Metallica postpone Arizona show as James Hetfield tests positive for COVID

A picture showing James Hetfield's positive Covid-19 test in September 2023
(Image credit: Metallica/X)

Metallica postponed a scheduled show in Glendale, Arizona, this weekend as frontman James Hetfield tested positive for COVID-19.

The band's second performance at State Farm Stadium was due to take place on Sunday, September 3. Metallica played the same venue on September 1, but had to play a slightly shortened set as Hetfield battled vocal issues that can now almost certainly be attributed to COVID.

The second show will now take place next weekend – Saturday, September 9 – to give Hetfield time to get over the disease which was at the centre of the global pandemic that wreaked endless havoc on live music events from 2020 to 2022.

And just when gig-goers were starting to get used to life having returned to "normal", Hetfield's positive test proves that we're not totally in the clear yet.

In a statement posted to social media, Metallica say: "We’re very sorry to report that tomorrow’s scheduled M72 date at State Farm Stadium has been postponed to Saturday, September 9, 2023, as, unfortunately, COVID has caught up with James. 

"We’re extremely disappointed and regret any inconvenience this has caused you; we look forward to returning to complete the M72 No Repeat Weekend in Glendale next Saturday.

"All tickets for September 3 will be honoured at the September 9 show."

Metallica's M72 tour features a new in-the-round stage set, with the band's iconic "snake pit" relocated to the centre of the stage, giving fans a 360-degree view of the performance. It is scheduled to run into 2024.

They are playing two shows in each city on the tour, with completely different setlists each night. The tour is in support of the band's latest album, 72 Seasons.

Countless gigs were cancelled or postponed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact on the music industry was severe and lasting, with many bands saying post-pandemic costs are making touring very difficult if not impossible.

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.