Metallica’s Orion Music and More festival may still be looking for a permanent home, but it successfully called Detroit home this weekend. There was truly something for everyone on Belle Isle. And it wasn’t all about the music at Orion either.
Fans could experience Metallica history by walking through the museum housing band memorabilia. There was a classic car show that James Hetfield of Metallica frequently visited over the two day stretch and Kirk Hammet of Metallica terrified metal heads with his haunted house.
For those in need of adrenaline, The Nerveless Nocks had “The Globe of Death,” a giant 18 foot tall steel ball cage. Michelangelo and Carolina Nock, with their son Cyrus, wowed the audience with motorcycle stunts inside the cage. If “The Globe of Death” wasn’t up your alley, fans could watch some of the best professional skateboarders on the Vans Vert Ramp, a 30 foot ramp attached to the Vans Damage Inc. Stage. For the festival-goer who wanted to do good while rocking out, there was the Rock & Recycle Crew. If you volunteered to fill a unique bag with recyclables, you received a commemorative shirt made of recycled materials.
Of course the performance from Metallica on Sunday night brought the most traffic to the island. It was a two-hour set including Metallica standards (“Master of Puppets,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls”) and even featured Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page” as one of the encores. Fireworks and lasers flew across the sky, marking a successful festival on the Detroit island.
Saturday night saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers closing out the evening with a high energy set as many fans were still walking in to the festival, catching the very last few songs. Long waits for tickets and shuttles caused problems, but were remedied on Sunday ushering in fans at a very efficient rate. RHCP fans were treated to all their hits including “Californication,” “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie,” and more as Saturday came to a close.
The Sanitarium stage over the weekend became almost a festival with in a festival. DJs kept the fans dancing with Electronic Dance Music (EDM) and flashing lights. Bassnector and Destroid saw huge crowds during their bass heavy sets over Saturday and Sunday. With the success of this stage, expect it to draw larger crowds and artists in the coming years.
The big surprise of the weekend was Metallica playing a secret set under the name “Dehaan” on Saturday afternoon. Word got out quickly, as the band began to play a 10-song set lasting nearly 55 minutes, as an anniversary to Metallica’s album “Kill Em All.”
Robert Trujillo of Metallica saw the most stage time this weekend. He had double duty on day one, playing for “Dehaan” and for Infectious Grooves. The funk metal supergroup rocked through Led Zepplin’s “Immigrant Song” and their own hit “Therapy,” and more. Sunday, he played the Vans Damage Inc stage with the Truijilo Trio and his normal Metallica set to close out the evening.
Rumors swirled the Orion grounds during the Truijilo Trio set with a possible appearance for Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, but they turned out to be just rumors.
Orion wasn’t all national acts either, a few local bands from Detroit were featured on the bill and drew heavy crowds. Battlecross performed a standout set of pure thrashing metal on Saturday. Hetfield introduced Battlecross and could be seen side stage head banging along to the music. Truijilo introduced the band Death on Sunday to the masses. The band has seen a recent resurgent in fans due to a documentary out called “A Band Called Death.”
The only noticeable problem to Orion attendees this weekend, besides ticket and shuttle issues Saturday, was the last minute cancellation of The Joy Formidable due to ‘travel issues.’ They were scheduled to take the Orion main stage on Sunday.
So sorry Orion Fest, we’ll make it up to you Detroit. R&R&M
— joyformidable (@joyformidable) June 9, 2013
Orion will return to Detroit for the next two years, with hopes of the city becoming it’s permanent home. Earlier in the week, Hetfield told press conference attendees that they’re ”trying to find a home for Orion and hopefully this will be the one… This site is amazing, it’s beautiful. We love it here!” And judging by the crowds, Detroit loved it too.
– Steve Wiseman & Shelia Taylor, CBS Radio, Detroit