Metallica – Francais Pour Une Nuit – A Must Have HD Concert Recording For Fans

I have watched concert recordings of different sorts.  It is the first time I see one hosted inside an ancient Coliseum, where gladiators battled for their lives thousands of years ago.  From the moment James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo entered through the gladiator tunnel, till the last song of the set, this 2-hour long concert electrified both Cynthia and I.  We were exhausted after watching the show in HD format.  2 hours, we were glued in front of the TV, waving our hands and jumping on the floor.  Cynthia remembers the lyrics so she could sing along with some of the songs.  I was in high spirit when they played “The Day That Never Comes” and “Nothing Else Matters”.  Yes, I can be a softy at heart.

Consider the relatively small price difference between the Blu-ray format and the DVD format, HD is a worthy investment.  With the high clarity in picture and audio quality, “Francais Pour Une Nuit” has captured the essence of the live performance well.  There were cameras that scanned through the cheering crowd, there were cameras that took close-up shots on each band member, and there was a camera that ran along the rail placed in front of the stage (that unfortunately tends to shake a bit due to the vibration coming from the bass drums).  The entire concert setup and recording was made by the French.  Metallica purposely wanted this concert to be as French as it could be.  With such a historical venue in Nîmes (South of France), it is a suiting decision to capture the essence of the location and the people behind it too.

Cynthia loves Metallica’s first album (1983) to the “Black Album” (1991).  Because she listens to Metallica since the beginning.  As for me, I love their “Black Album” all the way to the most recent release “Death Magnetic” (2008).  That was when I started listening to Metallica.  Hence you can imagine that while we watched “Francais Pour Une Nuit”, some songs got Cynthia excited more and other songs got me on my feet more.  Looking at the song list, you bound to question why some songs are not included.  For Cynthia, she yearned for “… And Justice For All” while for me, “The Unforgiven”.  Inside the 40 minutes interview, Lars shared with the viewers that they have a song list of over 70 songs and they aim to play different sets at different venues in order to keep themselves alert.

We like this recording because it is evident that each band member has given his all.  James, he is always charismatic on stage.  His guitar riffs are beautiful.  The way he rallied the crowd, we could feel it even though we were in front of our TV.  Robert is as usual, entertaining to watch on stage.  The frequent eye contacts he has with Lars – as later on expressed during the interview – is due to the fact that he as a bassist needs to feel connected with the drummer and to feel the flow of the beats.  And Lars, what a joy to watch.  He could hold the beats fast and steady, seated or on his feet.  He must be the most hardworking man on stage.  Initially, Kirk did not seem to receive as much air time as the rest of the members.  But when he did, it was when he was playing his mad guitar solos.  Kirk admitted in the interview that he does not necessarily play the same solo all the time.  I suppose that is what make the performance comes alive.

Some tracks moved the crowd better than others.  I guess that is fact in life.  Some songs are so majestically executed that you could see the triumphant joy and expression of James at the end of the track.  The success of “Death Magnetic” has played a vital role in the success of their tour because often, the crowd tends to like the more familiar classic tracks better.  However, some of the songs taken from the new album did just as well, meshing in cohesively with their songs written 25 years ago.

I cannot think of any metal band that can deliver a performance as electrifying as Metallica; I cannot think of a more unique venue than an ancient Coliseum; I cannot think of a better media format to capture the essence of the live concert today than in HD.  Hence, if you are a Metallica fan, “Francais Pour Une Nuit” in Blu-ray format is a must-have.  Stick around for the 40 minutes interview too.  It is interesting to see how each member responded to the same question differently (in the backdrop of the Coliseum) – from the “true value” of the band to their involvement with the game “Guitar Hero”.

Metallica – Death Magnetic – The Gigantic Metallic Beast Is Awakened

If someone was to tell me a few years ago that Kirk Hammett would once again pick up his guitar and be the legendary guitar hero he once was, I would chuckle in disbelief.  If someone was to tell me that the new Metallica album would sound like this, com’on!  Are you for real?

