...if it weren't for you meddling kids!

A couple of weeks ago on a Saturday I went on a run, and as I crossed one of the bridges over the Danube (just a kilometer away from my apartment) I heard music begin to play. On my way back I say a small
crowd of people standing at the side of the bridge on the north end looking down at the foot/bike path below.

What I saw was not particularly special if it weren't for the scale and timing of it all. It was before dark, and there were about forty youngsters with spray cans blasting music and vandalizing the layers graffiti that I assume had been there as long as this 100 meter section of wall. Now, I can't imagine that these guys were going to make the wall look any worse than it did already (although the old graffiti wasn't bad at all), but isn't that a crime?

Then I began to think about it. Obviously this was a fairly well-organized event, complete with a hefty boombox and enough paint to arm an entire junior high class. So maybe they cleared it with the city? Hmmm. Maybe the city knows that vandalism happens, so they might as well allow it on their terms (I've also seen people not dressed in uniforms cleaning spray paint off of the top side of the same bridge... punishment?). Maybe, just maybe.

"Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow." -Lawrence Clark Powell


The Empty Can Rattles the Most

I went to a Metallica concert on July 5th. Awesome. I have to say that, right? I mean, I paid fifty eurobucks to see these guys when
they came to visit, practically in my back yard, waited around for two hours while Bullet for My Valentine DIDN'T play (sorry M.), but Heaven and Hell (Black Sabbath minus Ozzy plus Dio) did, and got to see James, Lars, Kirk, and Robert (Trujillo, DUH!) rock everyone's socks off for about three hours. how could that NOT be awesome?

Well, to tell you the truth, they played all of my favorite songs. I think the only one I was hoping to hear but didn't was "King Nothing". Otherwise, "Fade to Black", "Orion", and "And Justice for All" were in with the usual set. I never expected those.

The first time Metallica left the stage, the crowd was heartily fighting a silence that ended up getting the upper hand moments before the initial sliding guitar notes of "Wherever I May Roam," one of the undeniable (but often overlooked due to high popularity) masterpieces. That's raw energy, almost as pure as what I call "the sound of adrenaline" at the begining of "King Nothing".

There were two or three choreographed encores, I can't remember exactly, and a personal interlude of Trujillo's bass skills (of which he has plenty). I have newfound respect for Ulrich's thumping ability, absolute awe at Hammet's talent, and a genuine belief that these guys play music for the right reasons (but hate any form of stealing!). What I didn't leave with was a good idea of why I was there.

Don't get me wrong. Metallica was my favorite band for about a third of my life (maybe still is?) and will always be on my Top 5 list, if I had one. But I didn't belong at that concert. I have all of the albums (except one... did anyone actually buy St. Anger?) at home, and that's all I want.

I don't want to listen to "For Whom the Bell Tolls" being drowned out by a crowd of screaming fans; I want to hear the music. Music, like literature and poetry, is personal. It has a unique effect on my mind and my body that is easily squelched by a wall of thousands of people.

The next concert I go to will be one where the fans don't scream. The Vienna Symphony sounds good. And I'll only listen to Metallica on my own terms, alone or on headphones, when I can appreciate it. And in the mean time, if you like going to concerts, please tell me why. I'm sorry, I really don't understand.