Metallica Damaged Justice Tour
In 1988, Metallica released their pivotal album … And Justice for All and went from thrash-metal renegades to mainstream stars. But when their manager suggested an arena tour to support the LP, the band wasn't convinced. "I was like, 'Seriously?'" drummer Lars Ulrich recalls. "We knew we could do L.A., New York, San Francisco, but the American heartland didn't seem like a great idea. No band as extreme as ours had ever done a full arena tour. So we used Indianapolis as a yardstick. If we were cool there, we were cool almost anywhere. When the tickets went on sale in Indianapolis, we ended up doing 13,000 or 14,000, which in 1988 was an insane victory."
the Damaged Justice Tour, Metallica learned just how many authenticity-starved
headbangers were really out there. The band got the first taste of its
transformative power in the summer of 1988 when it was booked onto the Monsters
of Rock Tour, opening for Van Halen and Scorpions. At the L.A. Coliseum, fans
responded to Metallica's set by flinging their folding chairs at the stage to
create a football-field-size mosh pit. "It was bonkers," says bassist
Jason Newsted, who had recently joined the band, replacing the late Cliff
Burton. "For a kid coming off a farm and jumping into my favorite band, it
was very dreamy. I didn't sleep. Every day was another dream coming true."
He also got a lesson in how to conduct himself on the road. "I'd walk on
the crew bus of a big band and there's a pile of blow on the table in the front
lounge," Newsted recalls. "I look over there at my heroes, all red
and swollen, and I'm like, 'Guess what I'm not gonna do? That!'" The
kickoff of the Damaged Justice Tour coincided with the success of Metallica's
anti-war-themed video for their new single, "One," which quickly became
an MTV hit. At the peak of bloated hair metal, Metallica were playing jagged
seven-to-nine-minute-long thrash odysseys. But the crowds at their shows kept
growing. "The kids know that at the end of the day there's something very
real and honest about what we do," Ulrich told Rolling Stone in 1989. "You can't take that away from us."