Wednesday 19 June 2019

Metallica thank fans for 'privilege' as Slane rocked on bumper weekend

Honour to play gig: Metallica playing at their sold-out concert to 75,000 fans at Slane Castle, Co Meath, on Saturday. Photo: Arthur Carron
Honour to play gig: Metallica playing at their sold-out concert to 75,000 fans at Slane Castle, Co Meath, on Saturday. Photo: Arthur Carron

Melanie Finn and Eddie Rowley

It was 'Just Like Heaven' for Irish music fans over the weekend as Slane and Malahide castles formed the venues for some of the biggest music gigs of the summer.

The weather may not be behaving itself this summer, but that did not deter thousands of music aficionados from making the pilgrimage to see their idols performing live on stage in a bumper two days of music.

The godfathers of rock, Metallica, put on a jaw-dropping performance at Henry Mountcharles's venue in Slane as 75,000 fans watched them play their first Irish concert in 10 years.

Malahide Castle saw Derry chart-toppers Snow Patrol blasting out some of their biggest hits from the past 20 years on Friday night.

And on Saturday night, it was the turn of iconic 1980s band The Cure.

It saw 20,000 diehard fans getting out the eye-liner and reliving the best-loved songs of their youth at the north Dublin venue, as lead singer Robert Smith returned to bring the nostalgia-factor to the Irish city where he once lived.

Honour to play gig: Metallica playing at their sold-out concert to 75,000 fans at Slane Castle, Co Meath, on Saturday. Photo: Arthur Carron
Honour to play gig: Metallica playing at their sold-out concert to 75,000 fans at Slane Castle, Co Meath, on Saturday. Photo: Arthur Carron

Friday night saw Canadian crooner Michael Bublé also taking to the stage at the 3Arena for the second of two sold-out gigs. He raised a smile by singing 'Happy Birthday' to RTÉ presenter Marty Whelan, who turned 63 that day.

But all eyes were on Slane Castle over the weekend as the first major concert there in two years got under way.

Metallica members James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Robert Trujillo and Kirk Hammett pulled out all the stops to ensure they gave gig-goers a night to remember, with a sprawling stage production that could not fail to impress.

Production crew worked around the clock to transform the Meath venue into a feast for the senses with the erection of a 70ft-high video screen.

Colourful crowd: Andrea Donnelley and Martina Morrison rocking out to The Cure at Malahide Castle
Colourful crowd: Andrea Donnelley and Martina Morrison rocking out to The Cure at Malahide Castle

Band production manager John Zajonc told the Irish Independent that the surface area of the video panel was over 2,000 sq ft so it's "larger than most people's homes".

The band also donated €35,000 to each of the charities ISPCC and Capuchin Day Centre for Homeless People.

It's been a decade since the American band, who have been together for 38 years, performed here in Dublin's Marlay Park so expectations were high among their Irish fans.

The colourful crowd came from all over Ireland and farther afield to see the heavy-metal group performing their high-powered show, featuring songs like 'Nothing Else Matters', 'Enter Sandman' and 'Seek and Destroy'.

Their inimitable rendition of the Thin Lizzy classic 'Whiskey in the Jar' proved particularly popular with the crowd, with the concert ending with a spectacular fireworks display.

Yesterday saw drummer Ulrich pay tribute to the crowd in a message on his Instagram page alongside a picture of a picnic hamper sent in to them by fellow rock luminaries U2.

"Slane Castle has been rocked - and what an unbelievable vibe," he wrote.

"As incredible as we were told to expect... the second we stepped on stage and took it all in, the Irish fans, the castle, the bowl-like setting, we knew this was other worldly.

"What a privilege and an honour to play this legendary venue. Thank you Lord Henry for having us, and thanks to everyone who came from near and far."

After the gig, the band returned to Dublin city to their after party in the Grayson, St Stephen's Green.

Slane Castle owner Henry Mountcharles described the energetic rockers as the natural stars to follow on from the 2017 headliners.

"The last heavy rockers to play Slane were Guns N' Roses. Metallica were a very obvious choice," he said.

Irish Independent

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