Metallica wrapped up their weeklong Late Late Show residency in fitting fashion Friday night as the metal gods churned out a sharp, pulverizing rendition of The Black Album's "Sad but True," a subtle reminder that both their week of top-notch performances on Craig Ferguson's late night program and the host's Late Late tenure were coming to an end.
Metallica kicked things off Monday night with "Hit the Lights," the first track the band ever recorded together. They followed that up Tuesday with the 1997 Reload cut "Fuel." Wednesday night brought Ride the Lightning's "For Whom the Bell Tolls," and Thursday featured another Black Album classic "Enter Sandman." (U2 was also scheduled for a Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon residency this week before Bono's bicycle accident postponed that event.)
Metallica performed Friday night despite November 21st being "No Music Day," which Ferguson alluded to in his opening monologue. Conceived by the KLF mastermind Bill Drummond, No Music Day has various meanings, from a stand against the "cheapening of music as an artform" to an effort to stress its importance in our everyday lives by taking note of its absence. As Ferguson jokes, it is "a day where you're not supposed to have any music at all… it's what MTV calls 'everyday.'"
At the very end of "Sad but True," after Ferguson bids the audience goodnight, James Hetfield comes over and drapes his black guitar over the host's shoulder, a sweet gesture as Ferguson inches toward the end of his Late Late Night gig on December 19th (He'll be replaced by British actor James Corden). Maybe the Scottish comedian's next job can be as a guitar tech for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band.
"What better way to celebrate Craig's awesome tenure at CBS than to come and shake the rafters for a whole week," drummer Lars Ulrich told Rolling Stone after Metallica announced their Late Late Show residency. "Nothing to sell, nothing to promote (except a reissue DVD)...purely hanging at Craig's personal request. Bring it!" The band's 10th anniversary Blu-ray edition of Some Kind of Monster is out November 24th.