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Did two members of Metallica's road crew catch fire and suffer burns on Saturday night (July 28th), during the first of a eight-show stand in Mexico City? Video footage posted online by El Universal suggests that's the case, as the two stagehands were seen struggling with a malfunctioning pyro launcher during "Enter Sandman" when both were suddenly engulfed in flame. As frontman James Hetfield called for the band to stop playing, other crew members doused the men with fire extinguishers and took them off the stage in stretchers, with the band resuming its show a few minutes later.
But was it real? A spokesperson for the promoter said it was "all part of the show," and in fact Metallica has staged this type of "accident" before during its 1997 tour, on which the show ended with the stage seemingly collapsing around the band as one crew member caught fire and another dangled upside down from the fallen lighting rig. The effect was caught on the band's Cunning Stunts DVD.
The show on Saturday marked the debut of a new 140-foot-by-50-foot stage that features "colossal components and striking visual elements spanning Metallica's entire 30-year career," meaning that the "accident" stunt could be back for an encore.
At a press conference before the show, frontman James Hetfield said that the band was focused on "staying alive" while performing alongside the "dangerous elements" of the new production, with bassist Robert Trujillo adding, "Like James said, it's very dangerous -- we've got stuff flying every which way."
A post in the "Tour Journal" section of Metallica's official website related that "s*** really hit the fan (during 'Enter Sandman' with) loud bangs, random fireworks, falling towers, falling spot light guy, falling scaffolding, guy was caught on fire . . . then a complete blackout."
Although Metallica has always used spectacular stage productions, drummer Lars Ulrich joked a while back that no gig is too big or small for the band: "When I say we'll show up and play stadiums, arenas, you know, basements or backyard barbecues, I mean that seriously."
Following its Mexico City stand, Metallica next plays the Outside Lands festival in San Francisco and then two shows in late August in Vancouver, which will be filmed for the band's upcoming 3D movie.