Hit the Lights: A Long Journey Towards Metallica’s Stage
/ 20 September 2013

Arian from Seringai decided to share his story with Sub-Cult when his band got the honor of being the opening act for Metallica’s concert in Jakarta a few while ago. This is his story. For those of you who would like to read this story in Indonesian, click here

A short account of Seringai’s vocalist, Arian13. From failing to watch the Metallica Concert back in 1993 to being the opening act of their concert in 2013.

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“Is Seringai free on the 25th of August?” A call at 2am from Krishna Radhitya, promoter Black Rock Entertainment, about 10 days before D-Day. Maha from Marketbiz Future Media had told me in advance that my number was given to a promoter. I answered that we were obviously free because we were going to the concert while I made some assumptions on where the conversation was going.

“I’m not promising you guys anything, but if we were to recommend Seringai to be Metallica’s opening act, will you guys be ready?” Though surprised, without a doubt and full of confidence, I said “We’re definitely ready!”

The short conversation ended and I contacted Seringai’s guitarist, Ricky, because he was the one who would still be up at 2 in the morning. I contacted the other band members first thing the next morning. It was clear that everybody was shocked at first yet we didn’t want to get our hopes up as if it were not to happen, it would not be a problem. Meanwhile, we teased our drummer, Khemod, who once tweeted that there shouldn’t be any opening acts for the Metallica Concert and if this were to really happen, he should eat his words. *laughs*

Becoming an opening act isn’t an opportunity that Seringai often gets as we are fans of the music and we love to attend concerts of the bands that we love. Once Seringai became one of the opening acts for Dragonforce’s concert, but it eventually felt like a small music festival compared to being an opening act of the headliner.

So anyway, we then had a long conversation with Krishna and Priam from Black Rock Entertainment about their plan to recommend Seringai as Metallica’s opening act. What we knew so far was that Seringai was not the only band to be recommended but there were a few local bands. We were told to prepare an Electronic Press Kit (EPK), so for the next two days after that meeting, we were caught up preparing the EPK which we had never prepared before. Bands usually have an EPK, but from Seringai’s 11 years of existence, we never made an EPK. After it was finished, I sent it to Black Rock Entertainment and tried not to think about it too much. Of course we couldn’t lie to ourselves; we always thought about it. *laughs*

One evening, just four days before the concert, Krishna called us again.

He said, “It’s confirmed from Metallica, Seringai will open for them.” FUCK. *laughs*. I cursed when I should’ve said thankful prayers. Not that I wasn’t happy, not that at all, but it was how I showed my huge excitement. Apparently, some people from Black Rock Entertainment met Metallica’s management when they had a show on the 21st of August in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and got the news that Seringai’s profile was approved by them. At that time I didn’t know whether “them” referred to the members of Metallica themselves or their management. I also didn’t ask around because it was surely confirmed and we had to really prepare ourselves as this could be one of our biggest moments. Not that long ago we got the word that the members didn’t choose the opening act but the management did. It wasn’t a problem at all, we were still happy anyway!

Seringai did grow up in a few stages, from small clubs like BB’s Cafe, Parc, Borneo Beerhouse that was only filled with 50-100 people, to big stages such as Soundrenaline, Hammersonic and Bandung Berisik which was attended by 30,000 to 40,000 people.  We were also having routine practice almost every week at that time, either to memorize our parts, or to try to make new songs. These last few months we often practiced to make new songs which was planned to be released with another band we know well and like; a split album. For those who aren’t familiar with Seringai, we have released two full albums, a mini album, and a few singles for several underground/independent and local music compilations since 2003; just a year after Seringai was formed.

To perform live, I’ve always believed that a band should still bring the same amount of energy, whether they play for only five people or even 5,000 people. Perform for ourselves, and when you enjoy it, nothing else matters.

So, how big an influence is Metallica for me?

