Pro-quality footage (courtesy of InvertedMag) of Metallica playing in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada shows the band rocking “Enter Sandman” when, suddenly, one of their stage hands, who was trying to repair a pyro piece on stage, catches fire. Then, scaffolding and lighting begins to fall all around the band and a tech “falls” and “crashes” to the floor. The video can be seen below. But you know what? It was all fake.
According to Blabbermouth, a spokesperson for Metallica’s concert promoter says that this was “…all part of the show.” In fact, Metallica has staged something like this before and it can be seen in the Cunning Stunts DVD.
Okay, let me rattle off my issues with this whole situation. The first issue I have is that it looks incredibly fake. But this is only from certain perspectives. In fact, a YouTube comment on the video states, “I was there the man on fire I knew was staged. I was in the nose bleed section but the crew guy falling looked real from where I was sitting, but from this angle the fall looks controlled. – Thecomicbookguy78”
So this person thought that part of it was real while at the show. And this is where my second issue comes in.
Did Metallica really think it was a good idea to enact a stage collapse in front of a huge crowd? Really?!?! I don’t know if Metallica realizes that this type of thing has happened at least once or twice before. Smart move there, guys.
All that would need to happen is for one concert-goer to begin freaking out, thinking that it was real, to start a full blown panic. As Agent K said in Men In Black, “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals…” If one person started screaming and freaking out, the possible viral reaction could have been catastrophic. Imagine tens of thousands of people trying to run out of an arena at the same time. This is where the word “stampede” comes into play.
Also, if the fact that collapsed stages have happened before with fatal results wasn’t enough of a reason to not pull this kind of stunt, how about the fact that James Hetfield himself was horribly burned in a stage pyro accident. And it was no stunt. He suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns to his arms and was out of commission for a few months.
So, “setting a guy on fire” while having the stage collapse all around the band… Not so smart guys. Not smart at all.
Overall, this was a dumb prank to pull that served no real purpose. You want to excite the crowd, Metallica? Just play your music and set off a few pillars of flame every now and again. No more, no less.