Metallica invited Ernie Ball Music Man-toting guitarist St. Vincent onstage to help them perform Nothing Else Matters at LA’s Microsoft Theater on Friday (December 16).
The band – who were playing their third annual Helping Hands charity concert in support of their nonprofit, the All Within My Hands Foundation – opened with acoustic renditions of Blackened and The Unforgiven, moving onto covers of Thin Lizzy’s Borderline, UFO’s It’s Killing Me and Whiskey in the Jar, before heading into their usual amplified full-band setup for Harvester of Sorrow, Creeping Death, Enter Sandman and for the first time ever, new single, Lux Æterna.
But for the penultimate track on the setlist, James Hetfield and co brought out St. Vincent – real name Annie Clark – to play classic Black Album ballad, Nothing Else Matters. Hetfield relinquished lead vocal duties to Clark, who covered the track’s clean electric guitar lines and harmonized leads with ease. Check out the performance below.
St. Vincent is, of course, no stranger to playing Metallica songs; last year, she appeared on The Metallica Blacklist, a compilation of cover songs from over 50 artists tackling tracks from Metallica’s legendary 1991 self-titled album. For her contribution, she transformed Sad But True into a brooding industrial rocker.
Metallica looked as tight as ever performing Lux Æterna, the lead single from their upcoming 11th studio album, 72 Seasons, for the first time, save for a false start due to a malfunctioning drum cymbal.
In front of bright yellow screens – which mimicked the color scheme of the forthcoming record – Hetfield used his long-trusted white Electra Flying V, which also appeared in the Lux Æterna music video, to deliver a true-to-form right-hand masterclass. Meanwhile, Kirk Hammett – who also debuted new custom Fender, Gibson and ESP models at the show – used his ESP KH-2 Sparkle Ouija guitar to kill the track’s whammy bar-laden solo. Watch the performance below.
Metallica's first album in six years, 72 Seasons, is set to arrive on April 14, 2023. As Hetfield explains, the album's concept is that as humans, our world view is fixed by the age of 18. “72 seasons. The first 18 years of our lives that form our true or false selves,” he writes.
It's a though-provoking concept, but the second the album was announced, we became fixated with figuring out the nature of the charred guitar on the cover.
Following 72 Seasons' release, the band will set off on a monstrous world tour, in which they'll play two nights in each scheduled city, with an entirely different setlist on each.
The tour is also set to host a selection of killer support acts, including Architects, Mammoth WVH, Five Finger Death Punch, Ice Nine Kills, Pantera, Volbeat and Greta Van Fleet.