The All Within My Hands Foundation has become an integral part of who Metallica are, since it’s formation in 2017.
Although they have shown to be charitable throughout their career, it was with this foundation, named after the closing track of their 2003 album St. Anger, that they would formalise their mission statement and take their biggest charitable plunge.
Words: Brandon Oberkrieser
By doing so, they have led by example and have encouraged thousands of their fans to donate and give to those in need.
Starting last year, Metallica launched the Helping Hands concert; an acoustic set in front of a live audience in their hometown of San Francisco, CA, that saw proceeds go directly to All Within My Hands.
Over the last year alone, Metallica and their fans have donated thousands of pounds of money to helping fight hunger, supporting workforce education and disaster relief. The COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the world has been part of their relief efforts, and is also the reason why this year’s Helping Hands concert, like all live shows, was originally rescheduled and then eventually left in limbo.
Metallica ultimately decided to hold the event as a pay-per-view livestream and although the focus of the night was on charity, this was also a superbly produced and expertly performed concert.
One of the real highlights of the event was the presentation.
The band performed on a stage surrounded by a virtual wall of fans.
Tickets for the show were sold in different tiers, with one of the tiers offering the chance to be on the screen for at least one song. Though similar technology has been used for various sporting events, Metallica became the first band, to my knowledge, to use this in a concert setting.
Not only did this allow for real time crowd reactions after each song, but Metallica took it a step further by interacting with the audience.
Between each song, a band member would select a fan to interact with, which showed this to be a truly global event with fans from around the world.
As for the music itself, Metallica delivered live as they always do.
The band opened with an excellent interpretation of ‘Blackened 2020’, an acoustic arrangement of the opening track from ‘… And Justice For All’ that they released online around the beginning of the pandemic.
This was followed up by the first surprise of the night, with the debut of an acoustic arrangement of the ‘Ride The Lightning’ classic ‘Creeping Death’, which worked much better than one might expect.
A few songs later would come the next surprise of the setlist with the acoustic debut of the song Now ‘That We’re Dead’.
This acoustic interpretation was one of the many highlights of the night, and breathed new life into a song that had been performed by the band on an almost nightly basis on their most recent WorldWired tour.
The first part of the concert was rounded out by acoustic renditions of the Deep Purple song ‘When A Blind Man Cries’, their now classic cover of the Bob Seger song ‘Turn The Page’, Metallica standards ‘The Unforgiven’ and ‘Nothing Else Matters’, and of course the song that is the namesake of their charity foundation, ‘All Within My Hands’.
For the latter the band even included the sons of James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich on percussion to make it a family affair.
In an unexpected move, the band took an intermission, but when they came back to the stage it became clear why; the acoustic instruments were gone.
Metallica had their electric instruments and from this point forward, it was a full on Metallica concert. The surprises would continue with the second half of the show.
The band began with ‘Disposable Heroes’, but not the original ‘Master Of Puppets’ version.
Instead, the band took the acoustic arrangement that they had played previously, including at the first Helping Hands Concert, but made it electric and Heavy.
This was followed by a surprise cover of ‘House Of The Rising Sun’, which was a faithful interpretation of The Animals version.
Metallica would follow this up with one final surprise of the evening, a deep cut off ‘Load’ called ‘Wasting My Hate’, which had only been performed twice before since the 1997 Poor Touring Me tour.
The night ended with three classics as the band powered through ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’, ‘Master Of Puppets’ and their biggest hit, ‘Enter Sandman’.
From start to finish, Metallica delivered a superb set that was filled with both standards and surprises.
The band sounded in fine form, and as fans have come to expect from Metallica, the production and overall presentation was top notch.
With the virtual fan wall, the band members managed to make a global concert seem small and intimate.
Most importantly though, Metallica helped raise both funds and awareness for several important causes that need the attention and need the money to help others; and really, nothing else matters.
2. Creeping Death
3. When A Blind Man Cries (Deep Purple cover)
4. The Unforgiven
5. Now That We’re Dead
6. Turn The Page (Bob Seger cover)
7. Nothing Else Matters
8. All Within My Hands
9: Disposable Heroes
10. House Of The Rising Sun (The Animals cover)
11. Wasting My Hate
12. For Whom The Bell Tolls
13. Master Of Puppets
14. Enter Sandman