St Vincent joins Metallica onstage for Nothing Else Matters performance, band debut new Thin Lizzy and UFO cover versions

(Image credit: Photo by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for P+ and MTV)

St Vincent joined Metallica to perform Nothing Else Matters at the Helping Hands benefit gig at the Microsoft Theater in LA on 16 December. The gig also saw the debut of new song Lux Æterna, alongside some unexpected covers of Metallica's influences. 

Playing her Ernie Ball signature guitar, St Vincent aka Annie Clark took the first lead vocal on the song before being joined by James Hetfield

Kirk Hammett played a custom Fender Acoustasonic Jazzmaster for the band's performance of All Within My Hands with San Francisco musician Avi Vinocur joining them for this and a few other songs through the light. 

The performance reflected a more electrified approach to the song compared to their 2018 Helping Hands benefit acoustic performance of it. But by Metallica standards, the set was frequently a more stripped down affair in general. With some exceptions… 

The 14-song setlist also saw Metallica debut new song Lux Æterna, following a false start due to a cymbal issue with Lars Ulrich's kit. Just like in the song's official video, Hetfield used what look likes like a replica of his old school white Electra V from the Kill 'Em All era. 

Fans got an additional treat of not one but two unexpected cover versions of Metallica's influences in the form of Thin Lizzy's Borderline from 1976's Johnny The Fox album (they also played their version of Lizzy's take on Whiskey In The Jar too) and UFO's It's Killing Me. 

Hammett took full advantage of the Acoustasonic Jazzmaster's humbucker for the leads in Borderline. Clearly, this new hybrid Acoustitallica approach suits the band judging by these covers – allowing Hetfield's voice some more leeway in the mellower context. 

Metallica's set was part of a benefit night for the band's All Within My Hands Foundation that also featured Greta Van Fleet.

The foundation started in 2017 and is 'dedicated to creating sustainable communities by supporting workforce education, the fight against hunger, and other critical local services.'

Metallica's full Helping Hands setlist 16 December 2022:

  • Blackened
  • The Unforgiven
  • Borderline (Thin Lizzy cover)
  • It's Killing Me (Ufo cover)
  • Whiskey In The Jar ((Thin Lizzy cover)
  • The Call Of Ktulu
  • Harvester Of Sorrow 
  • Holier Than Thou
  • All Within My Hands
  • Creeping Death
  • Enter Sandman
  • Lux Æterna
  • Nothing Else Matters (with St Vincent)
  • Seek & Destroy

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Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.