The metal music scene is becoming an increasingly more dangerous environment by the minute. What was once a safe haven for blowing off steam, forgetting your worries and getting out your frustration and anger in a healthy manner has now become a battle field – where no one is safe.
I’m not even referring to mosh pits, specifically – although they too have become more dangerous over time – but the whole scene.
For a long time, it was mainly the fans that were in danger of being in the line of fire or getting hurt at concerts. This often occurs through mosh pits and crowds that get out of hand or riot. Such was the case at the August 1992 Metallica and Guns N’ Roses concert at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.
Metallica’s set was cut short when front-man James Hetfield was severely burned and rushed to the hospital. Guns N’ Roses were asked to save the show, but lead signer Axl Rose claimed he was having voice problems that night and, after four songs, walked off the stage and abruptly ended the set. The result: riot.
Another example of concerts getting out of hand was the 1999 edition of Woodstock. Things were going fine on days one and two. Day three, riots broke out. Why? Fans were upset at high water and food prices.
However, fans are no longer the only people in danger at concerts, as bands have now become just as likely to be victims at the shows. The most extreme example was Dec. 8, 2004, when “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott of Pantera fame was gunned down while performing on stage with Damageplan. Twenty-five-year-old Nathan Gale walked across the stage, grabbed Abbot and shot him repeatedly in the head before he was shot by an on-duty policeman responding to the scene.
You would think this tragic event would teach fans to come together, be there for one another and help each other out. Apparently not. This tragedy wasn’t enough to teach fans a lesson. It wasn’t even enough to teach people in the industry to be nice to each other.
During Ozzfest last summer, members in Iron Maiden had eggs and various other objects thrown at them. The attack was supposed to make people think fans were fed up with Iron Maiden and had smuggled the eggs into the concert. But it was later revealed that Sharon Osbourne was actually behind the sabotage.
In an interview with Kerrang! Magazine, Osbourne admitted to arranging the whole attack, claiming they deserved it because lead singer Bruce Dickinson had been bad-mouthing the tour from day one. This kind of thing just shouldn’t happen – especially from someone in charge of the tour who should know better than to pull such shenanigans.
I think fans and followers of the metal music scene should take a lesson from the hardcore fans. At hardcore shows, the sense of family and community is amazing. Everyone knows everyone, the fans know the bands and all the lyrics and the bands know each other. Fans run up to the front just to shout some lyrics into the microphone, graciously extended every so often by the singers. That is how a concert should be. Everyone should be there to have a good time, be able to enjoy themselves and not have to worry about their own safety or the safety of the bands they’re going to see.