Top 50 Hokies Spotlight: Metallica
Imagine that you are in Lane Stadium on a cool, Blacksburg, Saturday night and it is filled almost to the brim. The energy is boiling, the intro video starts, and “LET’S GO” screams from the west while “HOKIES” screams from the east. Then, that iconic intro acoustic riff kicks in….you know the rest.
Thrashing Through History
Metallica currently consists of James Hetfield (guitarist/lead vocalist), Kirk Hammett (lead guitarist), Robert Trujillo (bassist), and Lars Ulrich (drummer). Hetfield and Ulrich are the founding members, starting the band in 1981 in Los Angeles. Hammett joined in 1983 and Trujillo joining in 2003.
Metallica has released a whopping 10 full length albums and eight live albums while STILL touring the world. They haven’t stopped for almost 30 years!
Metallica is known as one of the “Big Four” thrash metal bands that took the 1980’s and 90’s by force, releasing some of the most iconic albums in metal history. They are known for having one of the greatest trilogies in all of music history with “Ride the Lightning”, “Master of Puppets”, and “….and Justice for All”.
Their first majorly successful release was “Ride the Lightning” which debuted on July 27th, 1984. Since its release, it has gone platinum six (yes, SIX) times in the United States alone. It’s highlighted songs are “Creeping Death”, “For Whom The Bell Tolls”, and “Fade to Black”.
“Master of Puppets” was their follow up release to “Ride the Lightning” that debuted on March 3rd, 1986. It has also gone platinum six times in the United States since its release. Top songs include “Battery”, “Master of Puppets”, and “Damage, Inc.”
The final part of the trilogy is “..and Justice for All” released on September 7, 1988. As it stands, this album has gone platinum eight times in the United States. “Blackened”, “One”, and “Harvester of Sorrow” are the top singles from this monster release.
But….where is Enter Sandman? That’s probably what you’re thinking.
Following the trilogy, Metallica released its self-titled “Metallica” on August 12th, 1991. Metallica was criticized for backing off on their relentless thrash sound on this record, following more of a groove metal/hard rock style. Well, it worked. They were the biggest band on the planet following this release that included these insane stats:
- 31,000,000 album sales worldwide
- 16x Platinum in US
- Charted US Billboard for six straight years
- Charted 8th of Billboard 200 top albums of the 90’s
This album is where you will find Virginia Tech’s unofficial theme song, Enter Sandman. The song alone has over 544 million streams on Spotify!
Then nine years after its release, the Hokies adopted its new theme song and the rest is history.
A few of the Scribes from Sons of Saturday felt it was only necessary to share their favorite Enter Sandman experiences, so let’s relive them!
It is difficult to pinpoint one Enter Sandman experience as my "favorite" because they're all special for various reasons, whether it's the first game of the year, a primetime game against a big opponent, or the last Enter Sandman of the season until Spring Game in April.
It's incredible how jumping inside Lane Stadium for two minutes every Saturday in the fall becomes an integral experience of being a Hokie, even if you don't realize it at that moment.
In November 2014, HBO held a Veterans Day concert on the National Mall with artists like Rihanna, Carrie Underwood, Zac Brown Band and several others, including Metallica. I went to this with my friends and while I was aware of this song and its usage at Tech, I didn't know what it meant until this night. Metallica performed their 15-20 minute set and even though I didn't know any of their songs, I was nervous with excitement to hear this song that I had heard so much about. Enter Sandman was the last song they played and as soon as the guitar riff started, I decided to #StartJumping and the group I was with looked at me with bewilderment or confusion about what I was doing, I just responded with, "this is what they do at Tech".
At that time, I didn't know that I would jump inside Lane Stadium a mere ten months later and how that song would resonate with me wherever I hear it, whether it's in Lane, FedExField, on the radio or inside Beaver Stadium.
Other notable Enter Sandman's I've experienced include:
- September 6, 2015: The Brad Paisley concert.
- September 7, 2015: Labor Day night against Ohio State, which was my first ever game in Lane and the first time I heard this song in Lane.
