As of right now, I've seen Metallica 12 times.

For some fans, that might seem like a lot, and for others, it's just a drop in the bucket, but for me, that number represents my deep, lifelong love for the rock and roll legends.

I've had the privilege of seeing them all over the country, from New York City to New Orleans to Kansas City to San Francisco. I've seen them at massive festivals and I've seen them at legendary clubs. I've even had the amazing opportunity to interview a couple of the guys: Jason Newsted (after he was out of the band) and Kirk Hammett.

James Hetfield performing at Voodoo Music + Arts Experience in New Orleans in 2012.
James Hetfield performing at Voodoo Music + Arts Experience in New Orleans in 2012. Photo by me for Ultimate Classic Rock.
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My kids wear Metallica T-shirts and my personal wardrobe is made up primarily of Metallica T-shirts, too. Nearly an entire shelf of my record collection is dedicated to Metallica vinyl.

And of course whenever Metallica shows up on CYY, I crank it up way, way too loud.

Recently I fell down a wonderful rabbit hole of watching live videos of Metallica, which led to me checking out old setlists over the last few decades, and that pointed me to a baffling reality: The last time Metallica performed live in the state of Maine was Feb. 27, 1992.

Let that sink in for a second.

That's nearly 30 years ago.

In 2021, Metallica are celebrating their 40th anniversary as a band! That means that Maine has only experienced the first quarter of their life as it relates to their live shows.

Now, of course, you might've road-tripped over the years to Massachusetts to catch them; they filled Gillette Stadium back in 2017 and before that, they played the Garden in 2009.

Maybe you even caught them at the Cheshire Fairgrounds in North Swanzey, New Hampshire, in 1994.

But in Maine, we've been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for them to make their triumphant return.

Metallica Loves Maine, Right?

Of course Metallica loves Maine. I'd go so far as to say they love Portland, Maine, specifically. The legendary mastering engineer Bob Ludwig—who founded and runs Gateway Mastering Studios in Portland—has played a significant role in the life of the band.

I'm not capable of listing all of his contributions to Metallica's discography, but I'll tell you that he remastered the massive reissue of Metallica's Black Album that came out a couple of months ago, and he mastered their live release of S&M2, too. And he's actually been with them for decades. He mastered ...And Justice For All in 1988, and he mastered the Elektra releases of their first two albums, Kill 'Em All and Ride the Lightning.

Their connection to Maine isn't just Ludwig. On Aug. 29, 2020, Metallica broadcasted their first live show of the year across North America at drive-in movie theaters, and there were three in the state that carried the concert.

And though they haven't been in Maine for a long, long time, we can't forget the three amazing shows they did put on in this state.

Metallica at Oxford Plains Speedway — June 25, 1988

This was the first time they crossed into Maine. It was part of Van Halen's Monster of Rock tour. In addition to Van Halen, they performed alongside Scorpions, Dokken, and Kingdom Come. Their set consisted of 10 songs, opening with "Creeping Death" and closing out with "Battery."

Metallica at Cumberland County Civic Center — March 30, 1989

Less than a year later, Metallica returned to Maine, this time playing Portland. This was part of their Damaged Justice tour and they performed the Civic Center with Queensrÿche. Though there's no audience recording from this show, there is some footage from another '89 show, down in Connecticut:

Metallica at Cumberland County Civic Center — Feb. 27, 1992

And then the last, final time they played Maine was back in Portland at the Civic Center. This was in the midst of their massive Wherever We May Roam tour. In Portland, they played not one, not two, but three encores for a total of 22 songs. They opened with "Enter Sandman," played a Justice medley, and closed the night with their incredible cover of Queen's "Stone Cold Crazy." Fortunately, we do have footage from this show. Here is the audience recording of the concert:

And here's video of "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)":

Will Metallica Come Back One Day?

I think so. Someday. Before then, though, I'm going to head to San Francisco for their first 40th anniversary show at Chase Center on Friday, Dec. 17. I can't wait, and I'll definitely have a full recap for you right here on WCYY.com as well as during my show that following Sunday afternoon.

Beyond that, they have several dates scheduled for 2022, but sadly, nowhere near Maine. In February they're playing Vegas and then through June they'll be everywhere but North America.

But that still leaves half the year. Perhaps they'll schedule a massive stateside tour similar to their 2019 WorldWired shows?

Who knows, but what I do know is that the second a show is announced in Maine, I'll be ready to snag tickets! And I'll have my finest 'Tallica T-shirt ready to go, too.

Here's to Metallica making their way back to Maine. After all, if the Foo Fighters can return to Maine after 20+ years, so can Metallica, right?

(And let's hope Jack White makes his way to this fine state soon, too.)

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