In an emotional moment, Metallica frontman James Hetfield addressed the crowd during the band’s show at the Estádio do Mineirão in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on Thursday (May 12th), admitting insecurities about his performing abilities as he gets older. The metal icon was quickly comforted by his bandmates, who all gave him a group hug onstage.
The 58-year-old Hetfield paused before Metallica launched into the classic “Sad but True,” telling the audience, “I’ve gotta tell you, I wasn’t feeling very good before I came out here. Feeling a little bit insecure, like I’m an old guy, can’t play anymore — all this bullshit that I tell myself in my head. So I talked to these guys, and they helped me — as simple as that. They gave me a hug and said, ‘Hey, if you’re struggling onstage, we’ve got your back.’ And I tell you, it means the world to me.”
At that point, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo walked over to Hetfield and gave him a big hug. A teary-eyed Hetfield continued, “And seeing you out there, I am not alone. I am not alone. And neither are you.”
Hetfield has battled addiction throughout his career, entering rehab as recently as 2019. He told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe in 2021, “The word ‘unraveling’ is a great word, like unlearning, unlearning all of what happened before. That was a part of me, for sure, but it dominated all of me. And the parts that weren’t happy about me — there’s a huge codependence and insecurity, a lot of that — that… Gosh, I can’t… I’m no good without these guys. Who am I? Off tour, it’s, like, ‘Who am I?'”
It was quite an eventful South American tour for Metallica. Earlier in the outing, a woman gave birth at the venue during Metallica’s show in Curitiba, Brazil. She subsequently received a congratulatory phone call from Hetfield.
Metallica will be back onstage in the States later this month at the BottleRock Napa festival on May 27th and Boston Calling on May 29th, before heading to Europe for a tour in June. They’ll return to the States for a gig at Lollapalooza in Chicago on July 28th, along with headlining shows in Buffalo, New York, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in August. Grab tickets to Metallica’s upcoming concerts via Ticketmaster.
Watch Hetfield address the crowd and receive a group hug from his Metallica bandmates in the video below.