The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world



DECEMBER 7TH and 9th 2011








It's hard to believe that heavy metal giants Metallica have been doing their thing for 30 years. Even more so, while some will argue that things haven't been the same for the last 15 years or so, they are still undisputably at the top of their game, still selling records and still selling out stadiums and festivals worldwide. Not bad for a bunch of ratty looking pimply 18 year olds from California who in 1981 started a band that were so different and ahead of it's time that no one could have imagined where they would be in 30 years. And so in December of 2011 Metallica decided to celebrate the 30 years by throwing 4 shows in their hometown of San Francisco at the famous Fillmore Theater for their members of the Metallica fanclub, for the special price of $6 a ticket or $19.81 for all 4.




If you were lucky enough to win one of course. Through a contest held by the Metallica Club, which is run by the band, lucky winners were granted either 2 tickets to one show or 2 tickets to all 4 shows. So it was tough to get a ticket considering how limited they were due to the small size of the venue but I was fortunate enough to win a ticket for the 2nd show on December 7th. And as luck might have it, was also lucky enough to find another club member to swap our extra +1 tickets so I ended up going to the 3rd show as well on December 9th. The first show was on December 5th and the final show was on December 10th.




I have seen Metallica 12 times at this point and always either at festivals or at large arenas. Never at a club show and The Fillmore Theater with a capacity of roughly 800-1000 people, was definitely an intimate venue for a band this big so I knew it would be special. After doors opened at 6:30pm the crowd poured in, some rushing to the rail and others checking the place out which was decked in Metallica decorations and memorabillia including vintage guitars from the band's history and stage props from previous tours. A big video screen behind the stage featured video tributes from famous Metallica fans and other bands and people who were part of Metallica's history including the father of late bass player Cliff Burton which were all played inbetween the various acts and guests that came out on stage throughout the night.






The first act came out at 8:oopm, a brass band called the Soul Rebels featuring a horn section which began their performance in the middle of the crowd. The band performed several covers of Metallica songs instrumentally which turned out really great, certaintly a unique take on some classic songs. Next the band casually came out to introduce the MC for the shows, comedian Jim Bruer who is probably best known for being in Saturday Night Live. This part of the show featured trivia games on stage with participating fans answering questions and "guess that riff" games for prizes. Afterwards, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich came out to share some stories from the past and to introduce the opening band for the night, Armoured Saint. All opening bands at each show had a special connection to Metallica's history as would all guests at the show do. Singer John Bush was originally asked to be the singer for Metallica but never eventuated. As they said that night, it would of been a whole different story had that happened.




After Armoured Saint's awesome performance Metallica finally came out to perform a full set of songs, young and old, opening with To Live Is To Die, an instrumental classic which had never been performed in it's entirety before. The sound was fantastic, not as loud as an arena show but absolutely crystal clear and in your face. There is nothing that compares to a small club show, the vibe of the crowd, the band and the intimate feel of the show. The band were tight, much better than expected considering it had been a couple of months since their last live show. After a few more rarities and classics plus a "new" song "Just A Bullet Away", which was actually a leftover from the Death Magnetic sessions, the first of a barrage of guests came out. First up was a lucky club member who won the opportunity to perform a song with the band, performing an old Budgie cover "Breadfan". Followed by Marianne Faithfull, Ray Haller from Sweet Savage, Kid Rock, John Bush singing the full version of "The Four Horsemen", Lou Reed who came out to perform two tracks from the collaborative effort "Lulu" plus an old Velvet Underrground song "White Light/White Heat".




Former bass player of 14 years Jason Newsted also came out to play bass on two tracks and finally a reunited Mercyful Fate with King Diamond came out and played the lengthy Mercyful Fate Medley. The show ended with all guests performing on stage for "Seek And Destroy" while anniversary ballons featuring commemorative coins inside fell from the ceiling. By this time it was already 2am and it was an amazing ending to such an extravagant and mindblowing show which also ironically had such a casual feeling to it with no special intro's or pyros or any of the usual bells and whistles that you get at a Metallica show. It really felt like it was a family party and that was clearly what the band were tryin to achieve.









