Setlist History: Metallica Warms Up at LA Club Before Monsters

On May 23, 1988, Metallica rocked the cozy Troubadour in West Hollywood for a two-night club date at the historic venue that helped launch the careers of Elton John, David Bowie and the Eagles.

Metallica were poised to release their fourth studio LP, ...And Justice For All, which would be their first since Cliff Burton's untimely death in '86. James Newsted, with Burton's parents' blessing, was given the job as bassist, a role he would man through the year 2000.

Metallica and Van Halen (with Sammy Hagar) back stage during a Monsters of Rock show.

The dual dates at the Troubadour were a warm-up for the epic 23-city Monsters of Rock tour Metallica were set to play alongside Van Halen, The Scorpions, Dokken, and Kingdom Come. Five heavy bands, nine hours of rock in thee largest venues across the USA.

But the May dates for Metallica in the 500 capacity club was a perfect way for the quartet to gel as a group live before they toured the nation. It was also a way to smooth out their new tune "Harvester of Sorrow" which the band debuted on May 23rd. "Harvester" would become a bit of a staple in the group's setlist going forward.

The second night at the Troubadour was recorded in its entirety through the soundboard and appeared in the ...And Justice For All remastered 3-CD Expanded Edition version of 2018, so you can hear how overpowering the Bay Area metal masters were in that tiny club.

What is also interesting about the set of both the Troubadour shows and the songs the band played on the Monsters tour --- "Harvester" was the only cut from the new album they played live until after Justice (which would go on to reach #6 on the Billboard charts) was released. No "Blackened," and no "One" which would earn the band their first Grammy.

The outside of the Troubadour in 2020 during the pandemic – By Tony Pierce

How does a band keep a tune like "One" that would eventually be deemed #11 on Rolling Stones' Top 100 Best Heavy Metal Songs in your back pocket? Good news is, the band played it when they returned later that year to Long Beach.

A final note for the Troubadour shows, the band covered The Misfits' "Last Caress" an incredibly dark tune written by Glenn Danzig that begins "I've got something to say/I killed your baby today..." and gets grimmer from there. The music sounds lifted entirely from The Ramones and actually segues perfectly to another tune the band covers all the time "Am I Evil?"

Metallica had only played "Last Caress" a few times the year before in Europe, but by putting them in the Troubadour shows right before the Diamond Head cover, it provided a one-two punch ideal for their inevitable encore. Both "Last Caress" and "Am I Evil" have now been covered by Metallica about 800 times each.

Metallica is currently touring the world with opening acts like Turnstile, Nine Inch Nails, or Mammoth depending on where the show is. They're rocking around Europe through June before heading back to North America, which includes the closing night at Power Trip in Indio. Tickets are available on their website.

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Last updated: 25 Jun 2024, 16:36 Etc/UTC