Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich recently celebrated the 37th anniversary of the band's first-ever concert by sharing the only photo he could find of the drum kit he used at the show, plus the setlist and his diary entry from that day.
The concert took place on March 14th, 1982 at Radio City in Anaheim, California, just months before Metallica made its recording debut on the first Metal Massacre compilation. The show featured the band's then-lineup of James Hetfield on vocals, Dave Mustaine on guitar, Ron McGovney on bass and Ulrich on drums. The band played mostly covers and drew 75 people.
The set included only two original tunes — “Hit The Lights” and “Jump In The Fire” — and was filled out by cover versions of Savage's “Let It Loose,” Blitzkrieg's “Blitzkrieg,” Sweet Savage's “Killing Time” and four Diamond Head songs. At the time of the gig, Hetfield had not yet started playing rhythm guitar while singing.
Hetfield shared his memories of the gig with us a while back: “First Metallica show was at Radio City in Anaheim. I remember the first song we played, Dave broke a string, and I was stranded up there. I was just singing, I wasn't playing guitar back then, and I was so uncomfortable, I was like, 'So, how's it going…' There were about 200 people. You know, your first gig, everyone shows up. Second gig, there's about 20, you know (laughs).”
Ulrich wrote on Instagram, “37 years ago today, March 14 ’82, the 'Tallica played our first live show ever at a joint called Radio City in Anaheim, California. As you can tell from the notes in my diary, it was my first gig ever and I was 'very nervous.'(!)”
This incarnation of the band recorded several demos, including the legendary “No Life 'Til Leather” and “Power Metal” tapes. McGovney was replaced by Cliff Burton by the end of 1982, while Mustaine was dismissed in April 1983 and replaced by Kirk Hammett.