- September 30, 2017: Clemson
- October 6, 2018: Notre Dame
I was down in Blacksburg with three of my friends who had never been to a
college football game. They all knew how big of a Hokie fan I was and I
had hyped up Enter Sandman from the day we met. I was exhilarated to
take them to their first game, at Lane Stadium on November 23rd, 2018.
Yes, their first game was the 2018 UVA game,one of the
best games in Virginia Tech history if you ask me.
Now, the Enter
Sandman at the beginning of the game was awesome, but when they played
Enter Sandman after Bryce Perkins fumbled and we won, something was
different about that. All the fans were screaming, jumping up and down,
absolutely losing their minds because everyone thought we lost after
Willis threw that interception late fourth quarter.
I looked over at my
friends, who weren't even huge Hokie fans at the time, and they were
going ballistic. Being there with them to experience that made that the
best Enter Sandman I have ever witnessed.
Oh, and I got on TV that game which was cool.
Enter Sandman isn't just a song. It's a whole mood. And because of this, no matter where I hear it, for the rest of my life I will always want to start jumping.
I've been lucky enough to experience a ton of Enter Sandman moments in all different types of atmospheres. From a packed Lane Stadium for a night game, to an empty Cassell Coliseum for a basketball game, to a noon kickoff bowl game at a neutral site on New Year's Day, my Enter Sandman moments have been a vast array.
This is extremely hard to pick my favorite one, but if I had to choose between three that stick out it my mind it would be 2015 Ohio State in Lane, 2016 UNC in Lane, or 2017 Clemson in Lane.
Each one has a special place in my heart:
- 2015 Ohio State was the first ever unanimously ranked pre-season #1 team in history and they just so happened to be opening their season against the Hokies, who, let us not forget, were the only team to beat them the year prior in 2014. A year in which OSU also won the National Championship. The hype leading up to this game was insane. Almost every day during the summer it seemed new announcements were happening; night game on primetime TV, Brad Paisley concert the night before the game, etc. This all culminated with one of the most electric and earth shattering renditions of Enter Sandman in my memory. It was the most "lit" I'd ever seen Lane. Completely packed to the brim, the entire stadium was shaking during the entrance. What made it even better was that Tech ended up leading going into the half. Although the Hokies didn't end up winning the game, the Enter Sandman entrance was something I'll never forget.
- The 2016 UNC game was memorable for a completely different reason. It was Frank Beamer's last game in Lane Stadium. The man who had transformed Virginia Tech into a national brand was finally retiring after nearly 30 years at the helm. It was a somber atmosphere. Fans poured into the stadium waving their "Thanks Frank" flags and everyone was in their places for Enter Sandman as early as they could to see Beamer run out onto the field one last time. I don't think there was a dry eye in all of Lane Stadium. Pre-game messages from past players and alumni thanking Beamer for everything he had done and highlight reels of Beamer's greatest achievements played in the moments leading up to kickoff. I think everyone's emotions burst when Enter Sandman finally began. It's something I'll cherish for a long time.
- 2017 Clemson in Lane was a sight to behold. Similar to 2015 Ohio State, there was extensive pre-game hype leading up to this game. ESPN's College GameDay was making its return to Blacksburg for the first time in 10 years to honor the top 15 match-up between #2 Clemson and #12 Virginia Tech. If that wasn't enough, paratroopers flanked by fireworks dropped in from the night sky to deliver the game ball. As ESPN's Chris Folwer said on the broadcast to Kirk Herbstreit: "Words really can't describe the atmosphere inside Lane Stadium. It is lit Kirk."
This is excruciating, but I think I'm going to have to give it to 2015 Ohio State here. I've truly never seen Lane Stadium louder than it was that night. Enjoy the Enter Sandman entrance below.
Fade to Maroon and Orange
The guys covered all of my favorite moments as well, but there is one video I still watch over and over that Adam mentioned.
To me, this was an unbelievably cool gesture from Metallica. Growing up watching Tech football with Frank and listening to hours of Metallica (sorry Mom and Dad!), this is the one that hit it home for me. I'll admit to tearing up for this one.
Now that leaves the question: When can we get Metallica to Lane Stadium?