Metallica put the pedal to the metal at FEQ

Photo: Renaud Philippe courtesy of FEQ

Metallica’s lead singer James Hetfield and bass guitarist Robert Trujillo played on the Bell stage before a vast sea of people. This is the second time in six years that the renowned trash metal band has appeared at the Festival d’Été de Québec (FEQ) and they are still adored by their fans.

Tonight, it’s metal at the highest level,” announced Denis “Snake” Bélanger, lead singer of Voivod, who performed on the Bell Stage on the Plains of Abraham on Friday, July 14.

The Canadian trash metal band from Jonquière, Québec, formed in 1982, was the opening act for Metallica. They are musically linked – both are heavy metal bands plus, Metallica’s former bassist Jason Newsted played for Voivod from 2003 to 2008.

Inspired by a Transylvanian legend, Michael “Away” Langevin, the drummer-come-author and illustrator of Voivod, created the vampire lord character which led to the name of the band. The images projected on the screen behind the band were of post-apocalyptic lifeforms.

Langevin drummed zealously while guitarist Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain, with his glorious mop of curly hair, smiled at the crowd and head-bashed to the beat of his strumming.

Photos of the crowd showed one concert-goer “crowd surfing,” rolling as he was passed over the heads of people. Pressed up hard against the fence near the stage was a younger die-hard crowd.

Twenty minutes before the arrival of Metallica on the stage, there was a huge roar from the crowd as the name of the band was projected onto the screen at the back of the stage.

Concert-goer Sylvain Beaupré said, “Soon, you are going to see what real fans are.” He was not wrong.

“I have been to over 100 shows across North America and I have never seen as loyal a crowd as those at Metallica’s concerts,” said 33-year-old Montrealer Mathieu Racine. “Everyone knows them for their riffs…. People will still be listening to them 20 years from now.” Metallica is ranked as one of the “Big Four” thrash metal bands, along with Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer.

When Metallica finally came on stage, the roar of the crowd was deafening. People were packed in so tight, it felt like one would need to use a can opener to get out of the arena.

The visual effects on the big screen were creative and impressive. The overall show was polished and professional, performed with ridiculously high energy.

Lead singer James Hetfield said, “Thank you Quebec City. I hope everyone is having a good time out there! Trust me, we can feel you. Stupid question, but, are you alive? If you must live forever, then you must die first,” he said, before blasting into “Now that We’re Dead.” Four Japanese drums were placed on the stage, one for each band member, who played a fusion of metal on these instruments.

For fans, the only down side of the concert was that it had to end, although their devotion for this band will not. Quebec City loves Metallica and the feeling is reciprocal.