For the past decade, every large-scale Metallica concert has started the same way. When the waiting ends, a video comes on the large screens flanked to each side of the stage. It’s a scene from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the one in which Tuco frantically searches the graveyard for the buried gold coins. The soundtrack, Ennio Morricone’s “Ecstasy of Gold,” has introduced every Metallica show for more than 20 years.
That video is how my first concert started. It was 2003, and my dad had driven some friends and me to Metallica’s Summer Sanitarium show at the Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero, Illinois. It was a month before my 16th birthday. At one point in the drive, I tried to put some Metallica on the CD player when our only concert veteran friend stopped me. “There’s only a couple rules,” he said. “No listening to the band, and no wearing their T-shirts.” Since I’d already broken the second rule, I got defensive and informed him that this was a stupid idea. I haven’t done either since.