METALLICA's LARS ULRICH: Why We Decided To Perform 'Black' Album In Reverse

Official Metallica.com footage of METALLICA's pre-show meet-and-greet, tuning-room jam and "The God That Failed" performance at the May 10 show of the band's European tour at the Sonisphere festival at the Bemowo Airport in Warsaw, Poland can be viewed below.

METALLICA performed its top-selling 1991 LP, "Metallica", a.k.a. "the black album," in its entirety at the Warsaw concert. As they have done on all the shows on their current European tour, the band played the LP backwards, starting with closing number "The Struggle Within" and ending with "Enter Sandman".

The band's setlist was as follows:

01. Hit The Lights
02. Master Of Puppets
03. The Shortest Straw
04. For Whom The Bell Tolls
05. Fight Fire With Fire
06. The Struggle Within
07. My Friend Of Misery
08. The God That Failed
09. Of Wolf & Man
10. Nothing Else Matters
11. Through The Never
12. Don't Tread On Me
13. Wherever I May Roam
14. The Unforgiven
15. Holier Than Thou
16. Sad But True
17. Enter Sandman

Encore:

18. Creeping Death
19. One
20. Seek & Destroy

Asked whose idea it was for METALLICA to play the "black" album in reverse on the current tour, the band's drummer, Lars Ulrich, told Rolling Stone magazine, "If you like the idea, it was mine. If you don't, it was James' [Hetfield, guitar/vocals]. For better or worse, I'm the setlist guy. This is all subject to change if it doesn't work. But the idea of starting off with the lesser-known songs buried down there and ending up with 'Sad But True' and 'Enter Sandman' seems like a winner. You finish with the money shot, which is the first song."

On the topic of the "black" album's shift away from sped metal to shorter, simpler songs, which set the tone for the rest of METALLICA's career, Lars said, "I'm a big believer that the records all thread together. That straighter, four-on-the-floor thing was present on earlier records, in 'Harvester Of Sorrow' and 'Ride The Lightning'. But we went all-out because there was nowhere else to go. Where do you go after 'Dyer's Eve'? You can't get faster. You can't get more pissed off than Hetfield barking at his parents. That was the end of the Eighties for us."

He continued, "We played a show with AEROSMITH in the summer of 1990, right at the time we started writing the 'black' album. I remember sitting under the grandstand with [co-manager] Cliff Burnstein. He said, 'The MISFITS are a huge part of your influence — 'Last Caress' is a minute and a half long, [THE ROLLING STONES'] 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' is part of who you are. You just haven't released it yet.'

"I went back to San Francisco and there was a riff on Kirk's [Hammett, guitar] on tape [hums the 'Enter Sandman' lick]. The whole thing is just that riff. 'Enter Sandman' was the blueprint. The rest of the record appeared over two months."

METALLICA will play the complete "black album" at its own Orion Music + More festival, scheduled for June 23-24 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. METALLICA is headlining both days and will perform its entire 1984 album "Ride The Lightning" for the first time ever on the other day of the festival.

"Metallica" in 2009 surpassed SHANIA TWAIN's 1997 record, "Come On Over", as the best-selling CD of the SoundScan era. To date, the black album has sold 15,776,000 copies in the United States.

Although METALLICA had scored their first radio and video airplay with their previous effort, 1988's "...And Justice For All", the black album was the band's biggest commercial breakthrough, producing five singles and making them into one of the most popular rock bands in the world.

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