Big. Very big. I grew up in the era where Metallica released their masterpiece albums. Their first recording I own was a cassette, “The Very Best of Metallica” from 1987. Though I forgot where it was released, one thing for sure is that it was the time when music albums still became pirated goods that are sold officially in local cassette stores. Its contents: a compilation of Metallica’s best songs from Kill ‘Em All to the Master of Puppets album. Before that time, the only metal I heard was Iron Maiden and like typical metalheads, the further we go the more extreme the music gets.

In 1988, every pirated cassette was forbidden and withdrawn from sales, I remembered Metallica released …And Justice For All which was officially released here in Indonesia, so there were some labels who sold the pirated ones secretly. Fortunately, I got hold of that album along with Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction. The first time I was in a band I was in Junior High School, I remembered the first songs we ventured on were “Seek And Destroy”, “Master of Puppets”, “Jump in the Fire”, and The Ramones’ “I Believe In Miracles”. We started performing at school events and Indonesian Independence day stages. At the time, most bands played fusion jazz or new wave and the rock/metal bands, known for hard rock music hairbands, power metal with high vocals screeching with a glam rock look, while Metallica on the other hand, seen in imported music and skate magazines, wasn’t that far away from our own style: t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers. Band t-shirts that were often worn by James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett often made us want to find out more about those bands. The Misfits, Danzig, Faith No More, Discharge, Metal Church, Onslaught.. and before there was internet, the only way to find imported recording was to contact a friend or family that was abroad. Seringai’s drummer, Khemod, started his ‘band career’ in a thrash metal band called Orion. Orion owned rock and metal underground stages in the early 90s in Bandung even though they didn’t have their own songs and covered thrash metal songs that they personally liked, including Metallica’s.

I remembered in 1990, my school held a study tour to Yogyakarta. A few classmates and I made a big poster with “Metallica Tour 1990” written on it to be placed on our bus. We imagined that we were a member of our favorite band and we were on tour.

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Early 2013, Seringai’s album, Taring, was sold quite a lot since its release in July 2012, about 25,000 copies were sold. Because we released it ourselves, there were no shares that were intended for other parties, most of it came back to our band’s management. We decided to use some of the money to go to Perth, Australia last March to watch Soundwave Festival. It was a somewhat vacation for the band. There were some cool bands that performed there; Slayer, Anthrax, Fantomas, Ghost, Orange Goblin, Red Fang, Vision of Disorder, Kyuss Lives, and others. The headliner was Metallica. We were really excited when Metallica finally came on stage and played songs that we were familiar with, it was an unforgettable and touching experience. We always joked that now we have seen The Big 4, though separately, we officially passed metal’s rite of passage.

In addition, we talked about how hard it was for this great metal band to come to Indonesia. Assuming that the production cost that is really expensive, maybe even more expensive that the band itself. A month after we went home, we heard that there was a promoter that was crazy enough to bring Metallica to Indonesia. Fuck. We imagined how great it would be to watch our favorite band in our own country. We always told our friends that had doubts in watching Metallica live, “You gotta see them, it’s a great experience!”

Until the part where Black Rock Entertainment was surely going to bring them here, Wendi and I actively joined promoting with passion, without anyone asking for it. There were some doubts because the concert was not that evident, so my friends and I bought tickets to see Metallica Live in Singapore, which dates had been fixed. It was not a problem to watch a band as great as Metallica twice. Of course we directly booked the tickets when the Jakarta concert ticket sales were open. If everything were to go by our plans, we would have watched Metallica three times that year. We did actually work hard to find extra money to fund our plans.

