words by Jason Roche, photos by Jay Valena

Los Angeles music enthusiasts are spoiled every year when the Grammy Awards come to town. The one-off shows, parties, and events that occur on the periphery are more exciting to some fans than the vaunted award show itself. Metal showgoers finally got in on the action this year with a post-awards performance from Metallica on Sunday, February 12th at the 3,000-capacity Hollywood Palladium. The event was a part of the Grammy Week Citi Sound Vault series sponsored by Citi Card (Beck also played one).

The day of the awards had been a rather weird one that is sure to go down in Metallica folklore for years to come. A collaborative Grammy Awards performance with pop star Lady Gaga was plagued with mic difficulties for James Hetfield. Many Metallica fans had been approaching the announced Grammy Awards appearance with cautious trepidation. The mic troubles would eventually be rectified halfway through the performance of “Moth Into Flame”, but the rough start already saw a large segment of social media declare the production a misstep.

That is why it was so satisfying to see the evening end with Metallica performing an all-killer, no-filler setlist for their fans, some of whom had been lined up since 7PM Saturday night. The majority of those in line had not seen the Grammy Awards appearance. Word had spread that it didn’t go exactly well. All of the innuendo was washed away when the band took the stage at 11:15PM, more than two hours after doors opened.

Metallica launched the evening-ending festivities with a fiery rendition of the title track from their latest record, Hardwired…to Self-Destruct. The remainder of the setlist was aimed at the hardest of the die-hard Metallica fans. The next song was longtime classic “Creeping Death”, and the remaining seventy minutes of the set was classic after classic. The only song beyond Metallica’s first four records that surfaced for the rest of the night was the obligatory rendition of “Enter Sandman.” The guy next to me in the Armored Saint t-shirt that saw Metallica perform at this venue with that band in 1985 couldn’t even argue with tonight’s setlist.

Metallica’s newest recorded foray got the show off to a good start. The band – especially James Hetfield – really kicked up their energy level when they started barreling through the old standards. Hetfield’s vocals weren’t at their best. He seemed to still be recovering from the ailment that forced a cancellation in Denmark last week. His enthusiasm for ending his day here more than made up for any vocal failings. Hetfield roamed every side of the stage as if he was performing in the band’s usual arena haunts. He beckoned the crowd to throw their fists in the air and make their own voices heard with every song, even if Kirk Hammett did some of the heavier lifting on the shout-along parts of songs like “Master of Puppets.”

Hammett himself kicked his guitar shredding up a notch, putting on a blazing performance on his solos. He was still decked out in his stage wear from the Grammy appearance. His playing tonight came off as being from a man who knew that there were some demons from earlier in the night that needed to be exorcised, most notably during the coda of “For Whom The Bell Tolls.”

The only mention of the earlier events of the evening was after the final song of the night. Lars took the mic after “Seek and Destroy” to thank the fans, jokingly asking “Does this mic work? Yes? Let’s get this down to the Staples Center!” Otherwise, the room tonight was a sanctuary from the odd happenings that occurred throughout the day. There were no other mentions of the Lady Gaga performance, and no mentions of the more humorous incident where the Grammy Awards house band played “Master of Puppets” after Megadeth won their Best Metal Performance Grammy Award today.

The 75-minute set was abbreviated compared to the standard two-hour set Metallica presents at their arena shows. A few fans grumbled about the set length, but if Metallica was going to do a shortened set, they put together an almost perfect setlist to fill that time. The day ended with Metallica fans walking out of the Hollywood Palladium relieved that they got a great set from a band of hard-working road warriors that seemed to be relieved to be ending their day performing that great set for their dedicated fans.

Speaking of their arena shows, the band announced a big 2017 tour today with openers Avenged Sevenfold and Volbeat (and Gojira on a few shows). All tour dates and the Palladium setlist, below:

Hollywood Palladium Setlist:
(The Ecstasy of Gold sound clip intro)
Hardwired…to Self-Destruct
Creeping Death
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Harvester of Sorrow
Master of Puppets
Enter Sandman
Seek and Destroy

Metallica — 2017 North American Tour Dates
May 10 – Baltimore, MD – M&T Bank Stadium • †
May 12 – Philadelphia, PA – Lincoln Financial Field • †
May 14 – East Rutherford, NJ – MetLife Stadium • †
May 17 – Uniondale, NY – The New Coliseum Presented by NYCB †
May 19 – Foxborough, MA – Gillette Stadium †
May 21 – Columbus, OH – Rock On The Range @ MAPFRE Stadium**
June 4 – St. Louis, MO – Busch Stadium †
June 7 – Denver, CO – Sports Authority Field at Mile High • †
June 11 – Houston, TX – NRG Stadium • †
June 14 – San Antonio, TX – Alamodome •
June 16 – Dallas, TX – AT&T Stadium*** •
June 18 – Chicago, IL – Soldier Field •
July 5 – Orlando, FL – Camping World Stadium • †
July 7 – Miami, FL – Hard Rock Stadium • †
July 9 – Atlanta, GA – SunTrust Park • †
July 12 – Detroit, MI – Comerica Park • †
July 14 – Quebec City, QC – Festival D’Ete de Quebec***
July 16 – Toronto, ON – Rogers Centre • †
July 19 – Montreal, QC – Parc Jean-Drapeau • †
July 29 – Los Angeles, CA – Rose Bowl • ‡
August 4 – Phoenix, AZ – University of Phoenix Stadium • ‡
August 6 – San Diego, CA – Petco Park • ‡
August 9 – Seattle, WA – CenturyLink Field • ‡
August 14 – Vancouver, BC – BC Place • ‡
August 16 – Edmonton, AB – Commonwealth Stadium • ‡

** Rock On the Range is sold out.
*** Dallas will go on sale on February 18.
**** Quebec City will go on sale on March 9.
• Support from Avenged Sevenfold
† Support from Volbeat
‡ Support from Gojira

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