During a recent conversation with Rolling Stone, former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted remembered the band’s Damaged Justice tour in support of 1988’s “…And Justice for All,” focusing on the show the guys played as part of Monsters of Rock festival in LA.
The gig took place at the Coliseum in July 1988 in front of nearly 60,000 people. The bands at the top of the bill were Dokken, Scorpions, and Van Halen. Metallica was scheduled to perform at 2 PM.
Jason remembered how the crowd reacted as Metallica was gracing the stage to Ennio Morricone’s “The Ecstasy of Gold”:
“It was like a giant toilet flushing. All of the people came down out of the bowl and onto the floor.”
The source points out that the mosh pit had 200 people in it, but it was hard for the fans since the concert promoter had placed rows of folding chairs, all bound together, on the field.
“We get to the fifth or sixth song, which was ‘Whiplash,’ and they started tearing the seats up. They started passing the rows of chairs, five or six hooked together at a time, over their heads like a crowd surfer and you’d see it coming all the way from three-quarters of the field towards us.
“They were coming by the hundreds and they’d hand them to the security guards when they got up to the barricade. The security guards were overwhelmed. Where do we put these hundreds of seats that were bent and broken with pieces of hair and shoes on them, as they come up?
“So we had to stop a verse-and-a-half into ‘Whiplash’ and walk offstage. So we get behind the PA and start watching and for five or seven minutes, they’re cleaning the field of the chairs.
“Once those seven minutes were finished, the chairs were gone and in a big pile in the parking lot behind the stage. They looked like a record burning or a book burning, like a pyre.
“So we came back on, and James goes, ‘Two, three, four, bam!’ and we pick up right where we left off – ‘Whiplash!’ and it went freaking bonkers. Those pits turned into 500 people, and they’re all across the field whirling and dust kicking up.
“And that was at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. By the time Dokken were ready to come on, it was like, ‘Uh, love you, guys, but good luck. Follow that!'”