Metallica comes full circle

Metallica recently wrapped up a week’s worth of shows to celebrate its 30th anniversary. 

As expected, the week was full of great special guests, reunions with long lost members from the early days, and a climatic jam that brought Metallica together with the pioneers of metal, Black Sabbath themselves.

As reported on Blabbermouth and Rollingstone, estranged bassist Jason Newsted came back to jam with the band every night, and the second night, Armored Saint / Anthrax vocalist John Bush made an appearance to sing The Four Horsemen. 

The members of Metallica were big fans of Saint, and wanted Bush, one of the most under-rated vocalists in metal, to join them as their singer while James would stick to rhythm guitar.

Mercyful Fate, a huge influence on Metallica came out and jammed one night (Fate producer Fleming Rassmussen also produced Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, and Justice), and old, disgruntled former lead guitarist Dave Mustaine also put his grudges aside, for the time being at least, and played on three songs he co-wrote on Kill ‘Em All, namely Phantom Lord, Jump in the Fire, and Metal Militia (Mustaine also co-wrote The Four Horsemen, which was originally called The Mechanix.)

As writer David Fricke noted of Mustaine’s performance, he “kept to his side of the stage, rarely venturing as far as Ulrich’s drum riser, as if he couldn’t help but see the chasm between him and what might have been – not so much the road not taken as taken from him.”

Three members from the early, early days of Metallica also jammed with the band, including Lloyd Grant, who played lead guitar on the Metal Massacre version of Hit the Lights, early guitarist Hugh Tanner, and original bassist Ron McGovney.

Among many of the long lost classics Metallica performed during their week long reunion included Orion, Call of Ktulu, To Live is to Die, Disposable Heros, as well as songs that didn’t make the Death Magnetic album, like Hate Train, and Just a Bullet Away. 

Special guests also included Glen Danzig, who sang Die Die My Darling and Last Caress / Green Hell, Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington who jammed on Tuesday’s Gone, and Lou Reed. Reed and the band played three songs from Lulu, and Ulrich joked to the crowd, “If you’re not nice, we’ll play the whole thing.”

Finally the shows were closed out with Black Sabbath jamming with Metallica on Sabara Cadabra, A National Acrobat, (both from the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath album), and their all time perennials Iron Man and Paranoid.

As Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler remarked, Metallica was a “great bunch of guys, and, of course, one of the world’s greatest bands. The late, great Cliff Burton was definitely in the house with us, and smiling…”