Metallica at Evenementenhal “De Westereen”, Zwaagwesteinde, The Netherlands, 9th of June 1984.
Our friends at the metal magazine “Loudness”, who were involved in organising this event, invited us to report this show for our magazine. My reporter collegue Donald Wever and I had only one problem, and that was logistics; “How do we get to Zwaagwesteinde?”. Naturally we were eager to go, we just couldn’t or wouldn’t miss an opportunity to see two killer bands.
To help us out, Donald’s parents decided to reschedule their planned trip to Friesland to visit some family friends. So we were both happy and excited to go. On the way to the venue, we realised we were driving behind a white Bedford van containing the members of Metallica. We decided to follow them. Arriving at the scene, the awaiting fans were already gathered on the street armed with crates of beer. Cliff, Kirk and James decided to hang around and drink beer with them. Everybody was invited, so it didn’t take long before we were also supplied with the holy water. What a party, drinking with the guys from Metallica, and the concert hadn’t even begun.
Meanwhile, we were summoned backstage for a press briefing. And we were confronted with all kinds of instructions, rules and regulations. Who came up with this crap? I don’t know. Maybe the demanding tour manager? Knowing that there is always something going on before every performance, it came as no surprise. But one way or another I’m always determind to make it happen.
By a twist of fate, the promoter, Henk Elzinga, didn't know that Twisted Sister was bigger than Metallica at that time. Twisted Sister should have been the main act, but Elzinga had switched it around. Because of him, Metallica had their first show as headliner. On YouTube there is an excellent documentary (English subtitled) to be found about this gig. I strongly recommend to watch it.
Prior to the gig, Donald had an interview with Cliff Burton sitting on a bench outside somewhere in the area. They discussed the recording process of the forthcoming “Ride the Lightning” album. And the band’s interest to find a new vocalist/frontman. At that time there was a rumour going around that Guy Esparanza (ex-Riot) was approached by the band to fill that position, but Cliff immediately debunked this one.
During the song “Metal Militia”, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister joined the band on stage to shout with them the well-known phrase: Metal Up Your Ass. Meanwhile, I ran towards the stage with my camera to capture this moment, but it jammed. Typical, something which had kept happening during the whole event. The atmosphere in this place was so incredible, it can’t be described, but the band gave 4 encores.... this speaks for itself. If people ask me what was one of the most impressive and best gigs you ever watched..then it was definitely this one for sure. Every time I hear the name of the village “Zwaagwesteinde” …I still get goosebumps. A memory set for eternity.