Fri. Sep 29th, 2023

So Much More. Day Two from the Orion Music and More Festival on Belle Isle in Detroit, MI


*Be sure and check out our coverage of day one here.

Back again for round 2 on Sunday, the most notable difference were the lack of lines for the shuttles to get to Belle Isle. Either everyone got in line much earlier than the day before, or the shuttle system had adjusted to avoid the long wait. Regardless, once again the gates were open and Noon and the first band wasn’t slated to start until 2:00 pm.

I took the opportunity to check out Enter Met Club. An area on the grounds specifically for Metallica’s Fan Club members, most everyone was lined up for …And Posers for All. Metallica had set up a mock “Tuning Room” with their own instruments and Club Members could choose to wear James’s Snakebyte guitar, Kirk’s Mummy guitar, one of Rob’s basses or they could sit behind Lars’ drum kit from the Black album tour. Some chose to pose by themselves, while others formed their own band. Some posed normally while other struck familiar trademark faces and poses by James or Lars. I even saw a group of fans from Mexico all don their wresting masks as they took their band photo. This was truly a cool way to connect with Metallica.

Check out my photo gallery from day two at the Orion Music and More Festival.

Club Members could also play the new Metallica pinball game, check out some of James’ and Kirk’s ESP guitars on display along with Rob’s Rat Rod bass, view random Club Only merchandise from past years, hang out, grab a drink and chat with other fellow Fan Club members. There were various country flags, given to Metallica over the years, lining the inside walls of this area along with past tour road cases. All sorts of countries were represented as Metallica’s fan base reaches both far and wide.

Check out my interview with John Garcia of Vista Chino:

While walking around, one thing was definitely different about this festival. There was hardly any trash on the grounds. Yes, there were garbage cans here and there for everyone to pitch in, but I’d have to say the biggest contributor to the grounds staying pretty much free and clear of bottles and cans were from the attendees themselves. Rock & Recycle, for those that wanted to participate, handed out large bags. All during the weekend I saw folks with these bags walking around and picking up recyclable trash that hadn’t made it into the cans. I also saw other people walking over to these people to dump their beer cans and water bottles. It was a real sense of community and willingness to keep Belle Isle looking clean. In turn, anyone that returned a filled bag received a unique commemorative t-shirt made of recycled materials. By the end of Sunday night, there were stacks and stacks of bags ready to be recycled.

Attendees on Sunday had just as many opportunities to see bands as they did on Saturday, including The Dillinger Escape Plan at the Fuel stage. With a large crowd already engaged by the time I was over there, it didn’t take long before singer Greg Puciato jumped off the stage and onto the security rail to sing into the crowd. Almost literally, as he was bent over so far I could barely see him. Once he popped back up, a crowd surfer was headed his way. He jumped back on stage, mentioned something about the crowd being crazy and continued with the next song. This band has no shortage of energy. Even though guitarist Ben Weinman had a broken his arm, that didn’t keep him from being on stage. Seated in a comfy looking chair, he read from a magazine then gave a performance score at the end of their songs. You have to love a band with a sense of humor.

Off and on during the day I was talking with both people I knew and people I’d just met that day, about dehaan’s set on Saturday. Everyone referred to them as dehaan, not Metallica, and it was fun to be in on the joke. “Hey, did you see that new band dehaan?” *wink wink* On Sunday I also was told or overheard various stories of “Where were you when they were playing?” and “How did you find out?

Up next was a trip over to Lars Ulrich’s Hit the Lights Films tent. During the two days, there were three movie screenings (Kontroll, Almost Famous and Drive) along with a Team Hang for the Metallica Through the Never movie. Each movie included a Q&A with Lars and some other person affiliated with the movie, whether it was the director, an editor or a producer. In the case of the Team Hang, 200 people got to interact with a panel that included Lars, Steffan Chirazi, director and writer Nimrod Antal, producers Charlotte Huggins and Adam Allison, editor Joe Hutshing, and Bob and Jeanne Berney from Picturehouse. Spending two hours in that film tent, hearing Lars and others on the panel speak, hear people in the audience ask questions of the panel and hear first hand about how the movie came about, what it was like working with Metallica and the new found respect and love the panel had for Metallica, falls under a once in a lifetime event. Well, for me anyway.

One by one Lars introduced those involved with Metallica Through the Never. Each spoke briefly of their role with the movie and commented on their interaction with Lars or the band in general. With full on surround sound, and it was loud I might add, we also watched trailers from Kontroll, Drive, Savages and of course the Metallica movie trailer. Everyone also had the chance to see an extended clip of the movie. Prior to playing this, Lars told everyone to put away their phones. Or even better, told everyone they should sit on their phones.

