Metallica seeks Monsters of Rock magic in Europe

Mon Feb 9, 2009 4:25am EST
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By Mike Collett-White

BERLIN (Reuters) - Metallica frontman James Hetfield is out to recreate some of the magic of the 1988 U.S. Monsters of Rock tour in Europe this year, with a seven-date sweep of the region ending at Knebworth in England.

Metallica were well down the billing 21 years ago, when the heavy metal giants joined Van Halen and Scorpions on the road for more than 30 shows that lasted up to 10 hours and tested the eardrums, if not the patience, of the crowds.

Now one of the world's most successful bands, with album sales of around 100 million, Metallica is spearheading a European version called Sonisphere and has lined up rock acts including Linkin Park and Slipknot to appear on stage.

More acts will be added and the concept could go global in 2010, although organizers said there were no firm plans as yet.

"We did Monsters of Rock in the U.S. with Van Halen, Scorpion and others and it was a lot of fun, you get to know the bands, you're hanging out, staying in the same hotels," Hetfield told Reuters in a telephone interview.

He added that it was different from a traditional band tour, although Metallica are doing that as well in Europe and will fit the Sonisphere gigs into current commitments.

"When the same bands get on the touring circuit together you get to see them more than once. It helps with the atmosphere and the vibe," he said, adding that Monsters of Rock was "one of the funniest times I've ever had."

The tour kicks off in Nijmegen, Holland, on June 20 and travels to Germany, Spain, Sweden and Finland before a two-night finale in front of up to 60,000 at Knebworth, scene of many famous concerts over the last 35 years.   Continued...

<p>James Hetfield of Metallica performs in Berlin, September 12, 2008. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke</p>