More than a quarter century after Metallica released their fourth album, . . .And Justice for All, and after many years of teasing fans with bits of the song, the group has given the track “The Frayed Ends of Sanity” its full live debut. The group has been on a “Metallica by Request” tour, wherein fans vote on the set list, that began in March in South and Central America and just picked up again in Europe. Concertgoers in Helsinki were the first to agree en masse that the thrash-metal trailblazers should indeed relearn the nearly eight-minute epic.
“This is an extra special song, so you have to get the crowd really pumped up,” frontman James Hetfield told a fan named Kari, while encouraging him to introduce the tune. As he began to announce the title, the audience roared the title along with him. Then the band began the opening notes of the tune, drawn from the March of the Winkies in The Wizard of Oz. When they finished the song, Hetfield nonchalantly said, “‘Frayed Ends,’ for you baby.”
Earlier this year, drummer Lars Ulrich told Rolling Stone how excited he was to play the song. “We’re going to have sit down and spin that one around for an hour or two,” he said. “We carry a rehearsal room with us wherever we go. Give us an hour and we can learn any song in our catalog. We like to make the set list real wacky and change it up as much as possible, but in 2014 the fans are picking the songs.”
The only song that fans aren’t picking on the Metallica by Request tour is “Lords of Summer,” a brand new eight-minute song from the group. Ulrich said to Rolling Stone in March that the tune is “fairly representative of where our creative headspace is at right now. It’s one of those things that’s like, ‘Here, we’re writing and we’re creating.'” The band also posted a “garage demo” of the song for people to hear.