Watch: Metallica Release Live Video of First-Ever UFO Cover
Metallica held their third Helping Hands benefit show on Dec. 16, 2022, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. As Metallica prepare for their massive, two-year, worldwide tour in support of 72 Seasons, this particular show—their last live performance before the M72 tour kicks off in April '23—was especially intimate as the Microsoft Theater has a capacity of around 7,000.
In addition to the unique setting, Metallica gave fans two distinct sets. The second set was fully electric and featured the live debut of "Lux Æterna," while the first set found Metallica performing acoustically, which has become a signature experience for the Helping Hands shows over the years.
And when Metallica take the stage with their acoustic instruments in hand, anything is possible.
For that first set, Metallica played five songs, only two of which were theirs. The other three consisted of two Thin Lizzy covers, "Borderline" and the very familiar "Whiskey in the Jar," and one UFO cover, "It's Killing Me."
Metallica have already released pro-shot footage of their "Borderline" performance as well as the live debut of "Lux Æterna," and now they've graced fans with their official video for "It's Killing Me." Check it out in the player below.
Watch Metallica Perform UFO's "It's Killing Me" Live in Los Angeles
"Metallica does cover songs because it's fun," James Hetfield said as the band got ready to play "It's Killing Me." "So, here's another song that Lars [Ulrich] has been wanting to do...so blame Lars if it's really good."
This is the first time Metallica have ever pulled out a UFO cover onstage, which is surprising given their admiration for the English rock band.
Kirk Hammett has always been very open about the impact UFO have had on him over the years. In fact, in an interview with Ernie Ball, he once said, "When I first heard UFO and first heard Michael Schenker, my whole attitude changed. And to this day, I mean Michael Schenker and Jimi Hendrix are some of my main influences."
As Hetfield hinted at in his opening remarks, Ulrich, too, is a major fan of the band. In a conversation with Rolling Stone, Ulrich called UFO's 1979 Strangers in the Night "the definitive hard-rock live album."
"1981, that was a good year," Hetfield said following the cover. 1981 marked the release of The Wild, the Willing and the Innocent, UFO's ninth studio album, and the LP that featured "It's Killing Me." "Metallica was formed in 1981. I got it tattooed right here, in case I forget what band I'm in."