St. Anger sure was a piece o’ shit. From the dime store lyrics to the nu metal sounding guitars to the absolute lack of guitar solos to just.. Lars… fans have tons of reasons to hate that album. So we’re not exactly sure why Metallica frontman James Hetfield of all people would show some level of surprise at fans reacting poorly to even mentioning the album by name during a recent show.
Let’s set the stage for ya: Metallica’s in the middle of their set in Pittsburgh at PNC Park on August 14 and James starts a little mid-song banter sesh by calling St. Anger the “poor little album that gets so much shit.” Then he invites even more response from the crowd by asking fans to react to the album name while he does a thumbs up or thumbs down. Naturally, the fans pile on when he gives the thumbs down.
Ultimately, fans relent when he asks the question again, likely knowing that the song’s already on the setlist and by God, they’re going to play it whether you like it or not because they’ve already got your money. Captive audience and all that.
Still, he has a little fun with it. Another clip shows James joking around, saying “Oh come on, it’s growing on you now. Just give it a little more time buddy, you’ll get it” before jokingly saying they were about to jump into “eight more songs” from the maligned release.
It’s great that James has a good sense of humor about it, but I mean… what did you expect? Sure, St. Anger the reflection of an extremely tumultuous time in Metallica’s career and as a piece of art it can be remembered for what it is. And yes, it was Metallica trying to find its way after losing Jason Newsted and thinking that shooting for more radio friendly writing styles would be the answer. But like… there’s a reason songs off that album don’t regularly populate the band’s set list — it’s because only a couple of those songs really stand up live.
At least he didn’t ask for fans to react to Lulu…