Metallica reflects of Cliff Burton’s final show: “We found ourselves in…a deep, black pit”

Cliff Burton, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield in August 1985 (Mike Cameron/Redferns)Metallica‘s upcoming deluxe Master of Puppets reissue features recordings from the band’s show in Stockholm, Sweden on September 26, 1986 — one day before bassist Cliff Burton died in a bus accident. In an interview with Rolling Stone, drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist Kirk Hammett describe what it was like to revisit those recordings.

“I move so fast through a lot of the stuff that I never slow down long enough to reflect. And occasionally, when you sit with some of the stuff at 2 o’clock in the morning, you go, ‘Wow,'” says Ulrich. “When you sit there and listen to the last two songs or look at the pictures from the last show with him, it stops you in your tracks as you deal with it.”

Remembering Burton’s final show, Ulrich recalls that it went “incredibly well.” Hammett adds that it was Metallica’s first show with James Hetfield playing guitar again after breaking his arm earlier that summer.

“I distinctly remember that show being good, and the feeling when we got offstage was really great and positive and forward-looking,” Hammett says. “Like, ‘Great, James is back in and it won’t be long ’til we’re back to our old selves again.'”

“It was that kind of mood after the show and then the accident happened and it literally felt like we were going from a hopeful sort of circumstance to one where we found ourselves in…a deep, black pit,” he adds.

After Burton’s death, Metallica recruited Jason Newsted to play bass, and audio from his audition and first show are also included in the Master of Puppets reissue. Newsted left Metallica in 2001, after which Robert Trujillo joined the band, and remains the group’s bassist today.

The Master of Puppets reissue will be released November 10.

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