To Live Is to Die
Enter Sandman
Holier Than Thou
Disposable Heroes
Bleeding Me
Wasting My Hate
My Apocalypse
Just a Bullet Away
Breadfan (w/ MetClubber Andrew Dowis)
The Memory Remains (w/ Marianne Faithfull)
Killing Time (w/ Ray Haller)
Turn the Page (w/ Kid Rock)
The Four Horsemen (Full Version) (w/ John Bush)
Iced Honey (w/ Lou Reed)
The View (w/ Lou Reed)
White Light/White Heat (w/ Lou Reed)
Creeping Death (w/ Jason Newsted)
Battery (w/ Jason Newsted)
Mercyful Fate (w/ King Diamond, Hank Shermann, Michael Denner, and Timi Hansen)
Seek & Destroy (w/ Jason Newsted, Scott Ian, Ray Haller, John Bush, Joey Vera, Gonzo Sandoval, and the Soul Rebels Brass Band)











The next show on December 9th started out much the same way with the Soul Rebels opening the night and Jim Bruer being the MC for the show. Laaz Rockit was the opening band, who were one of the first bands Metallica opened for back in 1982. The band never really got much bigger than what they are but they still sounded as good as they could be. After a special thanks to the Metallica staff who help the band run the fanclub, Metallica headquarters and all the other things that help the band out and some words from Jim Martin of Faith No More fame, who was a close friend of bass player Cliff Burton, the band once again came out for another blistering set of rare and classic songs from their entire back catalogue. Clearly these shows were not for the casual fan as the setlists were filled with the not so typical Metallica songs that you hear at most shows. The band opened with another instrumental "Suicide & Redemption" and also performed another new song from the Death Magnetic sessions "Hell And Back", a groove mid-tempo heavy song which got the crowd headbanging immediately. The band performed a new song at each of these shows and were released online to club members for free and to the general public through iTunes and other online media sites.



Guests at this show included Jerry cantrell, Animal (from Anti-Nowhere League performing the full explicit So What song), Gary Rossington, Pepper Keenan, Jerry Cantrell, and Jim Martin who all came out for a special rendition of "Tuesday's Gone" which featured all of them from the radio broadcast performance in 1997 which was released on the Garage Inc. album, Jason Newsted returning for a couple of songs, who was also performing at all 4 shows, Misfits frontman Glenn Danzig and Rob Halford from Judas Priest. Like all 4 shows, all guests came on stage to perform the final song of the night "Seek And Destroy". As good as the previous show was, I think with the guests alone this one topped it. It was unbelievable with all these guests coming out to help celebrate Metallica's wonderful career.



Even though there was one more show the next night, this was my 2nd and final show for the week and I am so glad that I was part of this, another notch in Metallica's history, a unique event which will never be forgotten and always remembered fondly. It's things like this that make Metallica one of the best band's in the world.






Suicide & Redemption
Master of Puppets
...And Justice for All
Of Wolf & Man
Fade to Black
The Thing That Should Not Be
I Disappear
The Outlaw Torn
Hell and Back
Blitzkrieg (w/ MetClubber Joseph Guariglia)
For Whom the Bell Tolls (w/ Jerry Cantrell)
Nothing Else Matters (w/ Jerry Cantrell)
So What (w/ Animal)
Tuesday's Gone (w/ Gary Rossington, Pepper Keenan, Jerry Cantrell, and Jim Martin)
Fuel (w/ Jason Newsted)
Fight Fire With Fire (w/ Jason Newsted)
Die, Die My Darling (w/ Glenn Danzig)
Last Caress (w/ Glenn Danzig)
Green Hell (w/ Glenn Danzig)
Rapid Fire (w/ Rob Halford)
Seek & Destroy (w/ Jason Newsted, Jerry Cantrell, Pepper Keenan, Jim Martin, Glenn Danzig, Animal, Laaz Rockit, and the Soul Rebels Brass Band)




By Andrew