Everything Detroit – Fueled By Celsius Essential Energy Drinks

Everything Detroit – Fueled By Celsius Essential Energy Drinks

Everything Detroit – Fueled By Celsius Essential Energy Drinks

James Hetfield of Metallica poses with guitar in hand during a performance at Ford Field in Detroit on November 12, 2023.

I recently got a copy of both the live shows Metallica did at Ford Field. I’ve been cranking them for the last couple of days, reliving those shows with every note. Couple that with someone asking me about a Metallica show in the ’80s here in Detroit, and it got me thinking about how many times and where Metallica has performed around here.

Metallica has played some killer shows in Rock City. Of course, they’ve played here on regular tour stops, but they also played for some special shows worth noting.

First, know that Metallica loves Detroit. I know bands say that about every city on the tour, but I’m here to tell you that the rock fans in this area hold a special place in the hearts of many rock bands. I know this because they tell me when the mics are off.

My question to you is: how many of these shows have you been to? If I had to guess for myself, I’ve been to nine of these shows, plus many more outside the southeast Michigan area.

Think about this too: these guys have been the undisputed kings of rock for over 30 years! And Justice saw them start to headline shows, and the Black album saw them fill arenas with no opening acts. That album blew this band wide open. All these years later, they’re still selling out everywhere they perform every single night. They’ve played on every continent, and probably the most venues across the planet out of any rock band. It’s really incredible when you stop to think about it.

Here’s a look back at every show they’ve played for us since the first one in 1985, from the Royal Oak Music Theater, to Pine Knob, to the Silverdome, and everywhere in between.

Enjoy the trip down Metallica lane.

  • february 1, 1985 - royal oak music theater

    This was on the Ride The Lightning tour. This was the tour that had W.A.S.P. and Armored Saint opening. Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P. once told me a funny moment that took place between him and Cliff Burton. On this tour they would swap headlining, and on this certain date Metallica went on first. As the intro music was shaking the venue, Blackie was shaving in a lower bathroom when Cliff came in, not know which way to the stage. Blackie didn’t know either. He said a few minutes later he heard the bass on the stage so Cliff had made it.

    Cliff Burton Spinal Tap Moment: Blackie Lawless from W.A.S.P. Joins Meltdown!
  • April 5, 1986 - joe louis arena

    On this portion of the Damage, Inc. tour, they supported Ozzy Osbourne. This would be their first time playing The Joe.

  • July 21, 1986 - Pine knob

    They came back a few months later to play Pine Knob. This would be the last show Cliff Burton would play in Detroit before his death later that year. An event that impacted the band in many ways.


  • june 17/18, 1988 - Pontiac Silverdome

    If my memory serves, this would be the last time Metallica would ever open up for anybody, unless you count the GNR dates. The Monsters of Rock tour featuring Van Halen, Scorpions, Dokken, and Kingdom Come making up this bill.

  • november 25, 1988 - cobo arena

    Touring on their …And Justice For All album, the guys saw their star begin to rise rapidly. This tour was named the Damaged Justice tour. There was no stopping Metallica now.

  • july 3/4, 1989 - pine knob

    As the Damaged Justice tour rolled on, again the boys came through Detroit. This time they played two nights at Pine Knob. This would be the last time they’d play Detroit until the Black album tour.

  • november 2/3, 1991 - the palace of auburn hills

    The Wherever I May Roam tour played the Palace in November of 1991, months after the Black album was released. Some called Metallica a sell-out. Jason Newstead said they were….every seat in the arena was sold out. This was also the tour where we were introduced to the “Snake Pit”.


  • july 21, 1992 - the pontiac silverdome

    This was the famed Guns N’ Roses/Metallica tour. The two biggest rock bands on the planet in 1992, and still to this day! Of course, problems happened on the tour, like James burning himself onstage. See more on that below.

  • june21/22, 1994 - pine knob

    This was the tour they did after releasing their Binge and Purge live CD/DVD box set. I was lucky enough to see the kickoff show in Western New York. Check out the commercial for it below. Pretty cool!


  • february 22/23, 1997 - The Palace of auburn hills

    The Load era was upon us. This show was killer! In the round and the band used every inch of that stage. Great shows!

  • july 10/11. 1998 - pine knob

    This was known as the Poor Retouring Me, as the guys once again played two big shows at Pine Knob. The Load albums weren’t received very well, but the strength of earlier Metallica had them selling out everywhere.

  • november 20, 1998 - the state theater

    This was cool! Metallica did a tour of theaters and only played cover songs. Here’s my pass from that show. It was a kick-ass concert in what is now called the Fillmore.


  • december 31, 1999 - the pontiac silverdome

    Who remembers Y2K? Metallica called this their M2K show. Yes, the turn-of-the-century show with Ted Nugent, Kid Rock, and Sevendust. This showed ruled on many levels, including the all-out jam from everyone at the end.

  • july 4, 2003 - the pontiac silverdome

    The guys would come back on the Summer Sanitarium tour, with Likin Park, Mudvayne, Limp Bizkit, and Def Tones. Below is a package put together showing the guys talking about the tour.

  • october 1, 2004 - the palace of auburn hills

    This tour was dubbed the Madly In Anger With The World Tour. Fresh off the release of St. Anger, this is the tour that followed. In the picture below, only the one with Lars was taken the night of the Detroit show. The other ones were taken on a trip to see the guys in Chicago earlier on the tour.


  • january 13, 2009 - joe louis arena

    I recall interviewing James before tickets for this show went on sale. I quipped that they shouldn’t be playing the Joe in the middle of winter because of how cold it was. It was cold!! Very!

    The interview below was conducted by a WRIF winner. In it, Lars does talk about previous Metallica Detroit shows.

  • june 8/9, 2013 - belle isle

    Metallica turned Belle Isle into Orion Fest. This was a great summertime festival, including Metallica playing both nights. The first night they surprised everyone by calling themselves dehaan and playing classic ‘Tallica on a side stage.

  • july 12, 2017 - comerica park

    This show also featured Volbeat and Avenged Sevenfold. Unfortunately, A7X had to cut their set short because of impending weather that never came.

    I had a chance to talk with James before the show….you can watch that here.

  • november 10/12, 2023 - ford field

    They wrapped up their summer tour here in Detroit for 2023, and what a way to close it out. Pantera, Mammoth WVH, Five Finger Death Punch, and Ice Nine Kills. Two nights that had the city going Metallica crazy! Between the shows and all the events around them, it was an awesome weekend!

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