Back in the mid-90s it was hugely popular for bands to play a classic album live in its entirety.
Perhaps it was Pink Floyd who first kicked off this trend when they toured for The Wall, performing the album from beginning to end without singing any other songs.
The first time I recall Metallica performing a single entire album is when they belted out the entire Master of Puppets album from beginning to end at certain European shows. There were of course songs from the album the band never performed live like Orion, and Leper Messiah – and tracks they never did from their other albums – but eventually would play, like Dyer’s Eve from And Justice For All, Don’t Tread on Me from the Black album, and Escape from Ride the Lightning.
So with Metallica performing the Black album in its entirety overseas, albeit in reverse order from last song to first, they also performed the Ride the Lightning album in its entirety for the first time at the Orion music festival.
As Guitar World reports, the band’s show was a “triumph,” and although James Hetfield always said the song Escape was a tune the band “never wanted to play live ever,” when they finally performed it, he told the audience, “This is groundbreaking right here. This is historical. We’re not afraid. We’re just hoping it’s good.”
While every band has songs they have to play every show (could you imagine Deep Purple skipping Smoke on the Water!?) most bands also have quite a few gems they either never performed live, or haven’t done in a long time. As Lars Ulrich told Rolling Stone, “On the Death Magnetic tour, we were rotating around 70 songs, so every night, I would put a setlist together from a pool of about 70 songs. And out of the other albums we’ve played, the Lightning experience is the one that’s been the most effortless. Most of the songs are live staples that we can play more or less at any time.”
Metallica has quite a few musical gems they’ll pull out for fun, and still more the fans would love to hear. Personally, I think their incredible cover of The Misfits’s Green Hell, which kicked ass at the end of the Garage Days EP, definitely tops the list for me.