Unforgettable Week at the Fiserv Forum
In my lifetime I have been to quite a bit of concerts, maybe not as much as some, probably more than others. It was my “thing” growing up and where I am located geographically between Chicago and Milwaukee I had PLENTY of opportunities to participate in these events. Most of the time you go and have a great time and enjoy the show but some of those times you go and magic happens! You get to witness some up and coming acts that eventually blows up or you get to see that band that has made a name for themselves and they just blow you away to prove why they have that status. I was very fortunate enough to see TWO of these bands in the same week and my life hasn’t quite been the same since!
This one starts where the legendary metal band Metallica announced that they were going back out on the road and Milwaukee was one of their stops at the brand new Fiserv Forum. My first thought was, “That is cool, I’ve never seen Metallica and probably couldn’t afford to!” Metallica is one of those bands that I feel like you know the name even if you have never heard them play. Fortunate enough for me I was a big Metallica fan as a kid. The “Black Album” was one of those staple albums and that bled into listening to their other albums ...And Justice For All, Ride The Lightning, Master of Puppets etc. The thought of seeing a band like Metallica was exciting in itself but to nobody’s surprise, tickets went fast for this stop in Milwaukee. It was their first return to Milwaukee in over 8 years! There is a guy you might know by the name of Steve Schenk, he is the co-host of the Music Crush Monday Podcast and does a fine job if I say so myself and he was one of the many that jumped on getting tickets. He actually picked up 2 seats then found 2 more in a better section just assuming he would sell his original pair. Well it didn’t quite pan out and at one point a few days before the show he asked Sara (my wife) and I if we were able to go! After some shuffling for a babysitter we were able to attend! Leading up to it, I felt it was going to be awesome to check this band off of my list but I had no idea what to honestly expect.
The night has come - Tuesday October 16, 2018 Metallica is in town and the buzz in the air is incredible. The crowd mix was great from old to young, Parents bringing their kids to a show possibly for the first time, to the guy that has seen Metallica a dozen times before. It was an interesting opening act where instead of a band like you would expect we got to enjoy the comedy of Jim Breuer who would act as a host/MC for the evening. Even though it is not the typical situation for a metal show it was so cool to see someone else that I’ve been a fan of for many years. He had a quick set you could say as far as comedy goes but was cool to see nonetheless. The time before Metallica took the stage was filled with a DJ playing some music and played some classic metal songs and others to sing along to. The stag setup was awesome as it was more of a round stage in the center of the arena with the drums in the middle. There were microphone stands set up all around the stage so James Hetfield had the option to sing all over the stage facing all sides of the crowd. There were also a bunch of what looked like TV monitors above the stage that added to the lights and pyro that were part of the show. The monitors were moving all around and just adding an element to the live show that was very unexpected.
Not only did Metallica not disappoint whatsoever they also brought back so many memories of me listening to the songs they played as a kid. I even leaned over to my wife at one point in the night and said, “I can not stop smiling” The set list was 15 songs and then 3 encore songs. If you know Metallica they don’t always have short songs so it was a long set! Opening with Hardwired which is the opening track off of their latest album titled Hardwired. . . To Self Destruct and playing through classic tracks like Seek And Destroy, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Creeping Death, One, Fuel, and more! A personal favorite moment of the night was when they played a new song called Moth Into Flame and during this song there were all sorts of these little drones flying out from the stage and flying all around the stage. The drones were representing the moths mentioned in the title of the song and it was not like anything I’ve seen before. They were flying all around in circles and going back down into the stage only for more to come out. I do not think any pictures or video I took really did it justice but overall I was glad to capture some of that moment. There were so many things to love about their set and I really hope to get to see them again in the future. Lars made a statement after their set and said, “We are just getting started!” So I guess we can all expect for this band to be around for a long long time.
Before I continue I wanted to add that the Fiserv Forum is an incredible venue! Everything was so spacious, clean, and operated smoothly. The inside is just as beautiful as the outside is and if you haven’t seen it, please look it up. I will go on record and say that there wasn’t one employee that didn’t want to be there. Everyone was SO helpful and friendly that it was a refreshing thing to experience. We were in the upper bowl of the stadium and the sections are so steep that for the entire night we didn’t even have to stand up. There was a moment where my wife had to use the bathroom and I said I would go up there with her to stretch my legs a little bit. This particular week was the opening week of the new venue and had some very big artists coming through. Metallica on Tuesday, Foo Fighters on Wednesday, The Eagles on Friday, and Twenty One Pilots on Saturday. Quite the week! My family and I are big Twenty One Pilots fans and we were thinking of getting tickets to that show for quite some time but it sold out so fast! The secondary market was raking the ticket price through the coals so it was basically out of the question but keeping a close eye on Stub Hub to see if something opened up at a price we were able to pay. I started chatting it up with an employee there and was just telling him how nice the venue was and how we were thinking about coming back on Saturday to see Twenty One Pilots. At the time the only available seats were side view in the upper bowl so I was getting his opinion on that. We had a very nice conversation and I explained how much our kids love Twenty One Pilots and hope to make it and surprise them with the show. Fast forward a couple of days later, we were able to get some tickets last minute to the show! Literally, the morning of the show we were able to find some on Stub Hub at a good price, for our whole family! We didn’t tell the kids that we were going to Milwaukee that night to see their absolute favorite musical group, instead we said we were going to eat some Ian’s pizza which is a block from the stadium.
