Back on March 14th — the 37th anniversary of Metallica's first show ever — the band's drummer and co-founder Lars Ulrich shared his memories of the momentous gig, including his diary entries from the time, on Instagram. Today, he's followed up with a post by looking back at the band's second and third shows, which took place at Hollywood's Whiskey a Go Go and saw the band opening for English metal legends Saxon.
"No sound check. Sound was awful," the basher took note of in his handy notebook, quipping of the first of the two gigs, "Played great myself, but the band as a whole sucked. Went down OK." The drummer also shared vintage photos of the group's performances and flyers.
In his caption, Ulrich recalled, "For us at the time, this was like winning the lottery. Not only was this our first Hollywood gig, but in the early 80s, Saxon were one of the biggest, most exciting & influential hard rock bands in the UK & Europe." He detailed seeing the group six months prior to landing the opening slot, noting his good fortune at being able to "sneak backstage" at the show.
The drummer then remembered a member of Saxon's crew chatting Metallica up post-show, asking cheekily if the group — who had just played a set full of Diamond Head covers — had ever heard of Diamond Head. Ulrich writes that he snapped back, "Of course, we have, we just played a bunch of their songs!" but it turns out the monitor engineer worked for that group and Saxon and was just taking the piss. That man, Paul Owen, went on to work the same position for Metallica for 22 years and 1300 shows.
View this post on Instagram
Well, fuck it… Today you get two: On March 27th in ’82, we played our 2nd & 3rd shows at the legendary Whisky a Go Go in LA, supporting Saxon. For us at the time, this was like winning the lottery. Not only was this our first Hollywood gig, but in the early 80s, Saxon were one of the biggest, most exciting & influential hard rock bands in the UK & Europe. I had actually seen them six months earlier on their Denim & Leather tour in Brighton, where I even managed to sneak backstage. Haha… Back then, our set consisted mostly of cover songs & most of those were DiamondHead songs. Funny story… after the 1st set, this guy on Saxon’s crew comes into our dressing room & asks us, in a very matter-of-fact tone, whether we had ever heard of a band from England called DiamondHead. I snapped back at him, “Of course we have, we just played a bunch of their songs!!” It turned out that apart from being Saxon’s monitor engineer, he was also DiamondHead’s monitor engineer. His name was Paul Owen & he eventually became Metallica’s monitor engineer, playing more than 1,300 shows over 22 years with us. Take that with ya. All in all, an incredible night for ‘Tallica & a mind fuck for us to see our logo occupying the same space on a flyer as the mighty Saxon & the celebrated Whisky a Go Go. Two years later, on the same date in ’84, we played London’s Marquee Club for the very first time, marking our 1st gig in the UK. Everything that lead to Metallica’s existence up to this point was greatly inspired by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands, along with the sounds, lifestyles & culture that came out of England & the UK at the time. So many of the bands who had recently inspired us, like Iron Maiden, Tygers of Pan Tang, Angel Witch & Samson had been performing there over recent years, and on top of that, the Rolling Stones, The Who, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, etc. also had significant history at the club. To finally hit that same stage at the iconic Marquee Club, right in the heart of London, was another total mind fuck for us. The incredible relationship we’ve enjoyed for over 35 years with England & the UK started that very night. Cheers!... as they say. #wanna