The year was 1988, and I was a freshman in college at the University of Oklahoma. Many significant things happened that year, but probably the most important to me was seeing Metallica in concert for the first time.
The show was at the Myriad Convention Center in Oklahoma City. As usual, my friends and I showed up many hours before the concert in order to meet the band, and this was the big one – Metallica. The mightiest and most loved of the big four of thrash. They were an obsession to me and my friends, but especially me. My nickname at the time was Mattallica, after all.
There was one big problem, though. The tour buses were nestled deep inside the huge building. Our only hope was that the band was staying at the nice hotel across the street. We had heard of other bands staying there, so it was plausible. The other problem – it was rumored there was a tunnel that went under the street and connected the hotel to the Myriad. I still don’t know if that is true or not.
So we waited in the lobby, hoping against hope to meet our idols. We hadn’t bought tickets for the concert from Ticketmaster. Sounds crazy, huh? This was Metallica, after all. That’s precisely why we paid $60 to a scalper for front row seats. I’ll say that again – front row. Metallica. Yes.
Sixty bucks is probably the price for a cheap seat now, but back then the tickets we bought had a face value of $16.50.
Back to the hotel lobby. We waited and waited, and it was beyond boring. Plus, we thought we might get kicked out at any time. We didn’t have cell phones to amuse us back then. We just sat and waited. Eventually, more fans showed up and loitered around the main elevators. My friends and I made a little discovery, though, because we were experienced band stalkers. We found another elevator that only went to the upper floors. V.I.P., baby. Another benefit – it was around the corner from the other one, so nobody else could see us sitting back there.
A bell dinged and a light illuminated. The doors opened and… James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett stepped out. The real beauty part was that they were waiting for Jason Newsted to come down from his room, which didn’t happen for a good fifteen minutes or so. We had quality time with our idols for five or ten minutes before the other fans figured things out. It was really cool. We got lots of autographs, and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett even signed my front row ticket. When Newsted finally came down, he was in a rush. He stopped only long enough to give a single autograph – to me.
Everything was perfect – until Metallica came on stage that night. This incredible jerk, who was probably about thirty years old, was behind me and my friends, but was not satisfied with that. He incessantly attempted to wedge his body between us to usurp our spot against the steel barrier. That was NOT going to happen. My friend Ty and I locked our arms together and overlapped our legs. From time to time, we would give a mighty shove backward to halt this jerk’s maneuvering.
We attempted to reason with him. Second row wasn’t so bad, after all. It didn’t work. Instead, the jerk upped his game. He started kneeing us in the back of the legs as hard as he could. We pleaded with the nearest bouncer to intervene, but he did not. We donkey-kicked the jerk in retaliation, but those didn’t inflict near what he was dishing out to us.
I was about to lose it. I was front row, seeing my favorite band, and it was being ruined by some jerk! I told the bouncer that if a fight happened, the jerk behind us was the one who was going to start it.
Seconds later, the jerk punched me in the side of my head. A little background here – I was 5’8” and weighed about 165. I had the reflexes of a mongoose, due to a lifetime of playing sports and video games. And I’d been in a few fights.
I wheeled around with a backhand punch, the only one of its type I have ever thrown in my life, and it found its target. I felt the jerk’s nose crush beneath my fist. The jerk bent forward to cradle his face in his hands, but I delivered three quick uppercuts to his badly broken schnoz on the way down. I jumped back into the crowd, which had cleared around us, sure that I was going to be kicked out. The jerk stayed down for a while, then stood back up and brought his hands down. The lower half of his face was covered in blood. He stared at me for a moment, in shock, then turned and walked away. Everyone in the area was cheering for me and clapping me on the back. They had witnessed the jerk in action.
I looked at the security guard. He smiled at me.
I know that sounds like a lot of excitement for one night, but it was just getting started. Part Two is coming in my next post.
Here’s the ticket stub. Yes, that is Row A, and it is autographed by Kirk Hammett.
Read the conclusion of the story here – http://backstagepasspublishing.com/2013/02/09/the-time-i-beat-the-sht-outta-some-jerk-at-a-metallica-concert-part-2/