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[Guest Post] Artist Spotlight: Metallica

The following is a very special guest post from my brother, Mike, who has kindly written up a few posts for me to use when I don't have a lot of time for blogging.

Whether you’re a Metallica fan, a former Napster junkie, or a keen observer of the music industry, you’re probably familiar with Metallica’s Napster lawsuits. In a nutshell, Metallica found out that people were stealing their songs via Napster, then proceeded to take legal action against both Napster and their own fans. And then the music world crucified them.

So for Metallica to offer free music on is quite a miracle! And 17 full shows, not just a few songs! What’s the catch? None, really. You have to sign up for a free account with, and then you’re free to download the free shows categorized under “The Vault.” Not sure why these shows were picked to be free, other than the fact that songs occasionally cut out early or start halfway through.

But who needs 17 free, Metallica concerts of varying sound quality? Well, probably no one. So unless you just want to go gung-ho and download all 17, I’ll just tell you about the ones I have downloaded and why.

1. San Francisco, October 18, 1982. The mix is all over the place, and James sounds like a 13-year-old girl sometimes. So why get this one? Well, for one thing, this features Dave Mustaine (!) on lead guitar, as undermixed as he may be in several songs. The following April he was kicked out and started Megadeth. For another thing, you get a good selection of Kill ‘em All tunes back when they were really new. Plus you get James’ incredibly stupid stage banter. I won’t spoil it, but it’s really childish, funny, repetitive, and often METAL to the core.

2. San Francisco, March 15th, 1985. Other than a few tuning problems, this is a good recording from the Ride the Lightning era, which many consider to be the defining Metallica period. James' vocals are more mature, and Cliff's "hungry grizzly bear" backup vocals in several songs are quite the spectacle. For a young Metallica at the very beginning of metal greatness, this show is a must.

3. Austin, TX, February 3, 1989. This is from the …And Justice for All tour. Metallica were poised to become kings of the music world within just a few years. There's much more confidence from the entire band onstage, and they were also learning how to control their tempos as well. James introduces bassist Jason Newstead as "Jason Newkid," of course, marking the beginning of a 14-year hazing period. This show is an excellent performance that stands midway between the "old" Metallica and the "new" Metallica of the 90's.

4. Middletown, NY, June 17, 1994. Metallica on top of the world, before their fans abandoned them the following year with the Load album. Truly “live album” quality with five great tunes from the Metallica album. Also essential for a really neat Kill ‘em All / Ride the Lightning medley. Metallica was a well-oiled and very professional metal machine at this point.

5. Orlando, FL, July 13, 2003. St. Anger tour this time. Virtually identical in many respects to the NY show, but this time with Robert Trujillo on bass, the third great bassist in a row for Metallica. Also features two songs (!?) from the grossly underrated and overhated St. Anger album and one (!?) from Load/Reload. Wish they could have played more!

So there you have it. Take my suggestions or make your own choices. The above five shows span every major era and lineup of Metallica. I don’t know about you, but I sure am looking forward to downloading the next Metallica album illegally on Limewire (kidding!).

1. Official website:
2. Live Metallica:

Thanks, Mike! Those are some awesome picks. I had already downloaded a few of those shows, but I went back and downloaded the other ones you mentioned and have been really enjoying them. The only show I downloaded that wasn't mentioned here is the August 23, 1995 show from London, UK, which I think is pretty special because it features some Load/ReLoad songs performed nearly a year before Load was even released. "2X4" and "Devil's Dance" are both performed in their entirety, "Better Than You" is jammed on a little bit, and "Seek & Destroy" features an extended jam section that wanders deftly in and out of "The Outlaw Torn". Pretty cool stuff.


Mike said...

Thanks for posting, Jeff! For those who are reading, Jeff and I haven't seen each other in years and yet we remain startlingly similar to each other. We both build our music collections like our lives depend on it, and we're amazingly good at finding huge amounts of high quality music for free. And for the record, we both listened Metallica AND had long hair when NO ONE else in our town did.

djtriple8 said...

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