The mighty Metallica is celebrating 30 years at the top of the thrash metal pile this year, and last week they cranked up the volume in style, with four spectacular performances at the legendary Fillmore Theatre in San Francisco, California.
Ever since their explosive first album Kill ‘Em All in 1983, L.A.-born Metallica have brought the loudest, baddest metal to the mainstream, even after the forced departure of their original singer and lead guitarist Dave Mustaine in 1983 ( who promptly formed his own band Megadeath) and a shift away from their thrash-punk roots to a more clinical thrash sound with the acclaimed album …And Justice For All in 1988. Since then they have weathered the tides of metal fashion better than most and are now rightly considered true megastars of rock, appearing on literally millions of music-t-shirts around the world – including that of Beavis and Butthead!
Their most recent album, 2008’s Death Magnetic, was the first to feature new bass player Robert Trujillo, following the departure of Jason Newsted, and marked a return to the band’s thrash metal roots. The band is currently working on a new album – as yet untitled. Metallica has also this year recorded Lulu, a joint album with Lou Reed, which was released at the end of October.
This summer, members of the international Metallica Club were given the chance to enter a lottery promising tickets to all the Fillmore shows at the bargain basement price of just $19.81 for all four, or single show tickets at $6. The shows sold out within seconds.
The shows last week showed why Metallica remain number one for their fans. Each night saw a completely different set list, which meant that the band played 80 songs in total over the four-night run.
There were also scores of special guest stars performing at the Fillmore shows, who had special significance to their music or their 30-year career. These included Apocalyptica, Armored Saint, Geezer Butler, John Bush, Biff Byford, Jerry Cantrell, Nick “Animal” Culmer, Glenn Danzig, Death Angel, King Diamond, Diamond Head, Marianne Faithfull, Lloyd Grant, Rob Halford, Ray Haller, Pepper Keenan, Kid Rock, Laaz Rockit, John Marshall, Jim Martin, Mercyful Fate, Ron McGovney, Dave Mustaine, Jason Newsted, Ozzy Osbourne, Soul Rebels Brass Band, Lou Reed, Bob Rock, Gary Rossington, and Hugh Tanner. As if this roll call was not enough, at the end of each night’s show, all the guests came back on stage to join in the traditional finishing song – Seek And Destroy!