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.
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.
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”)
The Call of Ktulu
Harvester of Sorrow
Holier than Thou
All in My Hands
Nothing Else Matters (with St. Vincent).
Seek & Destroy
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