone,” Jiang adds, re­call­ing the band’s per­for­mance of hits such as Hit The Lights, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Seek & De­stroy and En­ter Sand­man.

Ac­cord­ing to AEG Live, the pro­moter of Me­tal­lica’s China de­but, 10,000 tick­ets for the first show were sold in a few min­utes, prompt­ing the sched­ul­ing of another con­cert the next day.

Jiang, in his 40s, who has been lis­ten­ing to Me­tal­lica’s mu­sic since 1993, went to both shows and bought tick­ets in the front row.

The ex­cite­ment is re­turn­ing for Chi­nese fans like Jiang: the Grammy Award­win­ning rock band will re­turn to Asia with a con­cert in Shang­hai on Jan 15 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. Me­tal­lica will then make its de­but in Bei­jing on Jan 18 at the LeS­ports Cen­ter.

“Tick­ets of their Bei­jing show sold out within min­utes. It will be another epic night,” says Jiang.

Mem­bers of Me­tal­lica shared the fever­ish en­thu­si­asm of Chi­nese fans dur­ing their stay in Shang­hai in 2013.

“We didn’t re­ally have much ex­pec­ta­tions go­ing into China, be­cause it’s a new place and we try not to ex­pect too much,” says lead gui­tarist Kirk Ham­mett.

“But once we got there, we were very sur­prised how well-versed the fans were with our mu­sic. They knew the songs re­ally re­ally well.

“The pure en­thu­si­asm that we saw ev­ery­where — be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter the show — it was like just a very, very cool thing to see how much the Chi­nese au­di­ence ap­pre­ci­ated the fact that we were there. There were peo­ple who were cry­ing in the au­di­ence be­cause they were so happy. At least, I think that’s why they were cry­ing,” adds Ham­mett.

The band con­tin­ued its re­la­tion­ship with China by team­ing up with Chi­nese pi­anist Lang Lang at the an­nual Grammy Awards in Los An­ge­les on Jan 26, 2014. They per­formed Me­tal­lica’s clas­sic song One, the first sin­gle from their 1988 al­bum, and Jus­tice for All.

Be­cause the Grammy broad­cast aired on TV in Shang­hai and ra­dio in Bei­jing, the per­for­mance caused a stir among Chi­nese fans.

Formed in 1981 by drum­mer Lars Ul­rich and gui­tarist and vo­cal­ist James Het­field, Me­tal­lica has become one of the most in­flu­en­tial and com­mer­cially suc­cess­ful rock bands in his­tory, hav­ing sold 110 mil­lion al­bums world­wide.

The band re­leased its 11th stu­dio al­bum, Hard­wired … To Self-De­struct, on Nov 18. The two CD / two vinyl set earned the band its sixth No 1 al­bum on the Bill­board Top 200 and de­buted at No 1 in 23 coun­tries. The newal­bum was recorded en­tirely inHQ, a first for the band.

“It’s like, every time we record an al­bum, it’s a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence. And there’s so many dif­fer­ent things that we change in the stu­dio. A lot that has to do with the songs, a lot has to do with, you know, how we play our in­stru­ments at that point of time,” says Ham­mett.

What has made Me­tal­lica mem­bers proud­est in the past 30 years, he says, is that they are still to­gether.

Their goal? “Just do what­ever you are do­ing, just try to do it with the best you pos­si­bly can, try to be as hon­est about it as pos­si­ble,” he says.

“And don’t lose touch of that in­ner voice, man, be­cause that will guide you through the mu­sic, and all that whole creative process that come with play­ing mu­sic.”

In 2016, more than 900,000 fans vis­ited the Mercedes-Benz Arena which pre­sented 273 tick­eted events, thereby mak­ing it Asia’s No 1 sports and en­ter­tain­ment venue.

Since 2011, AEG has brought to the venue in Shang­hai, as well as other venues in China, su­per­star artists such as Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Tay­lor Swift and the Rolling Stones.

Re­cently, the Ger­man au­tomaker brand MercedesBenz has ex­tended its part­ner­ship with AEG and Ori­en­tal Pearl Group for the nam­ing rights of MercedesBenz Arena in Shang­hai un­til 2025, an ad­di­tional five years be­yond the ex­ist­ing 10-year deal negotiated by Amer­i­can arena op­er­a­tor AEG, which com­menced in 2011.

Con­tact the writer at chen­nan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Me­tal­lica, formed in 1981, is one of the most in­flu­en­tial and com­mer­cially suc­cess­ful rock bands in his­tory. Kirk Ham­mett, lead gui­tarist

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