After rocking out at the Grammys with unofficial new member Lady Gaga, Metallica announced their first full U.S. tour since 2008, with tickets going on sale Valentine’s Day. Microphone issues aside, the legendary metal group from San Francisco has been selling out shows worldwide for well over 30 years, and are arguably the greatest live metal act of all time. If you’ve been a fan since day one, or are going to experience them for the first time, here are some of their best live performances to whet your whistle before the WorldWired Tour starts later this year.
“For Whom the Bell Tolls” – 1985
It’s Cliff Burton’s solo at the beginning of this rendition of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” from Oakland’s A Day on the Green music festival that makes this version one of their best. If you were to close your eyes while the music was playing, you could almost swear he was shredding on a guitar, and not using his fingers with a bass. If not for his tragic death a year later, Burton would probably be known as one of the, if not the, greatest bassists of all time.
“Enter Sandman” – 1992
As one of the headlining acts at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium in London, Metallica started off strong with THE heavy metal song of the 1990s. As soon as that beginning riff picked up, you knew it was time to throw the devil horns in the air. Combine that with over 80,000 people at Wembley watching, and it’s the perfect recipe for something special.
“Master of Puppets” – 2012
The title track of the band’s third album was paired with some magnificent visuals thanks to the 2012 concert film Through the Never. Set to the backdrop of a Metallica concert, a roadie played a then-mostly-unknown by Dane DeHaan is sent on a job to retrieve a package and get it back to the band (That’s really all we were told about the plot, yet still looks awesome). This is my personal favorite Metallica song, and watching a performance in this live/movie setting was a cool and different way to experience it.
“Battery” – 1999
If you’ve ever gone to a special movie screening where an orchestra plays the score along with the film, you know that it enhances the experience in a big way. Metallica knew this back in 1999 when they teamed up with Michael Kamen and the San Francisco Symphony to create S&M. “Battery” has a soft acoustic guitar intro before quickly becoming one of the group’s fastest songs. Having the symphony playing that intro and the build-up to the guitars is absolutely stunning.
“Sad But True” – 1993
As part of their Live Sh*t: Binge and Purge box set, Metallica released a full three-disc concert from Mexico City. The fifth track off of the first disc was the heaviest rendition of “Sad But True” you will ever hear. The guitar was grinding, the drums were super loud, and you could hear the anger in Hetfield’s voice throughout the entire song. It was and is a true classic.
“Atlas Rise” – 2016
What’s the point of gearing up for a Metallica tour if you aren’t sure if they can still go nuts? Well, if this performance from Jimmy Kimmel is any indication, I have some good news for you. “Atlas Rise,” which hails from their new album Hardwired…To Self-Destruct, only furthers their “return to form” trend they started back with Death Magnetic. Fast and heavy, this song shows that even 30 years later, Metallica can still thrash with the best of them.
So what do you think? Which one of these performances is your favorite? What’s one that you would want to add to the list? Let me know on Twitter or charge your Battery and Ride the Lightning into the comments below.
Featured Image: MetallicaTV