Over 100,000 fans pack the Plains for Metallica

Photo: Jay Ouellet

Metallica frontman James Hetfield, during the performance.

Over 100,000 fans gorged the Plains of Abraham on July 16 for a supershow that included Dance Larry Dance, guitarist Joe Satriani and Metallica.
For years, music lovers have been requesting that Metallica, a heavy metal band, perform at Summer Fest. Single-day passes for Saturday’s show sold out in a few days, a testament to the group’s strong Quebec following.
“We’ve known about this festival for a long time. There’s not many words to describe the feeling of being here with so many beautiful people who love and need music in their lives,” said frontman James Hetfield, during the performance.

Excitement, and even a little crowd chaos, swept the Plains hours before Metallica went on stage. Some of the more devilish devotees rushed the main entrance gate. Subsequently, security tightened and the entrance was closed, forcing hundreds to watch the band on big screens.

“There were a lot of arrests. At first there were too many people at one entrance and people were jumping over the gates to get inside while they were closed,” said a Quebec Police Officer who wishes to remain anonymous.
Left-out Metallica devotees expressed disappointment at purchasing a pass only to discover that being on time was too late. “We’ve been waiting here for many hours. It was impossible to enter. We were told that when the gate opened, they lost control. I’m even more disappointed that for some reason, they turned off the screens,” said Christian Maltais, a fan.

Within the fences and gates, energy and enthusiasm were at an all-time high. Bursts of pyrotechnics fired up the crowd during the almost two-hour set, which included popular old favorites such as “One,” “Fade to Black,” and “Nothing Else Matters.” “Creeping Death,” from Ride the Lightning started off the set and “Seek and Destroy,” often described as a Metallica standard, put the much-anticipated performance to rest.

“I feel something special here. Do you feel it Quebec?” asked Hetfield. The mass of metal heads responded with the signature devil horns and ear-splitting screams.

It’s no surprise that Metallica garnered the “Mirror of Most Popular Show” prize, awarded after a landslide public vote on a website. Since 1989, the Summer Festival has awarded Mirror Prizes to exceptional talent in the festival.