It didn’t take long for my oldest daughter to figure out what was going on and one of the best moments of the night is when they realized where we were and what we were doing! We get into the stadium and head up to our seats and guess who we saw in our section, the same employee I talked to at the Metallica show! It was fun to introduce our kids to him and he was happy to see us back at the Fiserv! I couldn’t believe it, what were the chances of that happening? Especially since our seats were basically on the opposite side of where we were for Metallica.
We get to sit and enjoy the opening act, Max Frost who was interesting! He was a solo artist that played multiple instruments and looped them to create the songs. I thought it was entertaining and he actually had a really good voice. Would have to check him out a little further still but was a great opening act.
Now here comes the fun part, right when Max Frost finishes up that same gentleman that works at the Fiserv came up to us and counted 6 people and gave 6 tickets and said, “Here you go, enjoy the show from a closer seat” I was literally at a loss for words, we got to move from the top of the stadium down to the lower section much closer to the stage! I look at my wife and kids and couldn’t say “Thank you” enough to the Fiserv worker (I unfortunately never got his name and it still haunts me to this day!) All he responded with was, “Thank you for coming back to the Fiserv Forum” Talk about customer service! We get down to our new seats in time to watch the second act of the night which was another good act but if I am going to transparent, I couldn’t focus on because I was THAT excited about what just happened and who was going to be on that stage next. I kept telling my kids how lucky they were that they not only get to see their favorite band but to get a sweet upgrade like that just doesn’t happen. We were incredibly grateful but the time has come to party with Twenty One Pilots!
If you have the chance to ever see this group, even if you don’t know their songs, GO! I was amazed at how only a 2 piece band can command an arena like that. Josh and Tyler and pure entertainers and make great music. There isn’t more than I can say about Twenty One Pilots and how much love we have for them in the Olsen household so to be able to witness them live for the first time and share that with the kids is something my wife and I will never forget! The lights went out and they had this long awaited intro to build the suspense for their arrival and when it FINALLY came time for the curtain to drop there was Josh standing there with a torch in his hand to go along with the theme of their new album Trench. Soon after a car that is lit on fire comes rising out of the stage and Tyler is crouched on it similar to their music video for Jumpsuit which happens to be the opening track of the new album and the first song of the evening.
Their set went through a lot of the new Trench songs but they were sure to touch on some classics from Blurryface and Vessel. There was also a point in the set where they traveled to a secondary stage on the other side of the arena to play a handful of songs which included Taxi Cab off of their first Self Titled independent album. Another fun moment of the night is where the opening acts came back out and they played 2 cover songs for everyone, Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls followed by Hey Jude by The Beatles. Some other favorite highlights of the show was during the song Morph they brought a little drumset for the crowd to hold up and Josh went in the crowd to play on that set. It was very cool to see and interesting that even though they are in an arena, they still make it to where they are as close to the fans as they can get. In this case, right on top of them!
In total they played 22 songs that night and closed traditionally with their song Trees. Another thing that I feel my kids are lucky in, not only did the get to witness this show when they are loving this band so much, not only did they get some really nice free upgraded seats, but if you go to You Tube you can watch a recorded version of this exact show in its entirety. They can re-live this show at any moment, how cool is that? Could you imagine what that would be like for you growing up? Maybe it is something that was very special to you as a kid but there wasn’t a smart phone around or nice quality cameras to record the ENTIRE event for you to re-live again and again. Sure there were those giant camcorders but there was no way you can bring that into a concert! It is a great tool that this generation gets to enjoy and hopefully not abuse. At the same time, I specifically told my daughter to not just sit and record songs because I want her to remember the show with her own eyes and not through a screen of the phone. It is definitely worth to take pictures and record some of your favorite songs and moments but if you are sitting there recording EVERYTHING, you are losing out on the experience of a live show. Especially one to this caliber with all of the production and lights that go into it. Hopefully that is an important lesson that she remembers or that anyone can take from.
I couldn’t have had more fun at this show and I honestly can not wait until I get to see them in concert again. I recommend if you have never even listened to Twenty One Pilots or wrote them off as a “cookie cutter Pop Band”, please throw that thought away and see for yourself.
Thinking back on this now there were 2 legendary bands, in the same arena, in the same week and I got to see them both for the first time in my life. Metallica and Twenty One Pilots are two totally different bands but have caused an impact in their own right on the music industry. It is not even a “passing of the torch” moment because they are on different ends of the spectrum but I can now say that I have seen them both live and I for sure would see either of these bands live again given the opportunity.
It is no surprise that my rating for this week’s time at the BEAUTIFUL Fiserv Forum is a full 5 cassettes! I wish I could make it 10 but the max I can give is 5. Thank you for coming along with me on this journey of seeing two different but impacting bands in the same week!