Metallica celebrated the 35th birthday of their hugely influential Master Of Puppets album by unleashing the ‘hypnotising power’ of its opening track, Battery, on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on March 3. And in a nostalgic throwback to 1986, the Bay Area ’bangers even dragged their original Damage, Inc tour backdrop out of storage for the occasion.
“Considering what craziness it’s been exposed to over its lifetime, it’s in remarkably good shape. (the backdrop that is!!)” Lars Ulrich joked on Instagram.
What craziness, you ask? Well, the backdrop had been on something of an adventure, having been missing for nearly 30 years. After the Damage, Inc tour it had vanished, until eagle-eyed fan Wayne Summers spotted it for sale on eBay in 2015.
Wayne arranged to meet the seller, bought the backdrop, and eventually returned it to the band at the Leeds Festival the same year, prompting a grateful James Hetfield to dedicate Seek And Destroy to him from the stage.
The band’s Colbert Show performance is now available to view on YouTube.
“Metallica’s album Master Of Puppets was released 35 years ago today and had such an impact that it was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress,” read the accompanying notes. “We’re thrilled to welcome them back to the show for this special performance of Battery in front of the original backdrop for their Damage, Inc Tour.”
For an insider glimpse of the quartet’s performance, you can also check out photos posted on drummer Ulrich’s Instagram account.
Lest anyone think that Metallica have become a cosy nostalgia band in 2021, their Danish drummer promises that the quartet’s follow up to 2016’s Hardwired...To Self Destruct will be the best album they’ve ever made.
“It’s the heaviest thing, the coolest," Ulrich told Classic Rock recently, with his tongue wedged firmly in his cheek. "But all kidding aside, if it wasn’t because we thought that the best record was still ahead of us, then why keep doing it?”