Blasting Death Magnetic on our way home, Cynthia and I were screaming out loud punching fists in the air.  At first listen!  I only managed to get into St. Anger after 250 times of album repeat (no kidding, I used to have a count in my computer and it is hard to decipher the seemingly random patterns).  Gosh!  Are we living in an alternative reality or what?!  Kirk Hammett has finally come to his senses and hammers out some real cool and original guitar solo tracks.  Check out the signature snare smashing double bass by Lars Ulrich.  Not just double-time, or quadruple-time, but octuple-time double bass.  You wouldn’t have thought someone in the mid-forties, hospitalized in 2004 having to miss the tour, still able to pull this sort of act off.  The new bassist Robert Trujillo who was recruited into the band during the St. Anger era (that scene of one million cash proposal on the table together with an equal share as seen in the video Some Kind of Monster is hard to forget) plays brilliantly in this album.  Certainly my favorite Metallica bassist of all time.  Hopefully, Metallica Inc. is going to keep this one.  James Hetfield’s voice is in top form, sounds confident (consider how far gone he was with the alcoholism and rehabilitation), and his lyrics reflect just that, “You rise, you fall, you’re down then you rise again.  What don’t kill ya make ya more strong”.  Isn’t it more positive than “Shoot me again I ain’t dead yet”?  Not to forget to mention the mad guitar riffing of the opening track, these two guitarists have rescaled the difficulty spectrum of thrash metal up a few notches.

Approach any Metallica fan and we all have our favorite eras.  Rarely you find someone (like me) who loves everything from Kill ‘Em All (1983) to St. Anger (2003) including that S&M live with the San Francisco Symphony.  Purists would love the pre-Black Album era of songs like “The Four Horseman”, “Ride The Lightning”, “Master of Puppets”, and “… And Justice For All”.  These are great tracks, no doubt.  I still remember learning the riffs of songs from that era.  Then came the 15 times platinum selling Black Album that most fans would acknowledge its significance.  Some say the Load and ReLoad eras are sell-out, way too commercialized to the hardcore fans’ liking.  Well, I happen to enjoy being indulged in those amid slower, but somewhat memorable melodies.  And as a defender of St. Anger, I find myself having to explain to people my philosophy of why St. Anger – despite lacking in Kirk’s solo – was ahead of its time.  If you listen to Death Magnetic closely, you may be able to recognize the bits and pieces originating from the chaos within St. Anger (read: If there was no St. Anger, there wouldn’t have been a Death Magnetic).

What the new producer Rick Rubin has done is amazing.  There is an overarching structure yet there are elements of jamming within; there are familiar melodic phrases yet the singing of “Sad But True” and the earlier work keeps ringing in my head; there are modern guitar effects yet the pure metal essence of the “Master of Puppets” lives inside Death Magnetic; there is even an instrumental track “Suicide & Redemption” that rivals “Orion”.  Death Magnetic is a consolidation of all that Metallica has offered in the last 25 years.  It is a unifying platform for all the Metallica fans out there to rejoice.

Related Site: Metallica TV on YouTube

Some Kind Of Monster

When my friend JT whom has lost faith in the modern day Metallica bought the latest Metallica album after watching watching this documentary DVD, I knew for sure it is a must-watch. Metallica is one of the biggest heavy metal band today and whether you like this kind of music or not, you will be amazed by what goes on behind the music scene – the struggles and all. I definitely recommend this DVD to fans and non-fans alike.

Looking Back 1998

Year 1998 has been a very interesting year for me.  These are the events which were pretty significant in my ordinary life.

  1. I have spent the new year day alone.  Well not exactly.  My driver of that time, Edi, took me to Pelabunhan Ratu, South of Java.
  2. My second love affair had gone to drain some time in Jan/Feb.  Exact moment has been long forgotten.  Who wants to remember that date anyway?
  3. Ever since then, I spent a lot of time with Robert, cooking and playing golf together.
  4. Riot was brewing in the heart of Jakarta.  Been there, seen the army and luckily, got off the project before the so-called massacre.
  5. Promoted to be a consultant on the 1st of March.
  6. Happy moment is of course, the system went live at the beginning of March.
  7. Rolled off from Jakarta in the middle of March and stayed put in KO’s place.
  8. Got into the new VTF project immediately and started working in the prototyping team.
  9. My mother visited me some time in March and got her a long term social visit pass.
  10. Relocated to KL AC office in the middle of April.
  11. Converted to be a Singaporean and the ceremony was at the beginning of August.
  12. Started out with Cynthia on August 15 with the sunset of Malacca.  From then on, we have traveled a lot and have been to Penang, Cameron Highlands and Singapore many times.
  13. Quite smoking and have been to the church from time to time.
  14. Cynthia’s mum came over during Christmas and we went to Singapore to visit her relatives.
  15. Cynthia with me during the New Year Eve.

Of course, out of 365 days a year, we do have some cool events in which we opt not to forget.  Then again, each little events marks the end of one period and the beginning of a new period.  Why not take this opportunity to examine each period closely?

Period of Loneliness and Sadness
(Jan to March)

In fact, this period of loneliness has lasted for a very long time and casually speaking, it was till August.  But to follow the flow of the history, let us just be contented and say that this period ended when I left Jakarta.

