Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Public Hall ~ Cleveland OH
April 4, 2009
During the night, depending on which band was on stage, you could totally tell where the fans were. Yes, the Metallica fans were all spread out between the lower and upper balcony.
Well, when the video montage for Metallica started, THE CROWD WENT WILD with cheering, screaming, WOOHOO’ing, clapping, etc, etc. The rush of excitement for me was INSTANT!
The video was a nice recap of their history. It was both cool and sad to see the footage of Cliff. (RIP!) Metallica really had come a long way since 1981. WOW…what an amazing career.
A clip from the video that cracked me up:
Interviewer: “How long has the band been together as Metallica?”
James: “Since we started.”
When the video ended, once again, the announcer made the introductions and Flea walked out on stage at the podium closest to us. His hair was dyed blue, he was wearing a suit and underneath I could tell he was wearing a Pushead shirt. (right on!) I have to admit, when I first heard way back when that Flea was going to induct Metallica, I was puzzled. Flea? Of all people? Flea? Well, after hearing his A-mazing speech, all doubt was removed from my memory. It was heartfelt and very moving. I believed in every word he spoke. When he talked about Cliff, I got teary eyed.
From time to time Flea would use swear words. I found it funny when I noticed James put his hands over his oldest daughter’s ears. All throughout Flea’s speech, people would yell out “Metallica!” or just cheer and yell out loud. I thought to myself, “Be quiet people, I’m trying to hear this!” haha As Flea would finish reading one page, he would drop the paper to the floor. I think his speech was at least 5 pages long. He did pick them all up when he was finished. Behind him were album covers of Kill ‘Em All, Master of Puppets, Death Magnetic and Load.
When Flea was finished and the band started to head up on stage, a lot of people around the venue stood up while cheering and clapping! For me personally, man, this was SO exciting! I still couldn’t believe I was seeing this live and in person!! Enter Sandman was playing and the band members hugged loved ones before taking the stage.
As they walked on stage, one by one, they would hug each other. Especially cool, after they were all on stage and before anyone spoke, all the guys and Cliff’s Dad had one big group hug! Awww. So awesome.
Ray Burton, Cliff’s Dad, was the first to speak. He seemed very happy. He mentioned that one of his favorite things about the band was that whenever you saw the band in person (live), they immediately brought a smile to your face. He was honored to be there and mentioned that Cliff’s Mom was his biggest fan. At some point during his speech, someone yelled out, “We love you!” Again, hearing about Cliff was a very somber moment but his contributions to Metallica will live on forever.
Next up was Jason. He walked up to the podium and someone yelled, “JASON!” among the other cheers (cheers for him were loud). He waved to the crowd once at the podium and said, “How’s it going?” 🙂 His speech was very touching and again, I could tell it was from the heart. He was very grateful for the experience. He thanked his family, friends, the love of his life, past band members (Flotsam & Jetsam and Metallica), road crew, record people/stores, etc. To the fans he said, “Respect and gratitude to Metallica music lovers and fans around the globe and here tonight.”
Next up at the podium was Rob (Jason’s replacement when he left the band). More cheers from the audience.
Side note: How cool that ALL THREE of Metallica’s bass players were being inducted. Talk about some history.
Rob’s speech was short but sweet. He started off with, “Wow! This is extremely special. Amazing. All my favorite super heroes are in the audience tonight.” (Jimmy, Joe, etc) He thanked those people that inspired him, his wife and his kids, Mike Muir and Rocky George (Suicidal Tendencies), his mother and father, and Lars, James and Kirk. Lastly he thanked the best fans, crew and families.
I forget who in Metallica was giving their speech at the time, but the fans in my section were cheering and whatnot and Jason recognized this and held his hand out to the side towards us and gave us a sideways devil horn! ROCK ON MAN!
In between all the speeches, the guys would hug each other. Lots of love on the stage.
Next to speak was Kirk Hammett. Kirk started off by thanking the RRHoF, Management, past producers and fellow band members and their families. He mentioned that he looked forward to creating inspiring music with Metallica. “We’ve only reached the halfway point in our career, right? (he looked at the band) Right?” James made a face as if he was hard of hearing. HEHE Kirk also thanked the truly wonderful fans because without us, none of this would be possible. He thanked Jimmy Page, Joe Perry and Jeff Beck as they were instrumental in him becoming the player he was. Lastly he thanked his wife and kids.
To my surprise, Lars was up next. I thought for sure he would go last. He got up there with his shirt untucked and very laid back. He was totally winging his speech, “riffing” as he put it, unlike everyone before him who had their speeches written on paper or note cards.
My fave line, and his opening statement, “This is really all about you people in the balcony.” He then went on to say, “Rock and Roll is all about possibilities and that dreams can come true.” He referred to themselves as “snot nose” kids. He thanked the 150 people they flew in to share the weekend with them along with his family and his kids. He thanked his Dad for always having a home “rich” in music. He also called out that, at 81, his Dad probably had the longest hair in the building. A couple times Lars mentioned he couldn’t believe Metallica were in the fucking Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! Believe it man, believe it!
