35 Years Ago, Metallica Played Their First Concert


History never stops being made. As time goes on, there seems to always been something, an event that we remember that makes us celebrate the milestones that have developed. After years and years that have passed, that particular event becomes a large part of history, one that makes for a great deal of excitement and celebration.

Today, we celebrate March 14, 1982, a date in which we mark down on the calendars to commemorate the first concert that heavy metal pioneers Metallica played their first concert. This event marked the beginning of what was to become one of the biggest bands to hit the stage. With four kids from California, came a band that had hit the ground running hard towards greatness, at a small club in Anaheim, California.

With only months separating  them from their first performance, and their recording debut of “Metal Massacre,” the band was composed of James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Dave Mustaine and Ron McGovney. Throughout the bands early existence, drummer Lars Ulrich has stated on multiple occasions that some of his most notable influences were that of Diamond Head. That statement couldn’t be farther from the truth, as the majority of the set list played that night consisted of Diamond Head songs. Out of the remaining songs, only two of them were originals, including “Hit the Lights,” and “Jump in the Fire.”

“The first gig was at Radio City, and I was just singing,” Hetfield told Kerrang! a few years ago. “There were a lot of people there, maybe 200, because we had all my school friends and all Lars’ and Ron’s and Dave’s buddies. I was really nervous and a little uncomfortable without a guitar, and then during the first song Dave broke a string. It seemed to take him eternity to change it and I was standing there really embarrassed. We were really disappointed afterwards. But there were never as many people at the following shows as there were at that first one.”

As time went on, McGovney and Mustaine were very quickly phased out of the inner workings of Metallica, with McGovney being replaced by Cliff Burton, and Mustaine replaced by Kirk Hammett. It was full steam ahead at that point, with all the wheels in motion, Metallica would quickly become and unstoppable force that took the thrash metal scene by storm. And from there, it’s like they say…….the rest is history.

March 14, 1982 Setlist:
1. “Hit the Lights”
2. “Blitzkrieg (Blitzkrieg cover)
3. “Helpless” (Diamond Head cover)
4. “Jump in the Fire”
5. “Let it Loose” (Savage cover)
6. “Sucking My Love” (Diamond Head cover)
7. “Am I Evil?” (Diamond Head cover)
8. “The Prince” (Diamond Head cover)
9. “Killing Time” (Sweet Savage cover)

JT “Doc” Berry \m/