Not long after that, Aditya Pratomo (@kotakmakan) made a twitter account; @DemiMetallica and hashtag #DemiMetallica which basically means ‘For Metallica’ in Indonesian language. The twitter account helped metalheads who wanted to watch their favorite band but was with a tight budget. They could sell anything, or even trade their skills (such as illustration, art work, design skills, and more) and promote it there. I also promoted the account because I hate fans that just complain, not try hard to watch their favorite band in concert, and when they fail to watch the concert, they regret it for the rest of their lives. #DemiMetallica is a great opportunity and this so called movement turned out to be a success, even covered by national media. Lots used #DemiMetallica for transactions and people started to have enough money to buy tickets. I actually sold a few t-shirts, CDs, and some vinyl records to cover the Singapore and Jakarta tickets. Awesome!

Apparently our activity in the social media was being monitored by the promoter. We were eventually appointed by the promoter through Marketbiz Future Media to join the concert promotion as a buzzer, with a few festival tickets as the reward. We had an idea that the tickets purchased earlier could be sold, or the complimentary tickets we got could be given to our friends that can’t afford to buy a ticket. We got the job to promote and give away free tickets through a quiz with the hash tag; #AndJustix4All that was fun. Usually, there is a quota of how many tweets from a buzzer, but this time, the quota increased because it was actually fun and the buzzers didn’t ask for more fees. The impression from the social media was up to 30 million after the program was finished. People’s enthusiasm is great and I love the fact that when people try a little harder, they will eventually get what they want. A while back, this passion of ours was accused by a “friend” of sucking up to the promoter so that Seringai could be Metallica’s opening act. Oh, well.

A quick flashback.

In 1993, AIRO Production owned by Setiawan Djody invited Metallica to play in Indonesia. With excitement, we immediately saved up money and bought tickets.  The price was IDR 40,000 for the festival and at that time, the price was considered as quite expensive, especially for a high school student, but three of my friends and I; Robin, Adjie and Yogi, bought the tickets right away in a well-known rock radio in Bandung. We also saved up some money and asked our parents to help with additional allowance for our journey to Jakarta (we all lived in Bandung).

The day we have all been waiting for finally came and we went by bus, arrived in Kampung Rambutan in the morning and went to a relative’s house in the Slipi area. We used a taxi to get to the venue, Lebak Bulus stadium, because we didn’t know which public transportation to use to get there. Our eyes couldn’t stop looking at the taxi meter because we were on a tight budget. We spent IDR 7,000 for that ride and paid for it together. Back in 1993, this amount was quite big for a high school student from Bandung *laughs*. The taxi had to stop in Pondok Indah because the road started to be crowded with people who were going to watch the Metallica concert. We continued by foot towards Lebak Bulus Stadium yet didn’t go in the venue right away just to look at the situation. Little did we know, that the crowd was the people who didn’t have a ticket but wanted to go in for free.

It finally felt odd when the crowd started to throw things at the police cars and burn small shops that were closed. The authorities started to come and break up the riot. We tried to run to a safer place and get closer to the venue but the authorities stopped us. Reinforcements came and we were beaten.

We shouted “Sir! We have tickets!” while we waved our tickets, hoping they would give a way to the venue. But that didn’t happen, as they point their sticks at the Corrosion of Conformity t-shirt I was wearing, the soldier responded “You long-haired, black shirt wearing.. YOU’RE ALL COMMUNISTS!” Before 1998, when you get the “communist” stigma, it felt like being confirmed that we were going to be executed. Afraid with bruises in our hands, bodies, and legs, we ran away from the authorities and cursed. It felt like the Metallica concert wouldn’t be continued. After running quite a distance and feeling a bit safe, we rest near Ampera Street yet we were thirsty and there were no shops that were open.  At that time,  the Jakarta Outer Ring Road flyover/highway was still being built and we just sat in the side of the road, didn’t know where we should’ve gone or how to get home. No taxis wanted to stop for us four long-haired teenagers wearing black T-shirts. We finally got in a taxi after the three of us hid while only one of us called for a taxi. We succeeded in going home at about 11.00PM. We failed to watch our favorite metal band.

