Well for starters like all the fans of metallica. I was also waiting for them to come and sing at my hometown. The luck had it that they were coming to India for the first time and that too in Delhi. However, there is an old saying that somethings are too good to be true.
The concert never occurred and I for one with my friends was sitting very near to the barricade where the mess was about to begin. Therefore was witness to alot of problem and how the organizers were trying to “calm” the crowd.
This whole preparation for Metallica concert began 2 week prior to the concert date. I fail to understand that not one person thought that barricade issue must be dealt with in advance.Though this below “birds eye view” pic that a friend of my took, let one to believe that there would be no toilets too. ( But that was not the case, there were toilets)
Both my friends and I were excited as the date for the concert came near. On the very day of the concert. Like most people attending my friends took the day off. I in order to fulfill my duties at office reached the spot after lunch after performing the necessary work. In short half day. (Being in gurgaon, it was easy just like a dream but the dream did turn sour)
My friends reached the spot at 1:30 pm via delhi metro (the most convenient of the rides in and around Delhi). Upon reaching the spot they called me to reach the place where they were sitting. This whole thing was preceded by the day before buying of Metallica T-shirts from Palika Bazaar at CP. Something which we were unsuccessful in doing as there were NO Metallica T shirts left (can you imagine the madness). The T shirts of the other bands were selling like hot cakes but costing 500 to 700 Rupees ( but the cloth was on Rs 100 quality).
Anyway, Sandeep Kanwar Azrawat (also with love called BODY, since he emulates Salman Khan in physical department), the Haryanvi Rajput with a remarkable confidence and die hard spirit suggested that we should go ahead with our band Arcane deception’s T shirts as they are of better quality and reasonable price. ( arcane deception is a Band started by one our friends , so we like to call it ours, Indian mentality 🙂 )
Finally, Sandeep Kunwar Azrawat along with Mr Punia and Mr Prem were already in and sitting on the right side of the stage enjoying. When I called them they said I should go for gate no 3 for entry, this was so as most people were standing on gate no 1. With no one to tell them that gate No 3 is virtually free ( crowd management tsk…. tsk…. ).
I fought through the crowd from gate no 1 into gate no 3, in the process noticing loads of smoking (both boys and girls, gender equality guys, if a guy can die of a lung cancer why would a girl want to feel left behind, some females do feel a need to neutralize that gap for sure). Then I saw a boy trying to help a girl who got her leg cut,putting her feet on his jeans and taking care of the wound on the leg (I bet it was sure love sight for girls ).
Upon reaching the “frisking” counter, I was frisked by 10 guys some even looked at my socks but as other blogs are saying there were no metal detectors. I for one could see people smoking inside the park, so what was the other gates doing.
Well I finally reached the spot where Premchand Singh (no relation to literary giant of hindi), Sandeep Kunwar Azrawat and Captain Punia were seated. We greated each other with rowdy madness as if we were the lost brothers meeting after 20 years of civil war ( I guess once you go through the civil war at all the gates, emotions do pour out unchecked :)).
Later we realized that there were Iranians also in our crowd sitting in front row. Puffing their cigarettes. Now the issue came of water. Mr Rao ( the wiseone from AMERIKA) had told me about potential situation of too much water drinking and leading situation where you leave the seat and your seat is gone. So it was decided that no intake of water till concert is over but on the other side people were throwing bottles from barricade region to friends.
The situation over our left started to boil and after repeated being asked to get up or get back their was blockade in left side of us. The sight from our side “was people hanging out of blueline buses” just to reach the destination. (an analogy ofcourse)
The white man or goraa as people around me were addressing, asked to get up and get back or else the CONCERT is not going to occur.Those of us seating retorted “concert to tera baap bhi karega”….. after all waiting there for 2 hours such threats were bit too much and then the technical staff said that get up and move to left side crowd, the dumb heads from our side obeying like puppies stood up….. then sat down after told to sit, when the instruction were only for left hand side crowd ( now you can understand the quality of communication going on between the crowd and “organizers”. This process occurred 5 to 6 times.
Eventually the one of the crew from Metallica became furious and called ” YOU BUTT Heads” move back…….. honestly it evoked laughter from our side….
Now we did realize that there would be some problem, the crew from Metallica kept on saying that no body is going get hurt. If you donot move back there would be no show. Therefore from our side we started shouting “MOVE BACK” in chorus to our fellow indians, hoping that situation would be better.
In India more crowd have been handled better in the Camps of Baba Ramdevs , Sri Sri Ravishankars ( both having huge following like rockstars because of the spiritual aspect of it) or even for that matter bollywood stars who are worshiped as gods.
In this whole process no music was played, so basically I and my friends felt like we were standing in our school assembly doing the drill for a Srgt. None the less we did find time to tell the technical staff via sign that we want music and our side was pretty much calm, so an evading response from the crew did create some uneasiness.
