By David Shoup
Renowned American rock band Metallica played to a packed crowd in the Bucharest National Arena on August 14th in a highly anticipated and widely lauded concert. The concert featured two of the band’s founding members, Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield (drums and vocals, respectively), along with lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, who has been with Metallica since 1983, and bassist Robert Trujillo, who joined the band in 2003. Since its formation in Los Angeles in 1981, the band has sold over 125 million albums worldwide, making it among the most commercially successful musical acts of all time.
Romanian fans like Victor Prundea, 28, who visited all the way from Germany, where he works as a neurologist, were blown away by Metallica’s performance on the 14th, which featured such hits as Enter Sandman and Nothing Else Matters.
“It was absolutely amazing,” said Prundea. “They sing with the passion and the energy of 20 year old dudes. They communicated incredibly well with the audience and the show featured some beautiful visual projections on the stage behind.”
Prundea was also impressed with the concert’s opening act.
“Their opener, Ghost, was an extremely nice surprise with a reinvention of old school sound.”
Ghost, the Swedish metal band formed in 2006 and 2016 Grammy Award winner, has toured with Metallica since 2018. This concert fell in the latter third of a 25 show European Metallica run that began in Lisbon and concludes in Mannheim.
The concert got off to a great start before it had even begun, with Metallica announcing a co-sponsored gift of 250,000 Euros to Romania’s first private hospital exclusively designed to specialize in oncology care for children. The donation was also supported by concert sponsors Mastercard and BCR. The hospital is a project of Daruieste Viata, and has already drawn donations from high profile figures.
The hospital’s outer structure was completed this past June, and will eventually have a 180 bed capacity. The project has been in the planning stages for years, and Metallica’s donation now eclipses last fall’s controversy, when Daruieste Viata famously rejected a donation by the band Holograf amid allegations of murky ties to a Sector 5 Mayor from the PSD.
Besides the old classics, Metallica impressed its Romanian audience with bassist Robert Trujillo’s cover of De Vei Pleca by the Bucharest rock band Iris, whose own founding preceded Metallica’s by five years.
The concert brought together Romanians of all ages, including new fans like Ada Balaban, 22, recently returned from aviation engineering studies in the U.K.
“It was a true trash metal concert!” Balaban said. “Their attitude on stage, their looks, dedications and reactions took me back to all my memories of Metallica, my all time favorite band.”
Balaban said the feelings from the crowd were mutual.
“The crowd was just perfect – as it always is in Romania. The sound was insane, the crowd was crazy, and the guys did what they do best!”