Metallica brings charity center stage

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The band Metallica has been the face of America’s heavy metal scene since the 80s. They recently hosted their first live-streamed, worldwide concert on November 14 as a part of the “Helping Hands Live & Acoustic from HQ” event. This new collaborative concert, which combines music and charity, marked a new development in their efforts to establish themselves as not only the leaders in heavy metal, but also in philanthropy.

All of the proceeds earned from their $15 concert tickets went directly to the All Within My Hands Foundation (AWMH), a nonprofit organization founded by the band members. AWMH  supports local communities by funding initiatives such as workforce education and programs designed to fight food insecurity. It partners with local and national organizations, including Feeding America and the American Association of Community Colleges, and has had tangible impact—Metallica was able to donate over 30,000 local meals using ticket revenues from a single concert.

The concert used its virtual format creatively. Screens covering the four walls of the band’s studio displayed the faces of their fans watching from all over the world, giving the band the opportunity to interact with fans in between songs. Fans were even able to unmute themselves, speak to the band members, and show off their guitar collections at home—something that would not have been possible in a traditional concert setting.

Even with the novelty of the virtual format, the band members were able to show off the classic charisma their fans are used to. Frontman and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield’s confident stage presence, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett’s incredible solos, bassist Rob Trujillo’s smooth bass lines, and drummer Lars Ulrich’s fast-paced playing reminded fans all over the world why Metallica has been the face of heavy metal for almost forty years now.

What made this concert particularly memorable, was the unique style Metallica pulled off in their song list. They performed both unplugged (acoustic) and electric sets, which was a surprise because the audience was informed that the concert would only be unplugged. The concert included other surprises, including guest appearances from mandolin player Avi Vinocur, keyboard player Henry Salvia, and Hetfield’s son Castor and Ulrich’s son Layne. Bringing the entire extended Metallica family together ushered in a sense of nostalgia—but once the electric guitars were plugged in, everyone’s adrenaline was kicked into overdrive. 

The last three most recognizable songs of the concert, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Master of Puppets, and Enter Sandman, had fans especially excited—the screens along the walls captured their excited reactions, resembling a virtual mosh pit.

Metallica’s concert not only served as a prime example of the creative ways that musicians must adapt their performances to reach audiences remotely, but also highlighted the growing trend of musicians using their platforms for good. Harrisites can take advantage of this philanthropic wave in the music industry by donating, supporting artists who pledge to donate part of their proceeds to worthy causes, and even considering similar efforts when producing their own art.

This was the acoustic set of the concert:

  1. Blackened 
  2. Creeping Death 
  3. When A Blind Man Cries (Deep Purple cover) 
  4. The Unforgiven 
  5. Now That We’re Dead 
  6. Turn The Page (Bob Seger cover) 
  7. Nothing Else Matters 
  8. All Within My Hands

The acoustic set was concluded with a brief break. Afterwards, the concert opened up with an electric set, which was as follows:

9: Disposable Heroes 

  1. House Of The Rising Sun (The Animals cover) 
  2. Wasting My Hate 
  3. For Whom The Bell Tolls 
  4. Master Of Puppets 
  5. Enter Sandman
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