Metallica triumphs at Helping Hands benefit, returns to stage after losing a lawsuit

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L-R: Metallica Presents The Helping Hands Concert, December 16, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images, MTV and P+)

Metallica just lost. long-running legal battle against Lloyd’s of London, with a California judge absolving the insurance market company of any financial losses stemming from the band’s forced postponement of six 2020 South American shows due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But just one day after this disappointing ruling was announced, Metallica were in good spirits, back onstage and giving back, at Los Angeles’s intimate Microsoft Theater, for their third Helping Hands Concert & Auction fundraising event.

Frontman James Hetfield expressed his joy over being able to play again for Metallica’s diehard fans, saying, “We’ve been together forever, for 200 years. We’re so grateful to be doing what we’re doing.”

Hetfield and company even treated Friday’s audience to the live debut of a thrashy new track from Metallica’s COVID-delayed 72 Seasons Album, which will finally be released in April 2023. “We thought that this is such a special gig here that we’d play ‘Lux Æterna,’ which is the first single from [72 Seasons]. We’ll play that for the first time here live. How about that?” Hetfield rhetorically asked. A cymbal snafu caused the group to stop and start the song again, but the 7,100 elated concertgoers present, which included Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello as well as Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum did not seem to mind.

While “Lux Æterna” was the night’s only preview from 72 Seasons, the event, which benefited the band’s All Within My Hands foundationOther surprises were also included in the show. Metallica played their first-ever covers of Thin Lizzy’s “Borderline” (“Phil Lynott was writing that song about my life,” Hetfield quipped) and the UFO deep cut “It’s Killing Me,” the latter being drummer Lars Ulrich’s request. “We keep playing covers because it’s Fun,” Hetfield chuckled.

Then “new friend” St. Vincent — who actually covered Metallica’s “Sad But True” on last year’s all-star covers compilation, The Metallica Blacklist — came out to jam on another Black Album power ballad, “Sad But True.” During the half-acoustic/half-electric concert, San Francisco folk singer/multi-instrumentalist and former AWMH intern Avi Vinocur also joined in, playing mandolin, acoustic, and electric and 12-string guitars. (“All the stuff we don’t know how to do,” Hetfield remarked.)

Jimmy Kimmel hosted Friday’s show, declaring Metallica “one of the best bands in the history of the world,” while Robert Downey Jr. and Tony Hawk made surprise appearances to also sing the band’s praises and express their own fandom. Greta Van Fleet, rising hard-rocker, opened Friday’s show.

Metallica founded All Within My Hands charity in 2017 and has raised $12 million for food insecurity relief and natural disaster relief. The charity also helps to build sustainable communities through community college and workforce programs. This year’s AWMH memorabilia auctionThe benefit show, which started Dec. 5 and runs until Dec. 20. 100% of all proceeds from the auction and benefit shows will be donated directly to those in greatest need. Friday’s concert was live-streamed via Paramount+, and will be available to watch again in full Monday, Dec.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 16: James Hetfield of Metallica performs onstage as Metallica Presents: The Helping Hands Concert (Paramount+) at Microsoft Theater on December 16, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for P+ and MTV)

LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA – 16 DECEMBER: Metallica Presents – The Helping Hands Concert (Paramount+), December 16, 2022, Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images to P+ and MTV).

As for what comes next for Metallica, post-lawsuit and post-pandemic, on April 27, 2023 — two weeks after the hotly anticipated release of 72 Seasons, the band’s first studio album since 2016 – they’ll be back to playing stadiums on their two-year M72 World Tour. They will be performing two gigs each in each city with completely different setlists for each night. Below is the complete setlist for their December 16 Helping Hands concert.

Acoustic:

Blackened

The Unforgiven

Borderline

It’s killing me

Whiskey in a Jar

Intermission (introduced by Hetfield with: “We’re going to be right back, take a short intermission, and then come back and kick some metal ass”)

Electric:

The Call of Ktulu

Harvester of Sorrow

Holier than Thou

All in My Hands

Creeping Death

Enter Sandman

Lux Æterna

Nothing Else Matters (with St. Vincent).

Seek & Destroy

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