Our friend’s relatives were confused because we were very tired when we arrived. They did not have a clue about the riot that happened in Lebak Bulus. There were no social media and the fastest way to get information was through the phone, TV and radio. We didn’t sleep right away, instead we talked and laughed at our bad luck. There were riots in Bandung rock concerts, but none of them were as bad as this one. We assumed that a riot that big wouldn’t keep the concert from going on and we slept.

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We were waked by Robin the next morning, while running to the bedroom, half screaming, “Last night’s concert was continued! How did that happen?” We thought that it didn’t. Newspaper headlines announced about the concert’s success as well as the damage resulted from the riot outside Lebak Bulus Stadium. It was a 2 day concert but we didn’t have enough money to buy a ticket for the 2nd day so we went home hardheartedly. We also didn’t know that the Metallica concert on that day was free.

This funny story (well, it is now) was covered in a documentary called Global Metal by Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen from Banger Films Inc., Canada. If you haven’t watched it, you should. A member of the Banger Films team, Liisa Ladouceur, once sent emails to many metal scenesters in Indonesia but the only people who responded were Wendi from Rolling Stone Indonesia, Moel from Eternal Madness in Bali, and me. Before and after the filming in Indonesia, I helped Sam Dunn search for footage of the Metallica concert riot in 1993. I didn’t get any result after contacting almost every television station that existed at the time. Even when I contacted Arief Suditomo, the editor in chief of SCTV via phone, I was accused of being ‘an ally of the west that wanted to ridicule my own country’. I was pretty confused because I was sure that the point of Global Metal was nowhere near that accusation. But finally Sam Dunn got the video footage of the riot directly from Lars Ulrich, Metallica’s drummer that searched through Metallica’s documentation. Dunn said, “Arian, you won’t believe what I have found. Lars finally found the video footage of the 1993 Jakarta Metallica concert! Can’t wait to show it to you!” We can now watch the final result in the movie Global Metal, a history.

Back to today.

Wednesday, 21st of August, Black Rock Entertainment announced about Metallica’s opening act via their twitter account which was then followed by Seringai’s social media accounts. It turns out that there were a lot of support coming in and since that day, mentions and comments in our social media has not stopped, in addition with interviews with national media and also radio stations. Taking turns between me, Ricky, Sammy and Khemod, everyone had done an interview by phone. Even one television media came to our practice studio in the middle of the night to do an interview regarding that we did have a practice schedule that day. Calls, texts, messages in the social media also congratulated us. We also got support from our friends that were proud because we were the opening act for Metallica. Some friends we hadn’t seen in a while also contacted us and had a huge excitement. It all gave evidence that the Metallica concert was already a national issue.

The risk of being chosen as Metallica’s opening act was of course, contradiction. From people who simply thought that there shouldn’t be an opening act in order that they could directly watch their favorite band, until the people who are simply envious. We didn’t think about these things because the support we received was way bigger than those who were contradictory. Yet some comments did bring us down a little, especially those that came from our so-called friends from the metal and underground scene. Some spread a gossip that Seringai paid the promoter to be the opening act, and I thought, “How much do you think we have? How much do you think is the ‘price’ to be Metallica’s opening act?” Some said it was all politics from the record label (which we run ourselves *laughs*) until me being accused of sucking up to the promoter in order for an easy way. I don’t know man, I love the band as much as you do.  I grew up with Metallica and I grew up with the so-called local underground/independent scene. Maybe I happen to have a little more luck than you. I am not sorry, I feel grateful.

