The return to the concert stage post pandemic is eliciting plenty of emotions from musicians these days, and even though Metallica have played several times in recent years, it still doesn’t keep the band from getting caught up in the moment. During a recent show in Brazil, singer James Hetfield served up a rare moment of bare emotional vulnerability with the crowd, speaking of his insecurities on that given night.
The show in question happened this past Thursday (May 12) at Estádio do Mineirão in Belo Horizonte. Shortly after the pummeling “One” and just prior to playing “Sad But True,” Hetfield stopped down to speak to the crowd.
“I’ve gotta tell you I wasn’t feeling very good before I came out here. [I was] feeling a little bit insecure, like I’m an old guy, [I] can’t play anymore — all this bullshit that I tell myself in my head,” explained the singer. “So I talked to these guys, and they helped me — as simple as that. They gave me a hug and said, ‘Hey, if you’re struggling onstage, we’ve got your back.’ And I tell you, it means the world to me.”
After Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo left their respective places on the stage to join Hetfield in a group hug, the singer added, “And seeing you out there, I… I am not alone. I am not alone, and neither are you.” See fan shot video of the exchange with the crowd below.
In 2017, Metallica scaled back their touring to 50 shows a year, with Hetfield explaining that that’s what his body had been telling him that he could do. In 2019, the singer entered rehab for addiction treatment. In 2020, just prior to the start of the pandemic, Hetfield made his live return during a performance at the Petersen Automotive Museum, who were displaying his car collection.