METALLICA rescued their headline appearance at DOWNLOAD 2004 on Sunday (June 6) with an eleventh-hour mercy mission to fill in for sick drummer LARS ULRICH.
The legendary metal outfit’s drummer was taken to hospital with an undisclosed illness just hours before the band were due to headline the rock weekender at Donington Park.
And rather than pull the show and risk a revolt from fans, they called upon their co-stars to rescue the gig, roping in Slipknot and [a][/a] drummers Joey Jordison and Dave Lombardo alongside one of Ulrich’s long-standing drum techs. Jordison played in his Slipknot mask.
The emergency stand-in meant Metallica arrived 40 minutes late, having been practising in the backstage area until just minutes before showtime.
A statement on the band’s website reads: “Word filtered through that Lars suffered a medical emergency and frankly, I don’t like to ask too many questions when the boys are preparing to deliver in unusual circumstances. The CD players were out, the guys were ripping through jams and the clock was ticking.
“Before the guys went onstage their energy was high high high, and with the show having been delayed without announcement, James stepped out and filled in the crowd on what had been going on, informing them of the Lars situation and that the guys had some friends stepping up to fill in.
“Thus it was that Lombardo bashed out a brutal ‘Battery’, a crushing statement that this show was not going to do anything less than deliver. The uniqueness got even greater after Lombardo drilled out ‘Horsemen’, when Jordison appeared clad in his Slip-mask to deliver ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ before tearing through ‘Creeping Death’ and ‘Seek and Destroy’.
Otherwise, Download 2004 – the modern answer to the traditional Monsters of Rock festival on the same site was a huge success, with rock fans enjoying brilliant sunshine for the first major UK festival of the summer.
The band are in the middle of a European tour which is due to visit: Ludwigshafen Sudweststdion (June 8)
Gelsenkirchen Arena Auf Schalke (10)
Wiener Neustadt Aerodrome Festival (11)
Munich Olympic Stadium (13)
Belgrade Partizan Stadium (15)
Bremen Weserstadion (16)
Zurich Letzegrund Staduim (18)
Zaragoza La Romareda Stadium (19)
Amsterdam Ajax Arena (21)
Paris Parc des Princes (23)
Dublin RDS (25)
Zagreb Gradski Stadion (27)
Padova Stadio Euganeo (29)
Prague T-Mobile Park (July 1)
Werchter Werchter Rock Festival (2)
Reykjavik Egilshollin (4)
For an exclusive report on Download, see this week’s NME which is out tomorrow in London (June 8) and Wednesday nationwide.