Last but not least, the one and only James Hetfield! He walked up to the stage and jokingly crouched down as if the podium was too short. He started off, “Can I get a hell yeah?!” (not much of a crowd response). He repeated it again, “Can I get a HELL YEAH?!” and this time there was a very loud “HELL YEAH!” reply back. He joked that it was louder than he was expecting. He continued to say that there was a lot of love and passion for rock music in the room and talent. He said he felt the vibe and it felt good.
He congratulated all the others who had also been inducted that night. He then went on to say that they were “somewhat of a heavy band” and that they had a small list of bands that they would now love to invite through the door.
James started his speech with “huge gratitude” to his higher power for the gift of music and the awareness of his destiny early on in life. He said, “Music is my therapy and I need to do it.” He thanked his wife and kids, and his sponsor/program brothers. He thanked his brother for leaving the keys to his drum kit lying around and for letting him raid his record collection and use his turntable. He thanked everyone he has met along the way that let them be them. He also thanked Management.
He thanked all the fans who are not afraid (loud cheers from the fans) to share their lives with them and their faith with unwavering support. He went on to say, “Dream big and dare to fail. I dare you to do that. This is living proof that it is possible to make a dream come true.”
He thanked all members of Metallica whether they were there or not.
In closing, he said, “Lastly and greatestly, I want to thank Lars for calling me so we could include each other in our dreams of being in the greatest heavy metal band in the world.”
With THE biggest smile on his face, he turned to Lars, who also had a HUGE smile on his face, then James hugged Lars. The hug was so big, James even picked Lars up off the stage. It was for sure one of the most touching moments of the night.
Now, while many people were thanked by Metallica, it was so cool to hear the huge thanks each member of Metallica gave their fans. They were not just fleeting thank yous, but heartfelt. Yes, Metallica loves their fans!
There was more hugging and then the band left the stage.
As if the ceremony wasn’t enough, I had almost forgotten it wasn’t over yet! We got ready to be rocked! When they came back out, they were still dressed up but with instruments on. That’s not something you see every day. James introduced the band. No one was sure what Metallica were going to play, but man, I, and I’m sure most every other Metallica fan was SUPER EXCITED when the opening notes to “Master of Puppets” started! A lot of us in our section were standing up, rockin’ out, head banging, fists pumping, etc. Actually, a lot of people in the lower and upper levels around the venue were standing up rockin’ out. As for the people on the floor? Metallica had blown them all away! HAHA It was kind of sad that there were not more people on the floor rockin’ out, but eh, what can you do. Metallica was for sure loud as hell though!
Another way cool thing was the fact that not only were we hearing “Master of Puppets”, but we were seeing it played with two bass players! Jason and Rob!! It made it even more surreal. To see Rob and Jason doing backing vocals, to see Kirk and Jason doing backing vocals. Just to see Jason playing Metallica songs again. WOW! I willed every part of my mind, body and soul to just take it all in. Even though I knew I was watching it for real with my own two eyes, live and in person, I just couldn’t believe it!
After “Puppetz” we waited for the next song. Humm…what would it be? While I know some wished for something older, I was not the least bit surprised when they started “Enter Sandman.” And to anyone that thought that song wouldn’t be played that night, what were you thinking? HAHA jk The guys just nailed it! It was so great to see them all having an awesome time on stage. All 5 of them. It really was great to see Jason back on stage too! He also looked like he was having a blast!
After the show, a guy next to me (his name was Brian, another Clubber) mentioned the jam. OMG! I had totally forgotten about the All-Star Jam at the end. After watching the Hall of Fame ceremonies on TV previous years, this was always my favorite part. You never knew who was going to come out and jam together. I believe it was Brian that also wondered if they would have two jams. One for the older generation of singers and one for the newer. Well, I’ll be damned if that didn’t happen!
First up were Little Anthony and the Imperials, Wanda Jackson, Roseanne Cash, Ron Wood, Bobby Womack and DJ Fontana on drums for Jailhouse Rock. Boy, did it rock!
The last jam of the night was by far one of the most awesome things I have ever seen live. Picture if you will…James, Lars, Kirk, Rob and Jason from Metallica along with Flea, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Joe Perry and Ron Wood all playing Train Kept A Rollin’. James sang it with such energy! GOD! It was UNREAL!!!! I felt like I was in a dream watching this. WOW! What an amazingly powerful ending to the night.
After the song was over, there were lots of hugs on stage. Man, I still couldn’t believe the performance I had just witnessed. HOLY HELL! Talk about one for the record books!
James ended the night by saying, “God Bless Rock and Roll Baby!”
Amen brother, Amen!!