Backbeat: Backstage as Metallica Takes Over the Apollo for the First, and Last, Time

The marquee outside Metallica first, and likely last, performance at New York's historic Apollo Theatre

Metallica's once-in-a-lifetime show at New York's Apollo Theater lived up to its hype. Hors d'oeuvres, an open bar and free T-shirts greeted the crowd that lined up around the block to watch the metal titans rock the same stage that legends James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis and Michael Jackson had taken over in their days. Dubbed "Never Before . . . And Never Again," the show celebrated SirusXM's launch of temporary channel Mandatory Metallica. SirusXM director of programming/on-air host Jose Mangin pumped up the crowd when he introduced the band, but the bigger stir was caused when Howard Stern walked through the room to take his seat.

"That Metal Show" host Eddie Trunk (left) and Metal Blade CEO Brian Slagel

"That Metal Show" host/rock radio personality Eddie Trunk and Metal Blade records founder/president Brian Slagel arrived early to catch Metallica in action. Slagel was the first person to release any of the band's music: He included its song "Hit the Lights" on "Metal Massacre," Metal Blade's first compilation. Trunk recently reminisced on his website about hearing Metallica for the first time, nothing, "I wish I could say I heard the future, but in all honesty I wasn't sure what I [had just] heard."

From left: Metallica co-manager and Q Prime co-owner Cliff Bernstein, Republic SVP of rock radio Dennis Blair, Republic SVP of A&R Nate Albert

Metallica co-manager and Q Prime co-owner Cliff Bernstein has been handling the band since its earliest days. Billboard found him chatting in the aisles with Republic senior VP of rock radio Dennis Blair and Republic senior VP of A&R Nate Albert.

SiriusXM president/chief content officer Scott Greenstein (left) and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz senior partner Michael Segal

SiriusXM president/chief content officer Scott Greensteinand Michael Segal, senior partner in the executive compensation and benefits department at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, were among the VIPs who watched the historic show.