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At the end, we focused on ourselves to prepare everything and forget about opinions that were not helping. Other than intensive practice, we also discussed what we could do in the event. Regarding this sudden news, we couldn’t do something that was spectacular and had a big budget especially that we were not paid for this performance except for our production fee, and that wasn’t a problem. Ricky, our guitarist, had an idea to bring Stevie Item from death metal band; DeadSquad to fill in the lead guitar in the song “Tragedi”. Me, Khemod, and Bassist Sammy agreed on that idea. While talking with Burgerkill’s guitarist that was from Bandung, Eben, I got an idea to bring Eben in the song “Dilarang Di Bandung” because he once performed that song. Then I had an idea that Stevie could fill in a cover of Motörhead’s “Ace Of Spades” because he has already done a performance with us with that song and the practice wouldn’t be that hard. I asked Down For Life’s vocalist from Solo, Adjie, to also fill in some of the vocals in “Ace Of Spades”. All our friends that we chose have had an experience in playing and collaborating with us, regarding the small amount of time and preparation. The point is, we wanted to share this big experience with our friends so that Seringai will not be the only who experienced and “had it”. If only it were technically possible, we would’ve invited more musician friends to collaborate. Imagine that fun backstage! The more the merrier!

Some technical information started to come in from the promoter and we cannot use visual and audio effects. Usually, for a show this big, we would use visuals and additional audio just like what we did in Hammersonic Festival and Bandung Berisik. So we had to come up with another idea and I suddenly thought of the idea to invite pop singer Raisa to sing a local song or even the national anthem as a part of Seringai’s performance. The first idea was to get Raisa to sing a Batak song, “Lissoi” like what we’ve covered, but because there wasn’t any time to memorize the lyrics, I asked Raisa (through her manager, Adry Boim) to sing “Indonesia Raya”. Raisa had doubts at first because she felt confused; she would be a part of a grand metal event. But I finally managed to convince Adry Boim and Raisa and they agreed to participate. Great!

After doing a sound check on Friday, 23rd of August, we almost got every single detail of the information about our performance; from equipment to which sound system we could use to other technical issues. The loudness level that was allowed by Metallica’s management was a maximum of 86 dB, the headliner will be 114 dB. We won’t get side fill monitors, Boy; our lighting guy will only have little control of the lighting and we didn’t know whether we were going to meet the members of Metallica. Of course, nothing is a problem and we were not complaining because we have prepared for these kinds of things. We will be a guest in the world’s biggest metal band’s concert and as a good guest, we have to be polite and stick to the rules. After all, this was a rare and valuable opportunity and we didn’t want to waste it. The sound check that was supposed to be scheduled at 7PM became 11PM because someone from Metallica’s management production team came and did some inspections. Usually, we complain when things don’t go by schedule to the promoter or event organizer but that night, we accepted it as it was. “Whatever Metallica’s management says, we will be ready.” *laughs*

Finally it was time for sound check and we tried everything. After every line was secure, we tried two more songs and ended the sound check. We actually wanted to try one more song but we weren’t allowed. Once again, it was not a problem! *laughs* We finished at two in the morning and went home after a tiring day. Not many people knew that that night and the next, some of us had a hard time sleeping; we were nervous and super excited!

We did a last practice on Saturday just one day before the concert. Stevie from DeadSquad joined us and we perfected our “Ace of Spades” performance. Eben from Burgerkill couldn’t join in on us because he had to perform in Tasik, while Adjie from Down for Life was still on the way from Solo. Some interviews via telephone from a few media and radio stations started coming. In the evening, the road manager, Ade Putri, and I had our last briefing with Adry Boim and Raisa in Hotel Mulia where Raisa was having a practice for a performance. We were just joking around with them and said that the backstage at the concert wouldn’t be as fancy as 5-stars rated Hotel Mulia. After briefing, we went home, rested, and of course, again most of us had a hard time sleeping.

D-Day! The social media was filled with excited people who were ready for the big event. The Seringai team gathered in Fairgrounds SCBD where a few people could park their vehicles safely. Our crew; Miko-Sound Engineer, Comin-Stage Manager, Labo-Drum Tech, and Boy-Light Tech had already been in standby at Gelora Bung Karno, the venue. The wives and girlfriends also came; Syarinta, Tabita, Adita and Veroland from KickAss Choppers. Renda the photographer and two of our videographers, Firman and Rangga also seemed ready. I also promised a friend, Rikigede that wanted to get an unused festival ticket from me. At 2PM we went to the venue, some brought their vehicles, some wanted to walk. We needed to be at the venue by 3PM according to the committee and Metallica’s management. We didn’t know what time we were going to perform, but having known the performance of the opening acts in other countries, 6.30PM is assumed.

