Metallica’s Week-Long ‘Late Late Show’ Residency, Ranked And Rated

Written by Marc Zanotti on 24th November, 2014

Metallica’s Week-Long ‘Late Late Show’ Residency, Ranked And Rated

Metallica have wrapped their week-long residency on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. The legendary metal four-piece were on hand as their documentary Some Kind of Monster celebrates its 10th anniversary, with a Blu-ray edition and bonus stuff due out soon.

Don’t worry if you missed the shows, though. We’ve compiled all five of Metallica’s performances and, just for fun, ranked them in order of awesomeness. Pro tip: They’re all awesome, just some are more awesome than others.

5. Enter Sandman (Thursday, 20/11/14)

Grade: C

Hard to believe that monster single Enter Sandman is at the bottom of our list. Maybe Metallica were feeling their age towards the end of the week. Maybe they were saving themselves for their last show. Maybe they are really f**king sick of playing this song. Whatever the case, Enter Sandman just doesn’t have its usual bite.

Frontman James Hetfield might have been a little pitchy on the night, but it’s still fun as hell watching him deliver his satanic cackle. Lead guitarist Kirk Hammett nailed another impressive solo on his Boris Karloff guitar. Really, the performance is only marginally lower in quality than the rest of the week. Even when Metallica are off, they’re still on.

Watch: Metallica – Enter Sandman on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

4. For Whom the Bell Tolls (Wednesday, 19/11/14)

Grade: B

With a bass-driven intro differing from the 1984 Ride The Lightning cut, For Whom the Bell Tolls has all the electricity you could wish for. Bassist Robert Trujillo’s crab walk is in fine form and drummer Lars Ulrich just can’t confine himself to the drum stool. Hetfield looks like he’s about to foam at the mouth.

Like each of their residency appearances, Metallica are tight, energetic and play like a band not yet past their prime. To put For Whom the Bell Tolls fourth is really just splitting hairs. This is awesome.

Watch: Metallica – For Whom the Bell Tolls on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

3. Fuel (Tuesday, 18/11/14)

Grade: B

“Gimme fuel, Gimme fire, Gimme that which I desire”! Who can resist frontman James Hetfield’s intro? Metallica’s searing delivery of Fuel, taken from ’97 album ReLoad, grabbed us and the audience from the get-go. It might be one of the band’s most iconic songs but, unlike Enter Sandman, there’s not even a hint of a phoned-in performance.

Sure, Hetfield’s vocals might falter just a tad, but it’s those little imperfections that give a live performance their edge, eh? The band are enjoying themselves here, and the fun is infectious.

Watch: Metallica – Fuel on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

2. Sad But True (Friday, 21/11/14)

Grade: A

Metallica saved their almost-best for last. There’s nothing not to love about this crunching rendition of Sad But True, taken from their most iconic LP, The Black Album.

Hetfield reaches way down into his gut for the growl, Trujillo plays so hard it looks like it hurts. This is what it looks like when one of the most successful bands in metal history are on point in a straight forward and flawless performance.

Watch: Metallica – Sad But True on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

1. Hit The Lights (Monday, 17/11/14)

Grade: A+

From debut album Kill ‘Em All, released way, way back in ’83, Hit The Lights is Metallica’s most frantic and furious offering on their Ferguson residency.

The performance is more befitting a festival mass than a studio audience. Ulrich lifts off, Hammett breaks out with the solo of the week on Karloff, and Hetfield nails every ‘ooh’ and ‘yeah’.

Hit The Lights is the first song Metallica ever recorded together, and that fact helps this performance clinch the top spot here. It’s incredible to see that it can still lift Hetfield and Ulrich to the top of their game.

Now, all we need is this kind of spirit transfused into a new album. They’ve gotta be working up to something here, right?

Watch: Metallica – Hit The Lights on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson


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