Metallica returned to the Lollapalooza stage for the first time in nearly two decades this past weekend to play a crushing set that Rolling Stone declared the fest’s “Best Return.” Red Bull TV captured three tunes from the group’s headlining set – “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Wherever I May Roam” and “King Nothing” – and all of them are streaming here.
“For Whom the Bell Tolls” opens by showing Robert Trujillo playing original bassist Cliff Burton’s iconic opening cadence before jazzing it up. The rest of the band soon kicks in and Kirk Hammett plays an opening solo on his White Zombie–branded guitar. Toward the end of the clip, James Hetfield plays just for fans amassed at the back of the stage.
For “Wherever I May Roam,” Hetfield begins the song back by the fan enclave and Hammett brandishes a Dracula guitar. By the time the tune’s done, Hetfield has to wipe his brow.
And even though Hetfield introduces the last song Red Bull captured by saying simply, “This is ‘King Nothing,'” it’s worth noting that the Load tune was a mainstay on the group’s original headlining run on Lollapalooza in 1996. The throngs of fans behind the band raise their fists and chant along with the chorus, “Where’s your crown, King Nothing?” prompting Hetfield to say, “That’s how we do it here, we do it loud.”
Other than select one-off gigs, Metallica are focusing on writing a new record that Hammett estimated in April was 30 percent done. The group is also readying an archival campaign that began with the release of their demo cassette, No Life ‘Til Leather, for Record Store Day earlier this year.
“The No Life ’til Leather stuff just sounds so effortless, like it was all put together in an afternoon, which it was,” Ulrich told Rolling Stone in March. “As a 51-year-old living, breathing human being, you just sit there and go, ‘What the fuck do I have to drink to get that back? It’s just four kids who you’re playing without thinking about it.”