During a recent appearance on Gibson TV’s ‘Icons’ program, the lead guitarist of Metallica, Kirk Hammett, talked about Metallica’s earlier days and in specific, their last show with Cliff Burton and explained why it was so special.
As you probably know, Cliff Burton was Metallica’s bassist from December 1982 until his passing. He passed away on September 27, 1986, in a bus crash in Sweden, while Metallica was touring with the Master of Puppets. Even though he had achieved success during his lifetime, he was also posthumously inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.
His death was highly traumatizing for Metallica members who were still in their 20s. In his recent interview, Kirk Hammett talked about their last show together and recalled how happy they all were. It was in 1986, the night that Cliff passed away, and the whole band was excited to have James Hetfield back, who had broken his wrist earlier that year.
James Hetfield breaking his wrist is a tragicomic story. He had broken it while Metallica was touring with the fast-rising metal star Ozzy Osbourne but the accident did not happen on stage. Being a 26-year-old man and a boy at heart, James enjoyed skateboarding. Prior to the band’s appearance with Osbourne, James was skateboarding and while he was trying to do a particular downhill run, he ended up taking a tumble and breaking his wrist.
His broken wrist had healed until their show in Sweden and it was the first time that the whole band would play together and Hetfield was back. Kirk Hammett recalled how much fun they had and how inspired and energized they had felt. No one could have known it would be their last show with Cliff but Kirk said that he’s happy ‘Cliff‘s last show was special in that regard.’
Here’s what Kirk Hammett said during the interview:
“The last show that we played with Cliff was a spectacular show because it was the first show after maybe six or seven weeks that James [Hetfield] was finally back on guitar. He had broken his arm during the Ozzy tour and his arm had healed enough so that he was actually able to play guitar. And it was the first show where we had James back, and it was the night that Cliff died.
So everyone – Cliff, James, Lars, and myself we were just so happy that James is back, and to have changed his guitar, fueling everything again, rather than me and John Marshall sharing that duty. We played really, really well and it felt that we were back a hundred percent. Everyone was so inspired, and we played that show so well because we had not played like that in four or six weeks, or whatever.”
“So yeah, that last show was one of the best shows we had played all year. And in retrospect, I’m glad that Cliff’s last show was special in that regard.
It really was in all respects one of the best shows we had played, and Cliff was very, very happy, knowing that this is just a good thing.”
Click here for the source and you can watch the whole interview below.