Then there were scenes where boyfriends were trying to protect their girlfriends from stamped, this evoked a debate among guys that “salla girlfriend ko aise concerts mein lane ka yahi lochcha rehta hai……. kudh bachcho na bachcho, inne jarur bachana padta hai”
The moment we saw a couple falling, one group sitting back near us said…… ” Goddi mein uthaa le , aur kuch na hona” …. in short pick her up in your arms that is the best solution. The lads however were more fortunate, as falling down they were enjoying and shouting the national abusive word of India to vent out frustartion ” BC……… BC……. MC…… haat… sallleee……. BC “
To fancy of Sandeep Kunwar Azrawat, he located a cow boy (atleast what he wanted to call them). He was of the opinion that cowboy dude must be unleashed onto the crowd so that things could be settled. Without doubt “cowboy dude” had a sylvester stallone type built. ( but one doubts that it would have solved the purpose)
Moving forward one could see things falling apart, as slowly equipments were being removed from stage. By 5:30 pm, it was 3 hours, without water (which we had put restrictions on ourself) and crammed space.The four of us were tired and looked for some entertainment. The fellow indians sitting in front of us were from north east and were puffing a cigarette each ( must be their way of calming down, in my view “killing themselves” ). We however did see a crowd which normally would define delhi roads, so like young men our eyes wandered.
There were a list of people such as :
- The office bunkers ( just like us)
- The Sadhu imitators ( Those have hair locks just like them)
- The newly weds ( girls with their bangles still on clinging to their husbands)
- pretty girls with their “boyfriends” (okey, that made us little bit envious)
- nerds wearing their metallica T shirts
- school boys
- college gang of boys
- “aggressive females” puffing cigarettes like they were in a hurry to catch a train
- middle aged men (hoping their dream will be realized of watching metallica play before they are too old)
- Pseudos trying to be one with crowd
- Foreigners ( white, blacks and Asians)
- Iranians ( They are of Aryan family so I thought they deserve a special mention 🙂 )
- Media people
- The local Indian security staff aka Bouncer “bhai”.
- Our seniors and college batchmates.
- Our Juniors in school and college.
- Most importantly the “technical” crew.
It was 6:00 pm when we got tired of sitting and somebody just got up from our side and so did we. After couple of minutes we saw the BUTT HEAD guy appearing again, I though that Indian organiser’s “Bhai log beth jauu” and “Bhai log peeche ho jauu, nahi toh concert nahi hone ka hai” were of no affect. Therefore they wanted to “unleash ” the weapon or “Srgt” as we called him.
To my surprise he was very calm. I think he knew that “we knew” that no concert was going to take place and things were getting hostile. Most of the equipments were removed from stage as though they were ready for a mayhem to come. Already the shouts of “LOSAR” were emerging from crowd along with “PLAY SOME MUSIC “.
Then the “Srgt” spoke…… “you see the show has been postponed for tomorrow 4 pm due to technical reasons”, in a very calm and soft voice. The moment he said that there were “Booooos” from the crowd. Understandably because of the frustration of standing for 3 hours. We were sitting, but we were exceptions as being on front we were expected to sit. ( mind you, we were there since 2:30 pm)
Then he spoke again, then just like a flash a bottle went from back side of the crowd over my head falling short of stage. The indian “organizers” sensing the mood took over the mike. Their little speech infatuated the crowd more and now there were loads of bottle flying over my head into the stage. This occurred simultaneously from both sides from my back and from my left.
It was pressure cooker situation there. More like a Tsunami coming your way.The crowd started to move out as we knew nothing could be done but people at the back of us and on the left of us were furious. Then like a sudden rush it began. Whoever had a bottle at their hand threw at the stage. We just watched in amazement. Sandeep Kunwar Azrawat in his intuition knew things would go bad. He suggested we move fast out of there. Then four of us moved out. In the process however we overheard people wondering as to what would happen of the tickets ? The tickets which were already thrown away, what about those guys ?
There were lots of questions whose answers “organizers” were not giving right.We kept the tickets with ourself hoping to see it next day at 4pm. It was Saturday and we lived in NCR. We were however oblivious of the fact that many people came from far places, as far as Turkey and Thailand. Moving out we did realize that right side was getting emptied out but left side ( the side near gate no 1 and 2 ) was still jam packed.
It took 2 hours for us to realize that concert was actually canceled as the news was broadcast on news channels. The most sensationalized news was obviously on a channel which shows “populous rather than popular news“, that Metallica fans create ruckus. Like always an Oxford graduate was “educating” the masses about the notorious behavior and shame it caused on India.
Honestly from a fan’s point of view it was a huge disappointment and now I have read that in Bangalore too things were not as lovely as shown. Another group of our friends went to Bangalore to see the show as they had already bought tickets for both shows.
Sir, your music is remarkable and your band was formed long before I was born. In short one can say that many like me were raised on your music and look upto you. I cannot say that I can delete your music from my playlist etc ( as some may say)… because it is impossible for me to do so. Your songs and lyrics are too much entangled in my identity as such. To dissociate it would be too much.
As far as damage is concerned I wish to apologize on behalf of my fellow Indians if it caused pain to you, but on a separate note in view to those of us who grew on your music are bound to have that “spark” which may turn into a fire (if ever such unforeseen circumstances may arise) things were not handled properly and there was lots of frustration. I do not know whether you would come to India and more specifically to Delhi again. All I wish to say is that donot stop playing for next 10 years (atleast). If it means that I have come to US to watch you play, then I shall but since it will require loads of saving and travel cost (therefore the request but one will manage). I will come there none the less, because somethings Die hard.
On a lighter note, your songs which I consider my favorite are :