Entering Gelora Bung Karno, we met a few of our friends that are used to work in event productions. They welcomed and congratulated us and it was touching to see them so happy and proud. We continued our way to the backstage which was located right behind the huge stage. Apparently, that particular backstage was one of the best we’ve ever got. It had four portable and big air-conditioners and a huge portable toilet which meant it was super comfortable.

We were briefed by Metallica’s management through the committee that we were allowed to take pictures in the backstage downstairs, yet we were not allowed to upload them to the social media. Meanwhile on stage and the upper backstage, we weren’t allowed to take pictures or record at all, it had to be clean. The headliner’s backstage was inside while their waiting room was beside the stage. Our production team sorted out everything on stage with directions from a local stage manager. The backstage was organized and we couldn’t resist not taking a picture just because there was lots of Metallica equipment cargo that had the logo in every side.

When we were waiting in the backstage downstairs, right at 5PM, a scary rumbling sound was heard from the stadium’s field. It turned out to be the sound of the festival gate opening and the crowd running towards the field while screaming. It was like sound of the zombies in the movie World War Z, frightening yet funny! Metallica’s production team was also surprised and they kept watching worriedly from the stage. They seem to be talking about the fact that they were surprised because it was not usually like this or in other words, the other crowds usually ran, but they were more relaxed. Well, this is motherfukkin’ Indonesia, man! We’re the loudest! The crowd started to fill the front row, especially inside the front Mojo Barriers. Adjie, Stevie, and I went backstage and watched the crowd fill the front row, and it was cool. Metallica’s guitarist and bassist, Kirk Hammett and Rob Trujillo appeared in the upper backstage all a sudden; they also wanted to see the crowd fill the front row. I glanced at Stevie and Adjie and they also looked at me. We were in disbelief that two of the four metal legends were standing right in front of us. Our eyes said, “Shiiiit.”

I contacted Suicidal Tendencies’ photographer, Pep Williams, the night before through Whatsapp. I broke the news to him that Seringai was going to be Metallica’s opening act. He was happy; he congratulated me and immediately told Suicidal Tendencies’ vocalist, Mike Muir. They were touring again in South America.

So I built up my courage to talk to Rob Trujillo,

“Hey Rob. You know Pep Williams? He and Mike Muir said hi.”

“Oh wow, you know Pep and Mike? We just met and played together with Infectious Grooves…”

“Yeah I know, Orion Fest, right? Suicidal Tendencies was here a couple months ago, we had a barbecue with Pep and Mike. Awesome guys, they’re touring in Chile if I’m not mistaken.”

“S.T. played here? Cool!”

We talked for a bit but we forgot to introduce ourselves to each other. Meanwhile I caught Kirk Hammett glancing at the Septic Death t-shirt I was wearing while he was talking to a stage production guy. It was one of his favorite bands and I played cool. Rob and Kirk were seen by some of the crowd in the front row and they started to cheer. Kirk seemed to enjoy it and teased the crowd once in a while by showing his head. Finally, Rob and Kirk said goodbye to the stage team and smiled at us. Stevie, Adjie and I forgot to take advantage of that moment; we forgot to take a picture with Rob and Kirk, but it was clearly not allowed to take a picture in the upper backstage.

We went to the backstage downstairs as happy as kids that just finished watching Disney On Ice. It was surreal! Everyone else was relaxing and became surprised, they cursed at us when they knew that we just met Rob and Kirk. At that time, Wendi from Rolling Stone Indonesia, Eben, Raisa, Adry Boim, and Wira (Raisa’s personal manager) arrived in the backstage and joined us. We then got the news that we were going to perform at 6.40PM sharp. Metallica’s stage manager also told us that at 7.40PM after we perform, we should stand by backstage because Metallica wanted to meet us. Whoa.

