A far cry from the five-piece’s hometown of Richmond, Virginia, Jakarta marked quite an exotic and unexpected stop on Lamb of God’s extensive 2009 touring itinerary that also included Australia & Japan, a short stint to kick off the Wrath World Tour. In promotion of the new album, their trek included a spring headlining tour through the U.S. alongside Children of Bodom, God Forbid, As I Lay Dying, and Municipal Waste as well as a full summer trudge through Europe with Mastodon in support of the legendary Metallica before hitting up the festival circuit. If world domination is the name of the game, they’re way ahead of the rest.
All morning and all afternoon, rain, lightning and wind had unleashed fury around the city as patient metal heads waited to see their idols regardless of the nasty weather that threatened to dampen the metal spirit of the highly anticipated show. The hot, humid and stormy weather in the capital of Indonesia couldn’t keep the diehard metal heads from ascending upon the Tennis Outdoor Senayan Complex on March 9, 2009 like vultures on roadkill as one the world’s most popular metal bands was scheduled to appear.
Nevertheless, the show crept closer and closer as throws of metal fans made their way to the venue. The rain seemed to be letting up as a sea of black began to form around hell’s gates. Standing in line at the gate, I noticed that my bright blue St. Louis Blues hat was just about the most colorful thing in the crowd until I turned around and witnessed the riot police show up in full gear and march toward the back of the venue. As I would later find out, the 9th of March happened to be a Muslim holiday and the law enforcement wanted to make sure nothing got out of hand. (Luckily, we didn’t have to worry about anything like that.)
When the crew finally opened the doors and the crowd began to file in toward the stage, the rain began to pick up until just before the main act went on. The crowd, however, didn’t seem the least bit aware of the steady, heavy rain falling relentlessly. The first band up was a local Indonesian thrash/death metal band called Dead Squad. It was a tight, crisp, refreshing mix of machine gun blast-beats and chainsaw guitar riffs similar to the likes of Decapitated, Hour of Penance, and Lamb of God. They played for 45 minutes and got a decent moshpit started. The crowd seemed to be enjoying the band very much but most fans seemed to be saving their energy and intensity for the main attraction.
After a set change that seemed to last an eternity, the goose bumps started rising as the rain finally seemed to be letting up and Lamb of God was set to take the stage any moment. Minute after minute ticked by as the crowd became more and more restless as they started chants and clapped loudly in anticipation. Finally, after what seemed like ages, the lights went out and the intro used in the Download performance on the Walk With Me in Hell DVD began playing over the P.A.
As a veteran Lamb of God fan who’s seem them double digits now, I thought I knew what to expect. However, I was proved wrong. The Indonesian metal heads are fucking nuts. The first notes of ‘Hourglass’ sent the crowd into a frenzy, opening up the floor in a huge circle. They then dove right into ‘Laid to Rest’ before getting everyone up off their feet with ‘Walk With Me in Hell’. The set was full of hits off the past three albums, with only two songs from As the Palaces Burn and one from New American Gospel.
Laid to Rest
Walk With Me in Hell
Set to Fail
Now You’ve Got Something to Die For
Blacken the Cursed Sun
Twelve thousand miles away from home and they have fans that are possibly crazier than they’ve seen yet. Randy continually thanked the fans for their support and for inviting them to play in their country. In between songs he showed off a few Indonesian things he’d learn from some of the locals the day before at a press conference. The main one was putting his thumb in between his index finger and his middle finger (in Indonesia this is the equivalent to giving someone the middle finger) to the crowd and shouting in Java-nese.
Lamb of God never lack entertainment during live performances, from Randy Blythe’s rants in between songs to Mark Morton Vs. Willie Adler in their infamous staring and solo competitions to constantly encouraging the masses to scream along and “fuck shit up” in the pit… and did the Indonesians ever. The chants were extremely loud and overall the crowd was full of bottled up energy. As the sky had opened up throughout the evening, the pit did the same. People were crowd-surfing and moshing nonstop… Bodies flying everywhere. BOOM!