Cliff Burton died on 27 September 1986, aged 24, but his legacy and memory live on. Marko van Haren has been sharing his memories from two performances by Metallica in 1984 in The Netherlands, including how they joined Cliff Burton, Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield with fans for a pre-gig beer.
MetalTalk have an interview with Marko who tells the story of how they enjoyed the ride which saw them hang with Guns N’ Roses before they were famous, work on a pre-gig photoshoots with Motörhead and Shy and how they came to document the 1980s Metal scene as bands passed through on European tours.
Marko van Haren is building the gem of a Metal Europe archive online at fusewire.nl. The following are his memories.
Evenementenhal De Westereen.
Zwaagwesteinde, The Netherlands, 9 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. 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 determined 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 the headliner. On YouTube, there is an excellent documentary (English subtitled) to be found about this gig. I strongly recommend watching 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 in finding 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 four 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.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 7 December 1984.
As a result of intensive touring throughout Europe, Metallica’s star was on the rise. And their popularity got boosted even more with the release of Ride The Lightning. Their upcoming gig at Paradiso was sold-out in no time and because of that, entering Paradiso was a problem for me. The club was overpopulated, and due to safety reasons, access to the press was very limited.
But my reporter colleague Donald Wever made a bold move and went to Metallica’s tour bus to speak with someone from the band. Bass player Cliff Burton recognised Donald from the interview at Zwaagwesteinde above, and the connection was made. So Donald explained to him the whole situation, and Cliff arranged immediately with their tour manager my entrance. The main programmer of Paradiso, Jan-Willem, was also involved, and finally, my access was granted. Jan-Willem symbolically destroyed my fake entrance ticket at the press entrance and I got into the venue.
The audience, more than 1200 visitors, was very varied from Metal-heads to Punks with Mohawks. After a while, the now famous intro tape shuffled through the PA. The audience clapped along with it, and this gesture immediately testified to the fantastic atmosphere in Paradiso.
After another acoustic intro, Fight Fire With Fire kicked off, and the crowd turned full speed into a headbanging frenzy. This interaction was immediately reflected in the band’s enthusiasm on stage.
With this excellent show, Metallica expanded their built-up reputation and returned after this gig back to the US for an extended tour.