Approaching the time of our performance, we were called from the backstage to get ready. Usually we do a lot of stretching before a show, but now we had to focus on many other things. Just as additional information, this was Seringai’s first performance since the fasting month and eid holidays, so we should’ve stretched more. Sammy was pale, looked tired and anxious, while Ricky and Khemod were joking around yet they also looked nervous and excited. I lost count on how many times I threw up because I was nervous. I tend to always get nervous before going on stage anywhere and puking usually relieves me, but that night, I puked a lot more than usual! It was not just us; wives and girlfriends of Seringai members were also nervous and excited. They were anxious too! *laughs*

Show time! Everyone hugged before going on stage and we went out one by one. Sammy, Khemod, and then Ricky. Sammy greeted the crowd and introduced Raisa who was going to sing “Indonesia Raya”. She went on stage and was welcomed with a cheer from the crowd. After she went to the middle of the stage and she started singing “Indonesia Raya”, everyone followed her. Honestly, Raisa’s performance was fierce that night, she lead the national anthem with a strong vocal character. Even though she performed alongside a band like us, she didn’t try too hard to be a rock chick, she stayed being herself, performed beautifully and elegantly. A loud chant was heard after she performed, “Raisa! Raisa! Raisa!” She nailed it and I was proud. Raisa then introduced us and Khemod immediately gave a signal to start our intro song as well as a quick sound check on stage. Apparently, Ricky’s guitar was off because the amp head overheated as it was on standby since the afternoon, shit.

But when it reached the first song, “Program Party Seringai”, everything went back to normal. But the front monitors weren’t that loud because we didn’t have side fill monitors, so I had to give a signal to Jhony, our monitor engineer to increase the volume on the monitor. We played one song after another; “Canis Dirus”, “Program Party Seringai”, “Tragedi”, “Akselerasi Maksimum”, “Serigala Militia”. The crowd was singing along loudly to our songs. Through “Dilarang Di Bandung”, we called in Eben and he played the song perfectly. At that point, I had leg cramps because I didn’t stretch enough before the show. I went back for a bit and straighten my legs near the bass amp when Eben was up at front. I thought that this foot cramp will not stop me and I knew that Sammy’s hand was also cramped, but we still had to play. I then dedicated “Mengadili Persepsi (Bermain Tuhan)” to the local classic metal band Roxx that had inspired us to play music since we were kids. This is for you guys! The choir from the crowd sounded great; “Individu! Individu merdeka! INDIVIDU! INDIVIDU MERDEKA!” Great! Entering the last song, we said our goodbyes. We also called in Stevie and Adjie and they rocked a classic number by Motörhead, “Ace Of Spades”. I dedicated that song to Lemmy and I asked everyone to pray for Lemmy’s recovery so that they can come to Indonesia someday! After “Ace of Spades”, all the guest performers went back on stage, including Raisa and Eben. We saluted the crowd and asked them to chant “’Tallica! ‘Tallica!” This was going to be a night we would never forget.

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Everyone was so happy at the back, we’ve made it! It took 30-40 minutes and seven songs, just right on target. It was quite tiring because the seating area blocked some of the air coming into the stadium and that increased the temperature in the stage area. While in a usual set, Seringai would perform 10 to 12 songs. When we went down from the stage and the stage manager reminded us to get back on stage because Metallica wanted to meet us, cool.

So a few of us went downstairs to the backstage, took some memorabilia that we want ‘authorized’ by the members of Metallica. Khemod and I took some vinyl record covers that we’ve prepared, while Eben took his trusty guitar. When we went back upstairs, the committee only wanted Seringai members to meet the band, but I did convince them that the other guest performers had to meet Metallica too, so Raisa, Eben, Stevie and Adjie got to meet Metallica. We went to a waiting room where the coordinator from Metallica’s side, Bri, briefed us.

