A Softer Side of Metallica Emerges at the Masonic

in SF Concert Reviews by

Early on into Metallica’s fundraiser show at the Masonic last night, singer James Hetfield took a moment to give a shoutout to his brother sitting in the audience, and mentioned how their mom would’ve been proud of him and this event. “You put good out there, and good comes back to you,” said Hetfield.

The show was organized by Metallica’s new foundation All Within My Hands, which according to its website was created to provide sustainable communities by tackling the issues of hunger and workforce education and encouraging volunteerism.

To assist in raising funds for the cause, a silent auction was paired with an acoustic performance, during which attendees could bid on various items. Things like vintage rock photography prints of the band, warriors and 49ers Jerseys, and even some homegrown honey from James Hetfield himself. Yes, it seems that the man who’s always shied away from the rockstar persona that’s been forced upon him is now a beekeeper in his new hometown of Vail, Colorado.

James Hetfield’s honey, Haunted Hives, was just one of the numerous items auctioned off at last night’s benefit show at the Masonic in San Francisco.

The stage of the Masonic looked more intimate than usual last night and was set up with swanky couches on each side the stage for what looked like some very VIP attendees. And so in true Hetfield humor, the man with the newly grown handlebar mustache had to ask, “How come we don’t get a couch? I got a hard stool, which will probably require a trip to the doctor.”

This triggered a flurry of laughter and set the mood for the evening, which was more informal than the typical big arena shows we’ve come to expect from these metal pioneers. What wasn’t missing from the equation was the casual banter between Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, a dynamic that we got a taste of during their documentary, Some Kind of Monster.

The majority of the songs played last night were mostly covered interestingly enough. Songs from bands that influenced Metallica during its formative years. Bands like Nazareth, Blue Oyster Cult and Depp Purple. And one that’s always been a favorite amongst the fans, “Turn the Page,” by Bob Segger. Some interesting interpretations of old classic Metallica songs completed the setlist that included “Disposable Heroes,” “Enter Sandman,” and “All Within My Hands.”

All in all, the event looked like a major success. It’s always nice to see rockstars giving back to the community. And for the fans, seeing a legendary band of this stature play an intimate venue like the Masonic must have seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime. My only question is, where can I get my hands on some of that Hetfield honey?

Photos by Louis Raphael


Having released albums under Digital Nations, a label founded by Steve Vai, music critic Louis Raphael has remained deeply connected to the pulse of the San Francisco music scene. Following his tenure as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he embarked on creating Music in SF® to authentically highlight the vibrant offerings of the city's music scene.

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