We learned that this sort of movie and the way it was shot was pretty unique for IMAX. We also learned the main character, Dane DeHaan, has no speaking lines. Given he is sent out on a mission that unexpectedly turns his life upside down, it will be quite interesting to see him portray his role through a completely visual form. Switching back and forth between the live action concert footage, previously filmed in Vancouver, to the narrative story, the two parts of the story line were definitely in sync. For instance, a scene with police in riot gear tapping on their shields was perfectly synced with the drum beat of a particular song Metallica were playing on stage. I’m still curious to know how all of this will tie together, since the extended clip didn’t shed any light on how the two are linked, but hey, it just leaves me, and I’d have to say everyone else in that room, more than ready and willing to purchase that movie ticket when it hits IMAX theaters in 3D everywhere in North America this September.

After about an hour of introductions and trailers, it was time for the Q&A portion. Lars hand picked those with their hands raised to ask their question to any person on the panel. Everyone gave pretty in depth comments and told more than a few stories that had those in the audience chuckling. As everyone gave their answers, Lars would either stand in the aisle between the audience or stand on stage, staring intently, absorbing everything they were saying as if he were one of us in the audience. Producer Charlotte Huggin’s commented that Metallica are America’s greatest band and that she was now a fan. She admitted that she often would start singing Metallica songs, in front of her children, in her kitchen. She commented on how dedicated Metallica fans are and how she fully understood it all. Director Nimrod Antal spoke about coming up with the concept of the narrative, and even shared about the times he appeared to remain calm during the making of the movie when he had to tell Lars and or Metallica no. He explained that he’d have to excuse himself to go throw up so he could come back somewhat calm and collected. Editor Joe Hutshing mentioned there were 33 cameras for one song. He also felt he did each song justice throughout the movie, showing THE best angles every time. In closing, you could tell Nimrod was pumped up after all the talk of the movie. He said, “I don’t pump my own shit, but you’re going to love it.” As we were closing in on the 2-hour times frame, Lars asked for a New Yorker type question. Someone mentioned they had noticed when there was glass breaking in the narrative portion of the movie, it also coincided with James smashing a guitar during the concert footage and asked if that on purpose. The director got super excited and said YES! They answered a couple more questions before Lars eventually said he had to go take care of something over at the main stage. He spoke briefly to a couple of fans and then headed out.

Next on my list of things to see was Kirk’s Crypt. The entire outside of this mini building was set up to look like an actual crypt, complete with living scary beings to greet you at the door. An avid horror collector, Kirk brought pieces from his collection for all to see. To make it bigger and better from last year, he also included props from other collectors. On display were full life-size horror characters and monsters, vintage film posters, various monster masks and collectibles. For the first time ever, Kirk’s two larger than life Jump in the Fire Demons were also on display. These things were huge, red and had green glowing eyes. They were awesome! His guitars, inspired by classic movie monsters, were also on display in front of the appropriate movie poster. Anything from The Wolfman, to The Mummy, to Dracula, to Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein to White Zombie, there was even one of Bela Lugosi not to mention his white Ouija guitar. As you continued through the crypt, there were rows and rows of movie posters and some paintings. There was just so much to look at, you could easily spend more time than you’d expected once you walked through the door. There was even an electric chair you could sit in to pose for pictures.

Although I had missed the panel discussion with Kirk, I heard the one on Saturday was pretty packed. Also in attendance were special guests in the horror world. Original Leatherface Gunnar Hansen (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), original master of FX, Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead, From Dusk Till Dawn, Creepshow and more), PJ Soles from the original Halloween (1978), Carrie and Rock ‘N Roll High School, Jordan Ladd from Cabin Fever, Hostel 2 and Death Proof, and last but not least, the one and only Bill Moseley (The Devil’s Rejects, Army of Darkness, Halloween (2007). Also in attendance was the great grandson of Lon Chaney, Mike Hill and FX and makeup master Anthony Giordano who turned some into a zombie. Again, there was no shortage of things to do or people to meet.

Be sure and check out the photo gallery of the atmosphere at the Orion Music and More Festival.

As the Deftones were ending their set, excitement was high for the last band of the night. The band behind the weekend festival were gearing up to take the stage. Again, there was some confusion and delay in clearing the area at the front of the stage (those with Ultra Pass and VIP wristbands only were allowed to stand there during Metallica’s set). At 7:55 p.m. fans were finally allowed in. However, it wasn’t long after the area was still filling up that there was a mad rush from the left side of fans storming the front of the stage and bringing a cloud of dust with them. I’m still not sure if these people were let in or jumped the fence, but regardless, it got real tight real fast.

