The rise of You Tube has allowed unprecedented access to bootleg concert footage. Once the sole domain of grainy VHS tapes, fans can now watch virtually any recorded performance online. Occasionally, a unique moment is captured on film. Such is the case with Metallica’s 1986 Anaheim, California show at the now defunct Jezebel’s.
Jason Newsted touring behind Master of Puppets gives the concert historical significance. It had been barely over a month since Cliff passed away and Anaheim was Jason’s second appearance with the band. Metallica are back on the road, still suffering, and taking steps to begin the healing process.
The video also captured the end of Metallica’s club days. Actually, they had already eclipsed the level of a club band. Local radio station KNAC cautiously promoted the show as “special guests,” yet word got out that Metallica was in town. The concert quickly sold out. Despite not having tickets, fans descended upon the tiny venue. 800 people congregated in the parking lot with an additional thousand fans gathering outside the club. The impromptu party resulted in 67 arrests.
Inside, the scene was pure madness. Packed to capacity with die-hard thrash fans, Metallica launched into a set that had recently been reverberating off arena walls. Moments into “Master of Puppets,” the power inexplicably went out, bringing the performance to a halt.
Roadies scrambled to resolve the issue as James made futile attempts to talk into the mic. Finally Hetfield’s “OK” sounded through the speakers. It appears all is well and the band resumed. Starting from the beginning, they only lasted a few bars before the PA gave out a second time.
After several awkward moments, power was restored. Once more, Metallica attempted “Master of Puppets.” Just as James began to sing, the power failed AGAIN. This time the audience took over. With Lars continuing to play drums, the rabid crowd sang every word in unison. James could only shout the words back at them. Finally yielding to the futility of being heard, Hetfield jokingly swayed his arms like a conductor.
When power was restored a third time, James jumped right in with the sing-along. Starting from the line, “Pain monopoly, ritual misery,” band and audience became one. This time the power held and Metallica finished the set without further incident.
A week later Metallica were performing in Tokyo as part of a short Japanese tour. Their unstoppable ascent to the world’s biggest band was in full swing. Yet, for one night in 1986, Metallica played an intimate show plagued with technical difficulties. Surely a special memory for those in attendance, the Jezebel’s show has been digitally preserved for fans of all ages to enjoy.