Being involved in a meaningless relationship was properly one of the silliest thing I have ever done to my life.  But then again, when I looked back, if not for this total disaster, I would not have learnt so much and treasure my current love relationship so much.

My 2nd love partner delivered several of the most painful feeling to me and I received the blow defenselessly.  There was no counter reaction there and I was in a total losing ground.  Because I gave everything when I am in love.  One of which was like: I am going to stay with another guy this weekend and he is coming to fetch me, anything to say before I leave tonight?

All dignity, all hopes and all “self” – shattered.

Then underwent those bitter moments of moving out and back to my old apartment.  The very first apartment I stayed with Shamsul, and later on, Mark.

Not to say I have lost everything during that period of time.  I composed some very good pieces of music.  I was pretty close to Robert whom is someone I respect and glad to know as a friend.  I picked up golf and had a lot of good food.  I learn some very good lessons for I am closer to know what I really want from a love relationship.

Still remember those moments when I roller-blade with Robert within the Tennis Court of Mitra Oasis while I was listening to Metallica (Reload).  And all those electronic goods shopping.

But all these are just part of my journey of life.  It is supposed to make me stronger.

Period of Career Development and Reorganization of Personal Life
(March to August)

After that traumatic experience in Jakarta, a change of environment is always welcome.  And there I was, back in Singapore.  And somehow, I see things a little bit differently.  Seems to me that the future was something which I could not even touch.

And then, my journey of life has arrived at a “roundabout”.  I was thinking of (a) take all my saving and pursue my PHD study in UK, (b) forgo my Singapore PR status and return to HK together with all the CPF contributions; or (c) continue to head for the uncertainty.

Just branch off from here, sometime symbolic happened here.  I was talking about my so-called choices with Annie on the phone just in front of Borders and somehow, Cynthia, totally unexpectedly, appeared right in front of me.

Anyway, back to my “roundabout”, I have decided to continue heading to the uncertainty.  As far as my career is concerned, it has gone pretty OK.  I have been promoted to the consultant level and have some sort of decent role in the new project.

And because of this project, I have made a lot of new friends and met a couple of old friends.  Surprisingly, when I met my ex, I can simply treat her as a new stranger with no attachment to the history.  I guess, I can safely say that I have totally got over her (and ready for a new beginning?)

And not to forget to mention that one of the most significant event in the Year 1998 is my becoming of a Singaporean.  At that very moment before I took up the citizenship, I felt as though it was like a marriage decision.  Equal importance I would suppose.  It is because it is where my base is, my family and my generations.

But I made that decision – just like that!

Again, something gain, something lost.  In this period of time, I tried so hard to glue my own family together and even tried so hard to work on this personal aspect.  Well, I was event to the idea of having some sort of family holiday once a year.  Just the family together go somewhere and have a relaxing time, catching up with each other. But it never work out so far.  Year 1999 perhaps?

Period of Love
(August to Now)

In order for Cynthia to be in KL, she has to come with VTF experience.  In order for her to come with that experience, she has to work in BUN with the VTF team.  And for that, she needs to join AC Jakarta.  And to join AC, she needs a decent degree in a decent university like Bandung.  So on and so on.

In order for me to be in KL, I too have to come with VTF experience.  In order for me to know Cynthia beforehand, I have to be in the BUN project.  And at that time, I had quite a number of choices but I somehow chose to be in Indonesia for I wanted to know the culture there.  And I was in Paris. For me to be in Paris, I must join AC Singapore.  And that, I need to be brought into Singapore to start with, thanks to my ex-lover back in the university.  And to meet her, I need to study in Oxford, UK.  And to make it there, no way I could have done it from HK and therefore, thanks to the scholarship which enabled me to study the A-Level in UK.

And one last comment to this what I called as “divine plan” is that if I were to start out with Cynthia back in Jakarta, I do not think that we would have worked out.  Simply because I was not ready for any relationship then as I was still trying very hard to get over my ex-lover back in Singapore.  Hence, my ex-love back in Jakarta came into the picture.

Ever since I went out with Cynthia, I am in so much joy.  We travelled many places.  We share similar hobbies, like reading and music.  She makes me feel so much like a man and I make her feel so much like a woman.  We talked about marriage. We make plan to visit our parents together.  I quite smoking and often, I go to the Catholic Church.

So, there is indeed something like: Made for each other?

Vision
(Now to Dec 99)

The word of the year will be “balance”.

To seek a balance between career and love, a balance between individual life and a life with my family; and a balance between luxury and necessity.

This year, I really wish that my wishes which have been accumulated for years will slowly come true and I am ready to fight for it.

  • Set up the root in Singapore
  • Have a fruitful relationship

May God be with me and everyone of my brothers and sisters too.