On June 4th, 1996, Metallica unleashed their polarizing sixth record, Load. Arriving a full five years after their 1991 smash, The Black Album, the band's full pivot from thrash to down-and-dirty groove metal was (and remains) contentious among fans, but they celebrated its release day with a show that anyone could get down with: by playing on the back of a flatbed truck in a parking lot full of rowdy heshers.
The wonderfully scrappy event went down behind a Tower Records in Sacramento, California, and according to the video's description on YouTube, the city almost ended up shutting down the gig before ultimately deciding to let it go on as planned. Thankfully, it panned out, and double thankfully, someone in the audience was there with a camcorder, because now we have historic footage of Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich and Jason Newsted — at the height of their early Nineties popularity, no less — playing some of the biggest metal songs of all time at a semi-illegal pop-up show.
The set list consisted of a quick six songs, but in that time, the band were able to promo two Load standouts, "Ain't My Bitch" and "Until It Sleeps," "Sad But True," a couple Eighties classics ("Whiplash" and "Creeping Death") and their infamous cover of Anit-Nowhere League's "So What?" On top of the songs and the crazy scrum of fans, Metallica were also serving looks. Hammett and Hetfield were living the mean biker metal sound of Load by sporting dingey white tank tops, Ulrich had his mullet flowing and Newsted was rocking a modest white T-shirt that looked oddly unkempt for a rockstar of his stature.
Everything about the performance is extremely of its time, and you can check the full thing out above via YouTube.