Listen to Metallica’s First Show With Cliff Burton
On March 5, 1983, Cliff Burton played his first concert with Metallica after replacing Ron McGovney in December of 1982. Just a bit over one month later, the thrash upstarts would undergo another lineup change as they jettisoned Dave Mustaine from their ranks, later plucking Kirk Hammett from like-minded Bay Area thrashers Exodus.
Understandably, Metallica only played a few shows with both Burton and Mustaine and this live recording below, Burton's first with the band, is one of them.
The 12-song set at The Stone in San Francisco featured nearly every song that would go on to appear on their debut album, Kill 'Em All, except for "Hit the Lights." The opening song, "The Mechanix," was reworked from Dave Mustaine's version once the band tapped Hammett, and would get retitled "The Four Horsemen." Meanwhile, Mustaine saved it for the closing track on Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good! debut with Megadeth.
The performance itself is undeniably raw, especially on James Hetfield's part as his scratchy voice and lack of technique was ride with an emotional, biting attack as its saving grace. From this, it's easy to understand why Papa Het had considered stepping away from the role of frontman as he lacked confidence in his singing, even after the release of KIll 'Em All. As the story famously goes, Metallica had asked Armored Saint's John Bush (who would later join Anthrax as Joey Belladonna's replacement) to front them.
One of the highlights from this show at The Stone is, of course, the moment where they truly got to spotlight their new bass player — "Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)," though it's not quite in its final form on this recording.
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