Metallica Play Surprise Show at Intimate San Francisco Club: Video + Setlist

The gig at the 500-capacity venue The Independent was announced just hours before set time

Metallica club show
Metallica, photo by Philip Cosores

    Metallica are set to play their first full concerts in quite some time, so the legendary metal band warmed up by rocking a surprise show at the intimate 500-capacity club The Independent on Thursday night (September 16th).

    The gig was announced just a few hours before doors opened, with The Independent posting on socials, “Surprise, San Francisco! Metallica! Tonight! Don’t walk, RUN to our box office with $20 cash right now to grab a wristband! It will sell out fast!” Fans were required to show proof of vaccination, and the show sold-out within minutes of the announcement.

    RIFF Magazine kept a running log of the evening, beginning with social media images of the lucky fans who scored wristbands lined up around the street in anticipation of the show.

    Doors opened at 7:30 p.m., with Metallica scheduled to kick off the set at 8:30 p.m. On a no-frills stage, the iconic metal act launched into “Whiplash,” marking the first time they’ve ever started a show with the Kill ‘Em All classic.


    Oddly enough, despite all the hype and special releases surrounding the recent 30th anniversary of The Black Album, Metallica only played two songs from the 1991 mega-selling LP — “Holier Than Thou” and “Sad But True” — forgoing such classics as “Enter Sandman” and “Nothing Else Matters.”

    The rest of the 16-song set leaned heavy on 1984’s Ride the Lightning, from which four songs were played, while no more than two songs were performed from any other album. The three-song encore packed a wallop with “Battery,” “Fuel,” and “Seek & Destroy.”

    Metallica are gearing up to play a series of Danny Wimmer Presents festivals, including Louisville’s Louder Than Life later this month; Sacramento’s Aftershock in October; and Daytona Beach’s Welcome to Rockville in November. At each of those fests, Metallica will play two distinct headlining sets on separate nights.


    The metal titans also have a few headlining shows lined up, including a two-night stand at San Francisco’s Chase Center to celebrate their 40th anniversary as a band. Pick up tickets to Metallica’s upcoming shows via Ticketmaster.

    See video footage and the setlist from Metallica’s surprise club show below.

    Whiplash (first time as an opener)
    Ride the Lightning
    The Memory Remains
    Now That We’re Dead
    Holier Than Thou
    No Leaf Clover
    Sad but True
    Moth Into Flame
    Fade to Black
    For Whom the Bell Tolls
    Creeping Death
    Master of Puppets
    Seek & Destroy

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