In December of 2011, Metallica celebrated their 30th anniversary with a four-night stand in their hometown of San Francisco. They could have easily packed a stadium many times over to commemorate the occasion, but they opted to play the Fillmore, which seats just over 1,000 people. The lucky few in attendance saw some of the most amazing shows in the group’s history, packed full of supreme rarities like “No Remorse” and “Wasting My Hate,” along with tons of special guests like Marianne Faithful, Diamond Head’s Sean Harris and Brian Tatler, Kid Rock, Lou Reed, Jerry Cantrell, Gary Rossington, Glenn Danzig, Rob Halford, Geezer Butler, Ozzy Osbourne and former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted.
As incredible as all that was, a single name topped the wish list of most Metallica fans: Dave Mustaine. Relations between the group and its original lead guitarist had been strained for years, and Mustaine was incensed by the way his appearance in the band’s 2004 documentary Some Kind of Monster was edited, but things thawed considerably the previous year when Metallica played a series of “Big 4” shows with Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax. Each night culminated with a jam where fans finally got to see Mustaine play with Metallica again, but it was always a cover song like Diamond Head’s “Am I Evil” and never a Metallica original.
Throughout the entire Fillmore stand, fans wondered whether or not Mustaine would make it out. It finally happened near the end of the last night when he joined the band for a selection of songs from Metallica’s 1983 debut, Kill ‘Em All. Mustaine didn’t play guitar on the album, but he co-wrote many of the tunes and appeared on the demos and many live renditions before he was replaced by Kirk Hammett.
Watching Mustaine play “Phantom Lord,” “Jump in the Fire” and “Metal Militia” with Metallica was an unforgettable sight for the fans, but few were prepared for what came next. Not only did they bring out original bassist Ron McGovney (who hadn’t played with the band since 1982), but another figure from Metallica’s distant past emerged. “Before I met James, the first guy that I actually played music with in America when I decided to go down that path, the first guy that answered my ad is going to come out and join us,” said Lars Ulrich. “On our version of ‘Hit The Lights,’ the first thing that Metallica ever put out, the following gentleman played all the guitar solos. Please give a warm welcome, for his first time ever on stage with Metallica, Lloyd Grant.”
The complete original lineup of Metallica, playing together for the first time since 1982, then performed a smoking rendition of “Hit the Lights” with Grant recreating his original solos. For the grand finale, they played “Seek and Destroy” with Jason Newsted, meaning that every living member of Metallica, past and present, was up there together. They were joined by Death Angel singer Mark Osequeda and guitarist Hugh Tanner, who played with James Hetfield in his pre-Metallica band Leather Charm.
Above, you can watch fan-shot video of “Hit the Lights.” The shows definitely warrant an official release on CD and DVD, but so far there’s no word on that happening.