25 years later, Metallica's Grammy run came full circle.
Since their first appearance at the Grammys exactly 25 years ago, Metallica have often experimented with classical instruments. Back then, they played One, but lost the Hard Rock/Metal Performance award to flute-mongers Jethro Tull. Last night they returned with that same song, collaborating with classical pianist Lang Lang on a haunting new rendition.
It's been 25 years since the band's first Grammys.
After an introduction by Jared Leto, the performance opened with Lang Lang playing a series of harsh and dramatic harmonies, which blended seamlessly into guitarist Kirk Hammet’s recognizable riff. At that point the audience erupted in a cheer. Frontman James Hetfield played the song's iconic intro and Lang Lang played some expressive runs. Then, as the frontman sang about feeling disabled in war, Lang Lang’s piano melody added another layer of depth to the song.
With last night's collaboration, the band embraced the more classical elements of metal.
Before the song’s most recognizable riff, Lang Lang launched into some very classical sounding trills, before the melody broke down into the harsh, jackhammer riff and then Hammett’s infamous solo. Backed by Lang Lang’s piano, the whole thing sounded even harsher and more discordant, confirming what Hammett had said to Rolling Stone about the performance earlier. Prior to the Grammys, Hammett said he was happy that the integrity of the song would be preserved: “We're keeping all the heavy parts," he said. "And it's going to be really cool and it's really dynamic.”
Watch a recording of the full performance below.