Metallica -- Baltimore, MD -- January 13th, 1985
Thanks to Sanitarium for mentioning setlist fm again. I’ve posted on there a few times and used them once or twice but didn’t know the setlists went back that far. This concert changed my life. It opened me up to so many bands and types of music and helped create the monster I am today. I apologize in advance for the diatribe but I’ve seen close to a thousand shows and this one is still Numero Uno for me. It was at a place in the middle of as shopping center called Coast to Coast which burned down about a year later.
At the time I heard about this show I was really into Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Accept, Triumph, Def Leppard, Queensryche & older stuff like AC/DC, Zeppelin and Rush. I was told by a friend that this is the heaviest show this town has ever seen and he gave me a cassette of No life til Leather to check out. At first listen it just didn’t compute. I was used to epic vocals and I just didn’t get it. After a few listens it started to sink in but not until we were riding to the show and my buddy threw in Ride the Lightning did it hit me. He FF’d through Fight Fire with Fire knowing we weren’t ready for that and went right to Ride the Lightning. WOW. Still wasn’t sold on the vocals but the music was great. Then For Whom the Bell Tolls kicked our ass. The vocals fit the music, the bass was incredible and I was instantly a fan. Fade to Black was the perfect song to be pulling up to the venue to. We got uberbaked and totally did a Wayne’s World to the ending of the song before falling out of the car and venturing in. These were the days of 21 and over shows so we all had fake ID’s and went up to the door. 4 of us got in and 1 guy who was using his brothers id got shot down. Dude had to spend the rest of the night in the car and as bad as I felt for him he gets props for not bitching and taking 1 for the team.
Wasp and Metallica had been co-headlining so we were hoping Metallica would play last but had no idea. The front of the stage was packed so we got the front spot on the side of the stage and waited for Armored Saint. Little did I know this spot would give me a birds eye view into the tenacity of Chris Holmes and Cliff Burton while watching the rest of the band and the crowd.
Armored Saint killed it. John Bush belted every word and we were in awe. Great stage presence and they were loud as hell. Their set to my best recollection was:
March of the Saint
Mutiny of the World
Stricken by Fate
Can U Deliver
After that we got some beers and were told Wasp were up next. Too cool. We fought to get our spot back and what happened next was like nothing I’d ever witnessed at a show. They opened with On Your Knees and instantly girls started taking their bras off and throwing them at the stage. I saw more boobs in 3 minutes than I had seen in my entire life up to that point. My jaw was on the stage and I was instantly a HUGE Wasp fan. Chris Holmes was a MONSTER and shredded right in front of us. I have a bootleg cassette version of this set so I know it’s right.
On Your Knees
Sleeping in the Fire
The Torture Never Stops
I Wanna Be Somebody
Fuck like a Beast
During Fuck like a Beast another bra shower happened and I couldn’t believe it. Being someone who owned the import version of Unleashed in the East with the 4 extra tracks I thought I was on top of everything cool musically and I was wrong. People were singing along to an incredible song that I had never heard or knew existed. It really blew my mind. Wasp ended and the bouncers walked off the stage with over 50 bras. We grabbed a couple of Long Island Iced Tea’s and got ready for what was to be the best set I had ever seen and possibly ever would see.
We were hoping the guitarist would be in front of us after hearing some of Kirk’s solos and little did we know the beastly display of bass playing we would soon see. Metallica came out and Cliff wreaked of cheeba. His entire aura stank and he slapped all our hands and you could smell it on your hands afterwards. Instantly I respected him and guzzled the rest of my drink. Then the shit hit the fan…
Fight Fire With Fire
Ride The Lightning
The Four Horsemen
Cliff Burton Solo (This was as close to a religious experience that I had ever had up to this point in my life)
For Whom The Bell Tolls
The Call of Ktulu (Mind-blowing)
Seek & Destroy
Metal Militia (with Metal up your Ass sing-a-long)
I still have the shirt and stub from the concert and smile very time I see them. I wasn’t ready for the mayhem of FFwF when it started but by the time Metal Militia kicked in I was addicted to speed metal. Metal Militia became my favorite song for at least 10 years even though I would never hear them play it again live. When James yelled during Whiplash “We’ll never stop, we’ll never quit, cuz YOU’RE Metallica” we believed it. If it wasn’t for this show I probably would have never become such a huge Slayer, Sadus, Vio-lence or Dark Angel fan.
On the ride home we listened to the 2nd side of the Ride the Lightning cassette and every song sounded incredible. Ktulu was EPIC! I went out and bought all 3 albums and the Fuck like a Beast and Creeeping Death EP’s the next day and the rest is history. I graduated from high school a few months later and lost touch with most of those guys but every once in a while I see one of the guys at a Ravens game and we always talk about that show. I remember it like it was yesterday…
R.I.P. Cliff Burton
February 10, 1962 – September 27, 1986