Brent Porche

Afternoons 3PM - 7PM

The date was November 11th 1997 – I was a junior in high school when Metallica announced a contest to have the band play a free show (FREE!!) in “your hometown”. Fans were encouraged to vote for their city through a national radio campaign. This ‘free’ show was part of the promotion of Metallica’s soon-to-be released 7th album ReLoad which was came out on November 18th 1997. The band and promoters ran into many issues along the way citing various local ordinances and the improbability of getting the proper permits for such an event.

That’s when Philly said, “Hold my beer” – close to 200,000 votes were cast and, in the end, Philadelphia was chosen as the host city of what has now become the Million Decibel March. Held in the parking lot of the, then known as, CoreStates Center (now the Wells Fargo Center) – also referred to as the Hard-CoreStates Center by James & the boys.

Even the Philly show was not without controversy and involvement of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Though the concert was free, fans would still need tickets to attend the show in the parking lot. I got my tickets at the local West Coast Video near my house. Friends and I waited out all night to get them. And it was SO worth it!

November 11th in 1997 fell on a Tuesday, a school day, which meant my friends and I were going to have to play “hooky” from class that day to make it down to South Philly in time. …again, WORTH IT!

I think the initial number of tickets given away was like 15,000. I remember seeing fans, without tickets, knocking down the fences and barricades to make their way into the free event. The eventual number of rabid Metallica fans that made it into the show was well over 50,000!

I have this really cool “parking lot tee” from the show, signed by Jason Newstead. It is one of the first concert tees I had ever purchased at that point. (pictured)

Million Decibel March  Million Decibel March 1997

Happy 25th Anniversary to Metallica’s Million Decibel March here in Philadelphia! The entire, very VHS quality show, also dubbed by Metallica’s fan club as “Banned in Philly” can be found online pretty much anywhere. It boasts some really cool shots of Philly too!

Setlist
Helpless (Diamond Head cover)
The Four Horsemen
Of Wolf and Man
The Thing That Should Not Be
Fuel
The Memory Remains
King Nothing
Bleeding Me
No Remorse
Am I Evil? (Diamond Head cover)
Stone Cold Crazy (Queen cover)
Encore:
The Wait (Killing Joke cover)
Master of Puppets
Encore 2:
Damage, Inc.

Bottom line… when in doubt, just go to the show! You won’t regret it! -bp

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