Metallica were halfway into their rain-drenched set at Manchester, England’s Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night when James Hetfield handed the stage over to bassist Robert Trujillo and guitarist Kirk Hammett. “These two guys like to get up to no good and have fun and come up with fun little songs to play for you all,” Hatfield said. “I have no idea what’s going to happen, so enjoy the unknown.”
“We’re playing local music tonight celebrating the music of this city,” Trujillo told the audience. “You’ve got to sing because I can’t!” With that, he went into the familiar bass intro of “I Wanna Be Adored” by local legends the Stone Roses. That band is so popular in Manchester that they were able to play four straight nights at the same stadium on their 2016 reunion tour, so the crowd was quite ready to sing along even if they occasionally needed some help from Trujillo. “That’s a beautiful song he said,” when it was over.
The amazing moment was the latest unexpected bass/guitar cover that Hammett and Trujillo have pulled out at Metallica shows in recent years. Other crowds have gotten the chance to hear Abba’s “Dancing Queen,” Garbage’s “Stupid Girl” or Bachman–Turner Overdrive’s “Taking Care of Business.” The setlist lists these moments as “Kirk/Rob Doodle” and the other band members often have no idea what song they’re going to tackle until it begins, but it’s often by an act that began in whatever city they’re playing that night. “Sometimes it gets a little bit challenging to decide on an artist or a song,” Trujillo told Rolling Stone in 2018. “You may be in Sioux Falls, and you’re like, ‘OK, I gotta dig deep here.’ But when you find the right song, it’s really cool. It’s a way for Kirk and I to show honor and respect to some of the songwriters in the bands from that particular area. When you get into [places like] Omaha, Nebraska, it’s really a lot of fun.”
Metallica are spending the much of the summer gigging at stadiums and festivals around Europe, though in September they are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their S&M concert where they played with the San Francisco Symphony. They have two nights booked at San Francisco’s Chase Center where they’ll once again perform with the symphony.