Around 8:20 p.m., The Ecstacy of Gold started to play and a clip from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly movie appeared on the video screens. This was it, the well known Metallica intro. This crowd was pumped. The intro ended and the band came on stage and launched into Blackened. I should mention, the rumor going around on Sunday was that Metallica could be playing …And Justice For All in its entirely. After the song started, two guys near me looked at each other with the same look, “Could it be?” When they went into For Whom the Bell Tolls as their second song, any luck of that rumor coming true was quickly squashed. After Disposable Heroes, James joked, “Finally, we get to play. Well, dehaan played yesterday. They looked a lot like us. It was weird. Very freaky. We’re going to send them on tour too.” For those that witnessed the mighty dehaan on Saturday, they got the joke. For those that missed it, I’m sure it was a slight pain in the chest. This was followed by Harvester of Sorrow. The combination of these opening songs made for an intense, aggressive, chaotic, fantastic opening! Way to kick down the door and let the crowd know you’ve arrived.

Check out the photo gallery from the day two bands at the Orion Music and More Festival.

Song after song, Metallica, once again, confirmed why they are one of THE greatest bands in the word. Their 18-song set was mostly made up of songs from their first four albums and the crowd ate up every bit of their amazing history. Early on in their set they played Carpe Diem Baby from ReLoad. Having only previously been played at The Fillmore for their 30th anniversary shows, this was a never before heard song for the majority in attendance and it sounded great! Another surprise came when they started, I Disappear, another song hardly ever played live. James joked that the crowd loved surprises and long as they knew what it was. James asked if everyone was liking Orion in Detroit. As the crowd cheered he said they were liking it as well. He commented that so far everything was pretty good. He acknowledged they were aware of some complaints and reminded everyone that when it’s the first year, there’s bound to be some screw ups. He said he hoped that next year would be even better.

Once it was darker out, the light show was nonstop. Whether the band was engulfed in white, green, orange or blue lights, it just made for a more dramatic effect on stage and on the big screen. Kirk and Rob both took turns with solos during the night and James moved around, singing at almost every mic on stage whether in the middle, on the sides or on top of a riser at the back of the stage. A giant video screen behind the band constantly showed larger than life band members for all to see. Whether it was James and Kirk or James and Rob interacting on stage, this band was on fire.

The next combination of songs, the 6+ minute Welcome Home (Sanitarium) followed by the 8+ minute long instrumental Orion, really took fans on a melodic journey. By the time the concussions started for One, the one and half minute spectacle of pyro and simulated gunfire had some fans cheering while others were covering their eyes from the blinding light and covering their ears from the massive explosions. No worries though as this just added to the already powerful song, proving that dramatic intensity can leave a lasting impression. Almost immediately they launched into Master of Puppets. As the night went on, the crowd surfers were more frequent and the moshing was constant. They closed out their set with Nothing Else Matters and Enter Sandman which include fireworks in the sky above the stage. In closing James said, “You make us feel good, family.

They briefly left the stage, but it didn’t take long before they came back out for a 3-song encore. Fans started chanting “oh-ee-oh, ooh ohh” from the beginning of Metallica’s The Frayed Ends of Sanity right before they started Turn the Page. The night ended with two powerful Metallica songs. First was Creeping Death, which included the “DIE! DIE! DIE!” crowd chant. The band paused for a bit before the next song and James was toying with everyone, getting them to cheer for one more. Meanwhile, Lars had two guys near his kit that would be counting in the last song. James jokingly asked Lars if he was retiring. No, not yet. James hoped everyone had a good weekend because they had a blast. James asked for the house lights on to see everyone that had come there to celebrate the family reunion, to celebrate live music. He thanked Detroit, Orion and the Metallica family for supporting all the bands that played there and all the lifestyle things that went on. James continued, “We appreciate you as a family and we’re glad you’re in our lives, man.

James mentioned they had one more song and asked if we were ready to sing it really loud. He said it would make them feel better if we sang it loud. The crowd cheered and then James yelled out, “SEEK AND DESTROY!” As customary when they play a different city, James altered the lyrics, “Scanning the scene at Orion tonight…” Eventually Metallica beach balls appeared and it was a free for all with everyone either trying to grab and hold on to them or others trying to knock them out of their grasp. Regardless, everyone was singing along loud and clear. Once the song was over, they started throwing out picks and of course Lars chose wisely who would receive his sticks. James started a chant and then asked if they should come back next year. Loud cheers were heard by everyone. Metallica members each said a few comments to the crowd including Lars who thought Detroit should be their permanent Orion home. This brought on even more cheers from the crowd. Lars ended the night with, “We will see you very fucking soon. Thank you!” And with that, they were gone.

As I made my way back to the shuttles, which by the way, there were no lines so they must have found a way to fix this issue from Saturday night as well, one thing was for sure, Orion Music and More was just that. Music and SO MUCH MORE. Life is about seeing and doing and trying new things. Exposing yourself to situations you’re not familiar with, meeting new people and creating memories. From all the many bands that played that weekend, to all the activities in the lifestyle areas, with all the new experiences I had with friends and to all the new people I met, this was ONE amazing weekend. It’s entirely possible Metallica will have Orion in Detroit again in 2014 and it’s entirely possible I will be there as well.

Click here for more information about the Orion Music and More Festival.