Metallica’s ex-bassist Jason Newsted talked about Metallica’s legendary performance in 1991 in Moscow while there was a coup in the country.
In 1991, there was a coup attempt in Russia initiated by communists towards the government of Mikhail Gorbachev. Around that time, Moscow got included in the worldwide festival called Monsters of Rock despite the political tension in the country.
The concert was a huge event and hosted 1.6 million rock music fans who attended the event to watch the legendary bands for free. Among those bands were AC/DC, Metallica, The Black Crowes, and Pantera, which created a rock and roll feast.
Jason Newsted remembered this event and started to tell the story of how they got included in the festival in Moscow. He stated that the Prime Minister representative of the Soviet Union called them and talked to them. He continued to detail another memorable experience for him which was related to the plane that they were sent.
Here is how Newsted told the story about being asked to perform during the coup:
“I don’t know if you know the story, people have heard it before probably a few times, I’ve told it a few times. But we were in the Eastern Bloc touring with AC/DC at the time, there were still a lot of communist nations that hadn’t been switched over. And the coup starts happening in Russia, and word comes out, there’s kind of mumblings amongst the managers and stuff like that, and things like, ‘They’re gonna go play this big show somewhere.’
So we got a message from a Prime Minister representative from Russia or something, got through our management, and they had talked to the kids that stood up to the tanks, the leaders of the resistance. ‘What would you like for reward for saving us all?’ ‘We want American rock ‘n’ roll. We want Guns N’ Roses, we want Metallica.’ So AC/DC and Metallica are right around the corner as far as it goes.”
Here is how he talked about the memorable plane they got in:
“Time Warner gets behind the whole thing, they see a giant opportunity to make world history, which it has now become, they send this plane for us – Black Crowes, AC/DC, and Metallica were all together playing some shows. I think they were like Monsters or Rock label shows or something, and this plane shows up, and man, we could fit this room inside, part of it – couches and full fucking deal, man, I have never seen nothing like it. We’ve been on a couple of nice planes, but this was insane really because it was a big-ass plane, a proper big plane where you stand up and walk running around!“
He later expressed how he felt about the atmosphere of the concert. Jason stated how stunned he was by the crowd that was there since 10 in the morning for rock and roll. He talked about the 1992 film ‘For Those About to Rock: Monsters in Moscow’ which is the completion of the concert footage made into a film. He confessed that he watched it more than he watched ‘Metallica.’
He described his feelings by saying:
“The graininess of the black and white, somewhat sepia film and they had their fresh ears, all these people building up to this thing, and there’s only a few hundred thousand across the field at that time, a mere quarter-million at 10 in the morning! A lot of people that are in the morning – perfect for these guys. The way the film came off, the way Dime – come on, dude, untouchable. It’s filled with the masks and the thing.
I watched that way more than I ever watched Metallica. ‘Primal Concrete Sledge’ – they throw that down – forget it! Where’s the follow-up to that, motherfucker? It was pretty good, it was pretty good. It was a perfect element for them. We all were in weird states of mind, I guarantee you, coming into that thing. There was nothing normal about it. Dressing rooms were only tense you, just not anything normal. Have you seen the film? Helicopters were 30 feet above people’s heads! What the fuck is that all about?”
You can watch the full interview below.