One of the coolest things about Orion Festival is that while it’s put on by Metallica the diversity in the music brings more than just Metallica fans to the festival. The other headliner on the bill was The Red Hot Chili Peppers whose audience is comparable in size to Metallica’s. You had rock bands, metal bands, punk bands, funk bands, dubstep djs, and much more. I wanted to see so many bands but because Orion offers so much, it’s just not possible to see everyone.
I’ve been a fan of Dropkick Murphy for awhile, but I’ve never gotten the chance to see them live, but I’ve always heard that it is an experience. The fans of Dropkick Murphy came out in full force. I’m not a mosh pit guy, I enjoy watching them. I had never quite seen a mosh pit like this. People traveled just to see these guys at Metallica’s festival. You had these Irish fuckers from Boston and other areas just going ape shit. At one point this girl with piercings every where including in her septum was enjoying herself in the mosh pit when all of the sudden blood started rushing from her nose and the piercing in her septum was gone. By the end of the Dropkick Murphy’s set she was back in the pit.
The coolest part of the entire festival for me was when the bass player for Dropkick Murphy announced that they had three songs left, but since it was Metallica’s festival they wanted to let us know that Metallica was playing a surprise show at the Van’s Damage stage. They told us we were free to go if we wanted but that they had three more songs left and the busted into "Shipping out to Boston" and a cover of AC/DC’s "TNT." Dropkick Murphy left everyone wondering, ‘how do you follow that?’ Of course Metallica playing "Kill ‘Em All" in it’s entirety a couple football fields away was probably could for Rise Against who followed Dropkick Murphy.
I brought a friend with me to the show and he came specifically for Dropkick Murphy and Red Hot Chili Peppers. On the Orion Budweiser stage it was Dropkick Murphy, Rise Against and then The Red Hot Chili Peppers. So he stuck by that stage despite Metallica playing "Kill em All." So he didn’t have that to distract him between Dropkick and Rise Against (even though Rise Against didn’t hit the stage till after Metallica). Rise Against was fucking amazing. They’re known for being a great live band and they delivered. The pit for Rise Against was actually crazier than the pit during Dropkick Murphy’s set. I came in a fan of a handful of bands there, but I left as a Rise Against fan. I was incredibly impressed with their performance.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers
If you weren’t there to see Metallica you were probably there to see the Chili Peppers. I am a casual Chili Pepper fan so I’ve never seen them live; they were a big part of why I wanted to cover Orion. I really like the funky songs and I while I like a lot of their new songs (I consider the new songs everything from "Scar Tissue" on) I really love those old songs, specifically the Stevie Wonder cover "Higher Ground." What seeing the Chili Peppers live taught me is that their new songs are funky too. I never noticed it until I saw it live.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are a band that can play in any setting…without changing their performance. They play so tight and so close. You can literally see them bouncing off of each other. It’s hard to say who the highlight of the show was because they were all fantastic. Chad Smith was amazing; I didn’t realize how good he was. He was the pulse of the entire performance. Josh Klinghoffer played like he’d been a member the entire time. Before going into "Under the Bridge" he played a couple bars of Metallica’s "Unforgiven."
What can you say about Flea and Anthony Kiedis? You know they’re two of the best at what they do. It was a real treat to see that live. You’d never know these guys were in their 50’s based on their performance. Standing in the crowd during the Chili Peppers set I looked around and felt like I was in one of the best crowds I’ve ever been in. There was moshing, but it was very friendly, nobody was pushing and shoving or leaning on people. It was an amazing night with at least four amazing performances (that I saw anyway).
I have seen the Deftones three or four times over the last ten years or so. The first time I saw them believe it or not they were opening for Metallica. Before they hit the stage Kirk Hammett and Rob Trujillo took the stage to introduce the Deftones. I’ll be honest; I’m not the biggest Deftones fan. I don’t dislike them; I just am not a huge fan. Sunday June 9th, Chino and his boys were on fire. I’ve never enjoyed a Deftones show as much as I did that day. They were all over the place; Chino was crowd surfing while singing. Chino was in the crowd multiple times. I walked out of the show a Deftones fan. Songs that I like ok they made amazing. I can’t believe how much I enjoyed their show. Going forward I will not be turning down Deftones shows.
Saturday Metallica appeared as the band DeHaan on the Van’s Damage stage. They played "Kill ‘em All" in its entirety. When I saw the entire performance posted on blabbermouth.net I thought the fans would be going ape shit, but instead almost all of the comments were negative, Rob sucks, James can’t sing. I was pretty bummed by this. Metallica fucking played "Kill ‘em All" in its entirety. You’ve been bitching about this since the "Black Album." The truth is, if you’re shitting on this performance, it’s because you weren’t there. I missed part of the performance due to Dropkick Murphy and I felt special just having been in the same area. They fucking played "Kill ‘em All" beginning to end. After words Lars’ joked that next time they’ll be doing "Reload" beginning to end.
Sunday Metallica took the stage an hour after the Deftones. I mentioned in my previous post, but a few hundred fans that had been in the pit since 11 that morning were asked to leave to make room for the VIPs. I thought that sucked, but most of the 2000 in the pit got there just before the Deftones and it makes sense. But those few hundred who got kicked out really bummed me out, so I went to the Feed ‘em All tent and ate some delicious pizza. The Metallica hit the stage and all was forgotten. Right out of the gate they knocked out "Blackened" and "Disposable Heroes" two of my favorite songs.
The entire set featured a light show that would make Pink Floyd proud, pyrotechnics that would give James Hetfield the chills. The only real surprise during their set was when they played "Carpe Diem Baby" off of "Reload." James Hetfield said before the song it’s a song none of us have heard live, and after the song he said, ‘now you’ve heard it live…whether you like it or not.’ I thought it was cool, but I like "Load" and "Reload." The most disappointing thing about the show was the crowd who started leaving very early largely due to the cluster fuck of exiting Saturday night. Metallica had fun with it though as they always do and kept playing. Sunday, the show was awesome, but it’s fucking Metallica, if they played "Load" beginning to end it’d be fucking awesome. I was hoping for a surprise guest, but oh well it was still Metallica.
Bronx, Dillinger Escape Plan, Trujillo Trio, Cauldron are all bands that I saw in passing and each one of them sounded great. I really wanted to catch Dead Sara, but I couldn’t make it to the stage during their set. I wish I could have seen more great bands, but that’s the nature of the festival. I hope to God next year I get to cover this festival again, because hands down this was the best and most fan friendly festival I’ve ever been too and I want to expose more of my friends to it. Thanks Metallica.
BYLINE: Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.