“Hi, I’m Bri. So you guys are gonna meet the band very soon! If you want to wait outside for a bit it’s okay too, and we’ll let you know. But if you want to wait here, it’s okay too! The band now is preparing for their performance, but before that they will meet you guys and chat a bit. Are you excited?”

We all answered, ““YEEAAAHHH!” Bri laughed and continued briefing. We weren’t allowed to take a picture of anything so that Metallica’s official photographer would take the picture and only one camera was allowed for us to use. Too bad we weren’t allowed to ask for a signature because they were getting ready to perform. Again, it wasn’t a problem! We weren’t alone; there were some friends from Metallica’s label, Universal Music Indonesia who were also present in the waiting room. Dhani Pete, a huge pop band, manager for GIGI and Mr. Herman from Djarum was also there. Bri asked us to split into two groups that will meet with Metallica; the label people’s group and the opening act performers group. I brought a small bag filled with Seringai CDs inside, some local metal & punk band compilation CDs that I made before, and a batch of Seringai skull bandanas. I went over to Bri and asked if he could give the gifts to Metallica, he smiled and said that he would. I took one Seringai skull bandana and showed him how to wear it.

“You should give this and show it to the boys!” I said and she responded,

“Oh wow! This is so cool! Did you bring a lot of these bandanas?”

“Yes, there are about 10 skull bandanas in here.”

“Can I have one?”

“Of course you can have one, Bri!”

She took the bags from us and went. I didn’t know if she eventually gave it to the band but it was worth the shot. After that, I went back to where the others were waiting and we had a long conversation. It was different from before the performance because everyone was so relaxed and not burdened. Meanwhile, the executives from Universal Music Indonesia were surprised when they saw Raisa with us. It was her record label and they didn’t even know that Raisa would perform with us at all. *laughs*

After waiting 30 minutes, the members of this legendary band arrived. I didn’t remember who went in first, but Lars Ulrich went in last for sure. James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, and Rob Trujillo met the first group and took a picture together and went to us after. Everyone was happy and James Hetfield pointed at the Trouble t-shirt Ricky was wearing. He said “I love this band! Shit, that’s actually my favorite band!” Kirk Hammet also glanced and pointed at Khemod’s Death Angel Act III T-Shirt. He said, “Dude! You gotta listen to their new album! It’s gonna be fucking awesome!”

seringai-metallica copy

If I’m not mistaken, Kirk filled in the guitars in a song in Death Angel’s new album and once produced their first demo, Kill As One Demo. James laughed “Ah, come on guys, show me what you got! Whoa, Kvelertak! My new favorite band!” He said that while pointing at Sammy’s t-shirt. He even checked which t-shirt we were all wearing. The strategy to steal their attention by wearing their favorite band’s t-shirt seemed succeeded. Of course we didn’t expect much that they would remember us, especially that they meet lots of new people all the time, but the opportunity to meet them was so rare and will be one of the highlights of our music career. After having a conversation with them as metalheads meeting other metalheads would; talking about their favorite bands and such, they had to end the chit-chat. We eventually took the picture together with Eben’s smartphone and their legendary photographer; Ross Halfin took a picture of all of us. They said goodbye and went on stage. After they went, we hurried to the backstage downstairs, tidied up, changed our clothes and caught up with the Seringai team; the crew and the member’s wives and girlfriends that had been “casted away” from the downstairs backstage. Metallica is going to fucking play, man! This is gonna be fun!

The Metallica concert was a success and around 60,000 people were entertained and touched. This was one of the best concerts I have ever attended. For the details of the concert itself, I would tell the story in another writing. In the end, becoming the opening act of a legendary band like Metallica had been a long journey for me; the failure to watch their concert in Indonesia 20 years ago was definitely paid off.

I can die a happy man.

Words and photos by Arian13

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