Watch Metallica's James Hetfield get emotional onstage as he admits to fears that he's too old to play well

(Image credit: Metallica)

James Hetfield stunned Metallica's audience during a recent show in Brazil with an open display of vulnerability during which he revealed his insecurities about getting older and his fears that he can no longer perform at the peak of his abilities. 

The heartfelt moment took place at Metallica's show on May 12 at Estádio do Mineirão in Belo Horizonte, and saw the 58-year-old frontman get emotional and receive a group hug from his bandmates.

Addressing the crowd after playing One, Hetfield reveals how he "wasn't feeling very good" prior to the show, due to feeling "insecure."

"I've gotta tell you I wasn't feeling very good before I came out here. [I was] feeling a little bit insecure, like I'm an old guy, [I] can't play anymore — all this bullshit that I tell myself in my head," he explains.

Referring to his bandmates, he continues, "So I talked to these guys, and they helped me — as simple as that. They gave me a hug and said, 'Hey, if you're struggling onstage, we've got your back.' And I tell you, it means the world to me."

Following the speech, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo leave their respective places on the stage to join Hetfield in a group hug, before Hetfield adds, "And seeing you out there, I… I am not alone. I am not alone, and neither are you." 

Watch fan recorded footage of the moment below.

Before the emotional interlude, Hetfield jokes about needing a "Metallica birthing section" at their shows, following a recent incident which saw a fan give birth during their performance, also in Brazil. He adds, "It's amazing isn't it? It's crazy. We are so blessed".

Joice M Figueiró was 39 weeks pregnant when she attended the show at the Estádio Couto Pereira, before going into labour as the band played Enter Sandman.

Despite medics arriving on the scene and attempting to take Joice to a local hospital by ambulance, the baby was ready to arrive and had to be delivered at the venue. Joice gave birth to a baby boy "to the sound of Enter Sandman", noting that her son Luan "came to the world on 07/05/2022 at 23:15, shaking all the metal structures." 

"Every show I go to, something has to happen, but this time I think I've outdone myself," Joice joked, later acknowledging in two Instagram stories that her experience had gone viral and adding that she was "great physically and trying to understand how this happened."

"He was born right there, in Couto Pereira, to the sound of Metallica," she noted via a story. "Everyone was surprised at what is happening." 

Hetfield later called the new mother to congratulate her and the father on their new arrival. 

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.