Last month, METALLICA played two shows with the San Francisco Symphony for the grand opening of Chase Center, the new home of the Golden State Warriors. The concerts, conducted by Edwin Outwater with a special appearance by Michael Tilson Thomas, marked the 20th anniversary of METALLICA's first performance with the symphony at the Berkeley Community Theater in 1999, which resulted in the live album "S&M" (Symphony & Metallica). A film of last month's concerts, called "S&M²", will arrive in theaters worldwide on October 9.
METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich told Rolling Stone that he sees a connection between his way of playing music and orchestral music.
"Cliff was definitely the gateway to a lot of that classical stuff," he said, referring to late METALLICA bassist Cliff Burton, who died in 1986, after the release of the band's third album, "Master Of Puppets". "When he started talking about classical music in '83, '84, James [Hetfield, METALLICA frontman] and I weren't — or at least maybe I, I don't want to speak for James — we weren't maybe ready to sort of receive that stuff, but slowly his persistence got things like classical music or SIMON AND GARFUNKEL, on our radar. It took a little longer for us to open up.
"But I now see an intersection between some of the darker, more dissonant, and more minor stuff we play," he continued. "MTT sometimes calls up and says, 'You gotta check out this performance,' and he'll invite me to some stuff like Mahler or Bach or pieces on the darker side. I appreciate a lot of the orchestral stuff but, over the last 20 years, I've figured out how to navigate toward the stuff I'm leaning more towards."
Last month's shows each drew 16,000 fans and saw the four members of METALLICA playing on a circular, revolving stage in the center of the arena floor, surrounded by 75 members of the Symphony and Outwater.
The three-hour concerts were split into two parts and included a rendition of "Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)" from METALLICA's debut album, "Kill 'Em All", performed as a solo by the Symphony bassist Scott Pingel in tribute to Burton.