Backstage At Metallica

By Leo Maxam /

The first time Metallica played a concert in Indonesia 20 years ago a riot broke out when hundreds of people who couldn’t get into the show went on a rampage and tried to burn down the arena. As the story goes, the band had to cut its act short and be wheeled out the back door on ambulance stretchers, hidden beneath white sheets to escape the mayhem. So when Metallica finally returned to Jakarta on Sunday for their first concert since that rocky first show, it was bound to be a good time.

Metallica saved the Jakarta concert for the grand finale of their week-long tour of Southeast Asia, basing themselves in Bali between shows. Lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo spent pretty much every moment not on stage at the beach surfing with longtime friend and Bali-based photographer Jason Reposar (Repo is also the genius who created the cover for the latest issue of Bali Belly mag).

To make sure his buddies got plenty of waves, Repo enlisted Betet and Rizal to take Kirk and Rob surfing around Bali. Even though Betet prefers gangster rap, he was happy to roll out the red carpet for the rock legends and take them everywhere from Canggu to Padma to the airport reefs. By the end of the week, Kirk and Rob were honorary Kuta locals. “Kirk fucking love me,” explains Betet. “He say to me, ‘I’m your brother. I’m the white Balinese Betet.’”

Betet was hoping his new friends would let him use one of their multi-platinum songs free of charge for his next RVCA video edit, but then he found out how much they usually charge for that sort of thing. Instead, the band hooked Betet, Repo and the rest of the boys up with a bucketload of backstage passes for the Jakarta show. Of course, within hours Repo and Betet’s phones started blowing up and the backstage guest list filled up faster than the parking lot at Uluwatu on a Sunday night. Twenty-four hours later a small army of Bali surfers had booked flights to Jakarta, all amping to see Metallica make their long-awaited return to Indonesia.

Everyone who made it to Jakarta for the show agreed: Metallica fucking killed it. Betet says the guys are already talking about coming back to Indo to play another show. “Kirk text me when he get home and say he can’t wait to come back to Bali,” says Betet. “He talk about maybe doing a concert at GWK. Hopefully they come back again next year.” If a good swell shows up on the charts for Indo, they might be back a lot sooner.