Metallica fan sees rockers' softer side
Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo and Jed Roberts
By Jenny Suo
Teenage cancer battler Jed Roberts can’t put in words how he felt when he was given the chance to meet his all time favourite band: Metallica.
The 17-year-old, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at the end of last year, had always wanted to meet his heavy metal heroes.
“I’ve listened to their music for years and years and I really, really wanted to meet them, there hasn’t ever been anything else,” says Jed.
So when the Mount Maunganui student found out charitable foundation Make A Wish New Zealand was giving him that very chance, he was speechless.
“It’s hard to put in words. The second I found out, I was over the moon. I was really excited, I couldn’t believe it was happening.”
Jed’s father, Dean says he had low expectations when he applied for the wish, but Jed never lost hope.
“Make A Wish let us know several times how difficult it was to meet celebrities and that we should make an alternative wish, but Jed just stuck to his guns and said all he wanted to do was meet the band,” says Mr Roberts.
On the day of the meet and greet, Jed’s sickness almost caused him to cancel, but the Metallica junkie was adamant he would attend.
He says he “toughened up and just went for it”.
Jed and his father were picked up by a limo and taken to Auckland’s Vector Arena.
“It was a really slow drive and the tension just kept building, I just couldn’t believe it was actually happening.”
One by one, each band member spent time with Jed back stage until show time.
He says it was surprising how personable the heavy metal rockers were.
“They were really friendly. If you met them on the street you wouldn’t think they were rock stars. They just talked about their family, what they’re doing and their music.”
Jed had hoped to stay for the concert, but he was too unwell.
His dad Dean says he was touched by the band’s sensitivity: “Lars Ulrich, the drummer came in and said, ‘Look Jed, I hear you’re sick, would you like to come into the rehearsal room and we’ll do your own concert just for you?’.”
The young fan had to turn down his private show as well, but went home with guitar picks and drum sticks personally gifted to him.
Jed says he’ll have memories for life, and his father hopes they’ll meet again.
“Jed’s a strong one. If he wasn’t so strong, I don’t know where we’d be…Jed missed the concert but who knows, maybe one day he will be well enough to go.”