Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony at the Chase Center, by Ian Young
Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony (photo: Ian Young)

There’s a new stadium in town, and it was christened in style on Friday night when Metallica took the stage with the San Francisco Symphony to reprise the unexpected mashup that took place 20 years ago.

In 1999, the SF Symphony, helmed by the late Michael Kamen, joined Metallica at the Berkeley Community Theatre to perform all-new interpretations of the band’s songs. Singer James Hetfield credits the collaboration to Cliff Burton, Metallica’s bassist from 1982 until 1986. Burton tragically passed away in a bus accident. At Chase Center, the band paid tribute to Burton by having the SF Symphony’s principal bass player, Scott Pingel, play a stirring and virtuoso cover of Burton’s bass solo in “(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth.”

This was just one of the many highlights of an electrically-charged evening. The band also ripped through their megahits “Wherever I May Roam,” “One,” “Master of Puppets,” “Nothing Else Matters,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and “Enter Sandman.” The symphonic accompaniment added a layer of lush, textural sound that supersized the impact of the music.

Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas made an appearance after the intermission to lead the symphony on a fiery Prokofiev piece and a thumping piece by Mosolov, during which Metallica also played.

Say what you may about a new stadium congesting Mission Bay and the Warriors leaving Oakland, but the new Chase Center is a magnificent playground for performance and spectacle, and they couldn’t have picked a more hard hitting inaugural event to introduce the space to the Bay Area.

Sad to have missed S&M2? Fret not — the band is planning on having a “cinematic event” on October 9 where the concert will be screened at more than 3,000 theaters worldwide. Keep an eye on their site for more info.