Metallica will take the stage in Sofia, Bulgaria tomorrow night in front of 40,000 fans – but hundreds of thousands more will watch this hugely anticipated show in cinemas around the world.
Currently touring Europe as part of the Sonisphere festival, which has brought metal's "Big Four" (Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer) together for the first time, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett says the band came up with the idea when they realised it was logistically impossible to visit all the countries clamouring for a glimpse of this dream lineup.
The venture, Hammett admits, is inspired by similar live broadcasts pioneered by the Royal Opera House and the New York Met. He explains: "Opera broadcasts in theatres had been an astounding success, and our manager had the idea for doing this with a different genre of music. We thought, 'Wow, what a great way to share this with the rest of the world without really going to the rest of the world'. We're pretty psyched about it because we've been getting a lot of requests to take this tour elsewhere and we can't – this is our way of compensating for that."
Tomorrow night, the Bulgarian concert will be beamed live to 79 cinemas across the UK, and countless more worldwide. While it promises to be a happier return to the big screen for Metallica than the documentary Some Kind of Monster, Hammett acknowledges this meeting of metal minds wouldn't have been possible without the fallout from the 2004 film: "This is probably a direct result of all the therapy we experienced through Some Kind of Monster. Because ... we're still coming to terms with our past ... and we want to move on with better relationships with our peers. How's that for a fucking quote?"