After rumours of its imminent arrival, Metallica have officially announced that their S&M² live album and documentary, featuring the band’s 2019 performance with the San Francisco Symphony, will be out on August 28.
The S&M² live album and documentary comprises the recordings from September 2019 when Metallica reunited with San Francisco Symphony for the first time since the original S&M² performances in 1999 documented by the Grammy-winning live album S&M — plus the first-ever Metallica/San Francisco Symphony renditions of songs written and released since those shows.
Recorded over the two sold-out Metallica shows that opened the Chase Center — the new 18,064-seat arena in San Francisco — the S&M² box set captures more than two and a half hours of James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo joining forces with the nearly 80-strong San Francisco Symphony, with a special appearance by legendary conductor Michael Tilson Thomas.
The shows each drew 16,000 fans and saw the four members of Metallica playing on a circular, revolving stage in the center of the arena floor, surrounded by 75 members of the Symphony and conductor Edwin Outwater. They were rapturously received by the 40,000 fans who traveled from nearly 70 countries, as well as the media: Rolling Stone raved “the group proved that anything was possible,” Variety noted an atmosphere “buzzing with excitement,” while the Mercury News witnessed “a concert that fans will be talking about for decades to come,” and Consequence of Sound hailed “a true celebration of Metallica and their musical prowess.”
The three-hour concerts were split into two parts and included a rendition of ‘Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)’ from Metallica’s debut album, Kill ‘Em All, performed as a solo by the Symphony bassist Scott Pingel in tribute to Metallica’s late bassist Cliff Burton.
Lars Ulrich told Kerrang!: “The ‘Anesthesia’ bass solo was incredible. The way the fans reacted to that was goosebump-city. I loved the dare of playing “Iron Foundry”. I loved revisiting songs we don’t play so often like “The Outlaw Torn” and “The Call Of Ktulu”.
“I loved how Edwin brought one sort of dynamic when he was conducting the more rock stuff, and how Michael Tilson Thomas — the maestro, the elder statesman of his world — brought in some different pieces and encouraged the fans to understand where the symphonic and rock worlds overlap.
“Most of all, though, the fact that there was no barricade stood out. When was the last time you went to a rock show of that size without one? What does that barricade do? What does it mean? It’s a safety thing, but in essence it’s something that separates people. I loved just being able to walk out with the fans. At one point, I leaned back and let myself go into their embrace. That was a great moment.”
On August 28, S&M2 comes to life once more. S&M2 will be available in a staggering array of formats, ranging from a digital album on all leading streaming outlets, to 4LP vinyl, 2CD, DVD and Blu-ray versions, to a limited edition color vinyl 4LP + 2CD + Blu-ray Deluxe Box featuring sheet music, guitar picks, poster and more, all the way up to a Metallica.com exclusive Super Deluxe Box, limited to 500 copies, each featuring actual sheet music used by the Symphony during the shows and hand-signed by all four band members (in addition to including everything in the Deluxe Box). With this long-awaited Blackened Recordings release, S&M2 can be fully experienced by others beyond those who squeezed into the Chase Center over those two unforgettable evenings.
S&M² is out on August 28. Scroll down to read the full tracklist and pre-order it here.
“The Ecstasy Of Gold” (Ennio Morricone cover) (performed by the San Francisco Symphony)
“The Call Of Ktulu”
“For Whom The Bell Tolls”
“The Day That Never Comes”
“The Memory Remains”
“Moth Into Flame”
“The Outlaw Torn”
“No Leaf Clover”
“Halo On FireSet II”
“Scythian Suite, Op.20, Second Movement” (Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev cover) (performed by the San Francisco Symphony)
“Iron Foundry” (Alexander Mosolov cover) (live debut)
“The Unforgiven III” (performed by the San Francisco Symphony)
“All Within My Hands” (acoustic)
“(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth” (bass part performed by San Francisco Symphony bassist)
“Wherever I May Roam”
“Master Of Puppets”
“Nothing Else Matters”
“Enter Sandman” (with “The Frayed Ends Of Sanity” outro)