(Rest of the New York details are forthcoming, I swear. --Ed.) There's no nice way to say this: I went to a Metallica concert. Jim, the disgrunted Yankee that sat next to me, just moved on to a new job. On his last day of work, around four in the afternoon, he loaded his fiancee and cat into his stylish black VW bug, and started a trek across the country. As he walked across the business quad for the last time, I waved goodbye from his office window. He waved back. I glanced quickly around at all his possessions, most of which he left behind. On the wall were his two tickets to the concert, which he had forgotten. I continued to wave until he was out of sight. Once Jim was gone, the looting began. Andrew, one of Loki's programmers, hung a sign that said, "Oooh, AUCTION!" over Jim's desk. Like vultures, we swooped in to feast on the corpse of Jim's workspace. Little toy penguins, computer speakers, an OpenGL reference, and that really cool USB mouse: all gone in a matter of minutes. I vocally shunned this horrible display of savageness as I pocketed the tickets. I didn't really want to see a Metallica concert. In fact, I considered hocking the tickets on eBay. But Scott had a plan. Metallica has been getting a lot of press recently for taking action against Napster, a company (and technology) that allows people to effectively pirate music over the internet. If you haven't heard of Napster, get your head out of the sand. If you don't know what an "MP3" is...don't worry, you will. Scott and a couple other Loki guys were going to the show, too. So we all went together, dressed appropriately. Take a look at http://www.icculus.org/~icculus/metallica/ for pictures. Doesn't Scott remind you of Hannibal from the A-Team with that cigar? :) The concert itself wasn't too great. Vogel (who got Jim's other ticket) and myself were planning to show up for Korn, and leave. Since we all ended up piled in one car, that didn't happen. We missed the pissant opening bands, and showed up JUST IN TIME for (ahem) Kid Rock. What joy. Ron Jeremy (the porn star) announcing the Kid Rock was probably the highlight of the hour. There was a three-year old up on stage rapping with Kid. Maybe it was a midget. I hear they hang out with porn stars sometimes. Don't get me wrong; I don't want to bash on Kid Rock too much...his music isn't very good, and he sounds VERY market-engineered, much like Vanilla Ice, Britney Spears, or any random Boy Band. What this means is that he's the music industry's whore, and in every industry whore there's an individual, a sincere artist, struggling to surface. Which is fine; I wish him all the best. Unfortunately, in five years, when he's releasing an all-acoustic guitar album with no rap, he's still gonna just be Kid Rock. Go and ask Everlast how that all went for him. The girl sitting next to me spent most of the Kid Rock's set guzzling beer. For someone that looks like White Trash, she MUST have been rich; the beer was five bucks per paper cupfull in the stadium, and she surely emptied a keg by herself. She was good and sloshed by the time Kid Rock finished his schtick. By the time the crew had loaded his equipment offstage, she was litterally falling over on me. I had stood up to watch the boobs. More on this in a moment. This girl next to me stood up on her chair to get a better view herself, and put her hand on my shoulder to steady herself. This is fine. Within a few minutes, her arm was around me, and she was telling me that we (not editorial, as in "she and I") were going to have a really good time tonight. You betcha. I responded with something along the lines of "Please don't touch me," and she took the hint. A few minutes later she was passed out, and I was holding her head up so that she wouldn't smack it against the back of the chair. I was reminded fondly of my college days. Now, about those boobs. It took a good half hour between bands for the crew to set up for the next one. The crowd got restless, and out of nowhere, some girl stood up and flashed everyone. The mob went wild. Soon other girls joined in. You could get a sense of where a tit-showing was going to occur, since the girl would stand up and get everyone's attention, and then, like human personifications of their genitalia, all the men around her would rise to attention. It wasn't long before we were scanning the throng of 50,000 horny voyeurs to find groups of men standing up to get a better view. As the girl lifted her shirt, everyone would go nuts for a second, cheering wildly. If the girl chickened out at the last moment, the crowd would boo until she was pressured into it. It was a fascinating study in social science. At one point, a girl a few rows from me stood up (I think probably to go to the bathroom, not so much to show her breasts), and everyone around her circled like wolves. She sat right back down when she realized what was occuring, and the mob booed and hissed. I yelled something to the extent of "She's just a girl, leave her alone you pricks!" and was amazed to find that everyone else from Loki had abandoned me. One girl was going up and down the stairs of my section flashing the audience and playing with her nipples. Every now and then, she'd collect tips. It was a true exploitation of exploitation. It was Capitalism at its best. Korn played next. Korn's fucked up. I appreciate a band that'll produce songs like "Dead Bodies Everywhere." The lead singer was wearing a black kilt, and played the bagpipes at one point. I enjoyed the set thoroughly. Right after Korn started, the passed-out chick in the seat next to me shot up to attention, hopped over the back of her seat, and wanderer off. Her sister, two seats down from me, either didn't notice or didn't care. I suspected I wouldn't be seeing that girl again, and sure enough, she didn't return for more than two hours. After Korn, there were more strip shows in various pockets throughout the arena, followed by a food fight that engulfed the entire Los Angeles Memorial Colliseum. I found it was better to watch the rows above me for incoming Cokes and hot dogs than it was to watch the attention-starved and peered-pressured that were distributing cheap thrills. Eventually, Metallica started. I approached this portion of the night much like I approach car races; I imagined that even if the music sucked, if I was really lucky, I might see James Hetfield accidentally set himself on fire again. I don't have much to say about Metallica. I don't like most of their songs. They have a good stage presence that masked the fact that the technical system in the colliseum sucked. Lars Ulrich still wants to be Ozzy Osborne, and he still isn't. They played THREE encores. I think this is what Hell must be like. The best part of the Metallica set was the group of people that broke through a gate to get to the ground level. Ten or fifteen people spilled out and made a mad dash towards the stage. They disappeared as they entered the crowd, and thereby technically upgraded their seats. As the sixteenth person attempted the dash he learned the hard way that the old maxim is true: he who hesitates is lost. Without the chaotic safety of numbers, the security guards tackled him, and wrestled him to the ground. No one else tried to go through after that. >From my view hundreds of feet above, it seemed very obvious that if they all just streamed out at this point, security, three of which were occupied holding that guy down, wouldn't be able to stop them. Maybe one of them would get caught out of 100 more. I imagine this is how revolutions die before they start; sure, the military can't possibly shoot ALL the revolutionaries...but someone's gonna get shot. A false belief in the comfort of the current situation is a phenominal demotivator. Hhm. What a metaphor. Someone email me back that last paragraph next time I say something quaint about my life. --ryan.