Orchestrating ‘The Metal Tour Of The Year’: ‘They’re Not Full Of Shit’

Metal Tour Of The Year
Jarrod Anthonee
– Metal Tour Of The Year
Multiple generations and types of metal fans gathered for the Metal Tour Of The Year, which averaged over 7,000 tickets sold per night.

While everyone involved with the “Metal Tour of The Year” has been part of strong package tours, it’s never simple. Except maybe this time, except for all the COVID stuff, maybe. 

“A lot of times some of the great packages don’t get off the ground because there’s too many people trying to do what they think is right by their artist – ‘My artist needs this, my artist needs that’ – and a lot of packages never get out of the gate,” says Artist Group International’s Peter Pappalardo, who represents Megadeth alongside AGI’s Justin Hirschman. “What was evident early on in this process was that it was mutually beneficial to get this thing moving forward. There was a lot of give and take on both sides where instead of being penny wise and pound foolish, everyone realized if you give up a little bit here the greater good is going to work out. It truly did happen.”

With AGI handling Megadeth and Sound Talent Group handling Lamb of God, Trivium and Hatebreed – and 5B managing the co-headliners – things were centralized in a way that usually doesn’t happen.
“Those guys are great to work with, they’re top-level pros and they’re pragmatic,” says STG co-founder and longtime Lamb of God agent Tim Borror, specifically about AGI’s Pappalardo and Hirschman. 
“They’re not full of shit. We all had a common goal and worked hard together. Over the course of the three years for this to actually happen, I became pretty good friends with them!”
Putting the tour together in the first place may have been the easy part, with constant COVID uncertainty forcing a decision in early 2021. 
“When we were planning to do it, there wasn’t a path there yet, from a perspective of having  large gatherings or concerts or however you want to put it,” Borror says. 
“We weren’t open for business when we planned we were going to be open for business. We all knew this was maybe a high-risk, high-reward scenario but one we felt like if we could do it in a safe way for the bands and safe way for the fans, we wanted to do it. Luckily for us it played out and we were able to do it.”
The agents credit Live Nation’s Rick Franks, for continuing to believe in the tour as a potential win for all parties, but also the boots on the ground, which includes the artists themselves. 
“A lot of the credit goes to obviously the artists, but also the touring crew, the touring personnel,” Pappalardo adds. “They had to come up with the protocols in conjunction with Live Nation that said, ‘if you want to keep the tour going, this is what you have to do.’ All the artists were open to following it, they knew 
how important it was not only to themselves financially but to getting the touring industry back on track. They took it seriously. There’s a lot of livelihoods that got crushed over this pandemic.” 
That attitude prevailed from top to bottom, with even the agents saying they were advised not to attend shows if it meant traveling.  
“If you have [a band member] go down, and we’re seeing that across the touring industry, it can go south quick,” Hirschman adds. “We were early, so these protocols that our staffs on the ground had to put in place, they were on the forefront of bands getting back out there. So they had to convince artists and employees to follow it 24/7 to the nose. I’m still amazed how well they did. It’s definitely not easy.”
For all the uncertainty presented in touring this summer, the core concept of “Metal Tour Of The Year” was always sound, and that ultimately is what held it together.
“Once you get the lineup put together, and 5B was very important in managing that, we just had to get on the same page, agency-wise between us and Tim, and do the work,” Hirschman says. 
“The beauty is we can now pat ourselves on the back because it was so successful.”