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Metallica Singer James Hetfield Plays First Show Since Entering Rehab

James Hetfield
Scott Varley/MediaNews Group/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images

James Hetfield holds a fireside chat the opening of his car collection exhibition now on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles on Jan. 30, 2020.

Hetfield took the stage at an Eddie Money tribute show on Thursday.

Metallica singer James Hetfield performed in public for the first time since entering rehab last year at a tribute to Eddie Money on Thursday (Feb. 20).

The surprise appearance took place at the Saban in Beverly Hills, where he played at a show that also featured Sammy Hagar, Rick Springfield, George Thorogood, REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin and Dave Amato, Greg Kihn, John Waite and more. 

Hetfield performed Money’s beloved tune “Baby Hold On” at the show, refashioning the uptempo rock tune as a slow, mournful acoustic dirge, marking his first time on stage since Sept. 2019.

Metallica postponed a planned Australian tour a short time later in order to allow Hetfield to enter a rehab facility. Proceeds from the Money show went to benefit the USC Eddie Money Cancer Research Fund. Money died in Sept. 2019 at age 70 following a battle with stage 4 esophageal cancer.

Before performing, Hetfield recalled meeting a "cleaned-up version of Eddie" during the singer's later career when the pair met up at a Oakland Raiders game. "He had the balls to go out and sing, I played guitar, he would go up there and sing the National Anthem," Hetfield said while strumming an acoustic. "So when I met him before we went up there he kind of blew me off... I thought, 'Who is this pompous ass?'"

He described them as "two big dogs going around each other" and then realizing it was their egos talking and finding a way to become friends, which they stayed until Money's death.

Metallica is slated to return to the stage on April 15 at Estadio Nacional in Santiago, Chile.

Watch Hetfield perform below.

 

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