2022 Metallica seem extremely comfortable in their own skin. They don’t seem to sweat the small stuff, and what’s cooler- they generally look like they’re having a blast out there on stage. The band is also extremely self-aware of how the fans perceive parts of their back catalogue.
So much so, that during their most recent live shows, James Hetfield seems to be proactively asking fans for their opinion on their infamous St. Anger album before they rip into select tracks from the much-maligned 2003 full length.
Many fans and musicians alike have long dumped on the record. Slayer’s Kerry King was once quoted saying: “St. Anger was supposed to be, you know, the return, and that was garbage you know? I mean, I played it once and I threw it out the window.”
“I heard the one where they made the video in prison. I heard one song with my dad while we were riding in the car in Michigan, because the radio is still pretty wed to Metallica, and it went on for fucking ever. It was eight minutes on the radio, and I went, ‘What the fuck are they doing?’ No disrespect, but I didn’t get it.”
During the Metallica shows the past few weeks, though, James has had a pretty amazing sense of humor about the album and the crowds’ often negative reception to. He openly asked: “Question for you, and you can honestly answer it to the best of your knowledge: St. Anger?”
Asking the crowd to respond with a thumbs up or a thumbs down, he ends up accidentally eliciting a large amount of boos from the crowd. Taking it in stride, he seems to just laugh it off and then launches right into track 4 on St. Anger, ‘Dirty Window.’
He went on to talk about songs from the album a few other times with some frankly great zingers. Here’s a few highlights:
“That’s from YOUR favorite album, St. Anger. Oh come on, it’s growing on you now. Just give it a little more time… you’ll get it. OK 8 more songs from St. Anger, ready? Just kidding!”
“This is the POOR little album, that gets so much shit. What do you think about St. Anger? Don’t lie to me, man.”
You can watch all of these moments yourself below if you’d like. They were originally posted by YouTube channel Ataraxia. Respect to James and crew for keeping it classy and not taking this shit too seriously after all these years.