Metallica Almost 'Rode the Lightning' at Pinkpop

The band's performance at the Dutch festival came close to being canceled on when a heavy thunderstorm passed over its location.

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According to, Metallica's performance at the Dutch festival Pinkpop came close to being canceled on Monday, June 9 when a heavy thunderstorm passed over its location in in Landgraaf, Limburg, about 90 kilometers west of Cologne, Germany.

Just as the rain began to fall, presenter Eric Corton took to the main stage to ask the roughly 60,000 people who attended the event to stay away from all poles, stages and tents.

Pinkpop organizer Jan Smeets decided to go ahead with the rest of the three-day festival earlier on Monday despite the fact that weather bureau KNMI issued an orange code warning.

Meteorologist and television presenter Margot Ribberink told a TV news show that Smeets was taking a big risk by not canceling Metallica's concert. In addition, newspapers around the country published editorials questioning the promoter's decision to continue with the event.

According to Blabbermouth, Landgraaf mayor Raymond Vlecken countered the arguments on Limburg radio station L1 saying they were prepared to evacuate the festival, choosing instead to instruct the audience to stay low to the ground. He said he was proud that, despite increasingly loud thunderclaps, there was no sense of panic in the crowd.

After the downpour, emergency foil blankets were handed out to the crowd and Metallica took to the main stage and played its full 18-song set.

39 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Imagine if Metallica started playing Ride the Lightning as soon as that bolt hit, that would have kicked ass!
    I was there, they didn't start playing as soon as that bolt hit, but they did start off with Ride the Lightning. They said:'I think you guys can all relate to this' and then they started playing. Best start ever
    I was there; it wasn't as bad as most people say. Just some rain and a few lightning strikes, nothing to be concerned about and certainly nothing to cancel the event. The KNMI had a big history of alarming everyone when nothing is going on :.
    It could've been really bad. In Belgium there were hails the size of golfballs.. If that had happened over there it would've ended tragically. Also with the tragedy of Pukkelpop in 2011, they can't be careful enough.
    I was there as well, lightning is not something to mess with. Even though nothing happened, stuff COULD have happened and it could have been a lot worse. 60k people on an open field with thunder in the sky, that's a prety big risk. I'm just glad everything went the way it should, too bad Metallica hastened their show to be ready on time a little though.
    I was at Sonisphere 2010 in Finland when a thunderstorm started all of the sudden. The rain and the wind broke the other stage apart and stuff was literally flying around. Mötley Crue had to cancel and Iggy Pop did a 4 song set. Alice Cooper and Iron Maiden both played full sets two hours late. It was awesome as Bruce Dickinson came to tell that to us and introduced Alice Cooper to the crowd. Sadly someone died during that storm because something heavy falled on him. Also some little girl got hurt and Maiden visited her in the hospital I think. Nevertheless, the fog and the darkness at night made the Maiden concert unforgettable.
    I was there too, and i agree with you. But seriously, a few strikes? there were like at least twenty flashes per minute. Also, that rain came right from hell! When it finally stopped, my Rolling stones shirt was soaked and I had an excuse to buy a new metallica shirt. But the festival ruled, as did metallica
    I was there too. It was an awesome show, the storm, but most of it was rain and wind : . Metallica too.
    Iron Maiden > Metallica.
    Even though I agree with GALGOPOWER, I wholeheartedly dislike trolling. Wanker.
    Music is subjective, to each his own - Now, please piss off and stop writing that god damn comment on every article that mentions Metallica or Iron Maiden.
    They're BOTH great! Iron Maiden and Metallica both represent some of the best that classic heavy metal has to offer. There's no sense in arguing over who's "best".
    You must be a seriously committed prick to embarrass yourself like this for the sake of making some point about your favourite 40-year-old metal band.
    From personal experience, playing during a thudnerstorm, or when one is about to start, is awesome, don't know why, but I find it great xD
    Can't help but think this article was written purely for the opportunity to use this title... What are UG gonna do when Metallica eventually break up? Half their subject matter will be gone!
    I was at Mayhem fest in 2012 when the show was delayed bc of thunderstorms. The crowd almost rioted because after hours of metalcore bands Anthrax's set was being delayed (a legit band) so Corey Taylor walked out onstage to control the crowd but they went even crazier bc well, holy shit its Corey Taylor. Anyway, Anthrax (w/ Corey Taylor) ended up just going onstage and playing an awesome 5 song set and it was muddy and pouring and awesome.
    Granted Anthrax hasnt done much since Joey first came back But WTF? Where's the respect for the NOT man and Judge DRED! I mean Corey Taylor was just a pup when Anthrax Spread the Disease. Damn Kids have no respect for the forefathers of THRASH! Oh and one more thing I wish Metallica would have been electrocuted -Then they could stop damaging the legacy that thier first 4 albums gave them.
    Hetfield looks like a damn teddybear in that picture... I want to hug him.
    The storm was intense for a moment. The people who stood center right and center left of the stage had to leave because of safety reasons. The wind was blowing from behind the stage and they weren't sure the screens were gonna hold, they acted as a big sail. Us in the snake-pit could stay where we are because we were out of reach of the screens.