The Many Faces Of Metallica : 1988 James Hetfield


Monsters Of Rock Festival
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
July 24, 1988

Van Halen, The Scorpions, Dokken…in 1988 these were some of the biggest names in Rock.  But it was a little band named Metallica that stole the show…night after night.  Armed only with denim jeans, worn out t-shirts and wrist bands, Metallica proved to be the next big thing.

At the time, Metallica and its fans had a connection that none of the other bands on the bill had.  At the show I attended in Los Angeles, before and after Metallica hit the stage, you could hear the chants – Metallica, Metallica.  And during their set it was pure mayhem as all of us tore out our seats and tossed them in the air toward the stage.  This interaction with the fans fueled Metallica…and the Monster was created.

This photo shows what Metallica was made of – no frills, no glitz, no b.s.   This is the band that took Metal to the next level.

Photographed with my smuggled in Canon AE1 Program and a no name 80-200mm lens with a 2X teleconverter

23 Responses to “The Many Faces Of Metallica : 1988 James Hetfield”

  1. Hey Kevin-I remember this tour very well.

  2. I was at that July 24th 1988 Metalica show at the LA Coliseum.
    is there any photos or bootleg footage of the Mayhem,
    I want to show my son.

  3. ya, i was at that concert too. they had a big metal fence up up all the way around the perimiter of the colliseum floor. when metallica started playing, people on the floor threw thier chairs forward (yes they had chaird seating for a rock concert, lol) and people in the stands started rushing at the fence, tearing it down, it was awesome to watch, the fence was completley tore down by the end of the first song. Nice memories

    • I came across this site looking for videos or pictures of the chair incident and the fence around the perimeter being torn down in Los Angeles. I was there. They were throwing the chairs at Security who got up on the stage when the tried to stop the show because the crowd was getting to rowdy. Meanwhile the fence came down because all the fans including me were in the stands and wanted to get in the arena. Eventually they started the show back to keep a riot from happening. The fence and stopping the show were naive things for the head of security to do; especially on such a hot day. Just awsome.

      If anyone has any footage please let me know.


  4. I was there. We drove from Az to see it.

    From my vantage, in the nosebleeds, it turned to complete pandemonium when Metallica hit the stage.

    The entire back half of the coliseum rushed the ground seats. Fires were burning, chairs flying around, helicopters hovering over, cops in riot gear, Guardian Angels volunteer crime fighters. It was chaos! As a young chap, I feared for my life 🙂

    Good stuff.

  5. Bonnie Says:

    I went with 5 friends and was sitting halfway up the nosebleed area to the left of the stage . I too saw the metal fence around the floor to seperate us “seat” people. Then Metallica hit the guitar and it was OVER! Everything started flying through the air, beers, shoes, shirts. But it was the ice chest that I saw fly over me through the air that told me we were all in for it! Then the rush of people, it looked like god took a mega bucket of people and poured them down the sides of the coliseum everywhere you looked, it was surreal! Then my friends and I got up and we saw the cops running out of the way on the floor with the crowd of people breaking down the fencing, that was surreal too! Then my friend and I got out to the steps and said should we? About that time a huge rush of people got up behind us and rushed the floor again but we were in front of them running as fast as we could to not get trampled. Well last thing I knew I tripped and was tumbling down and down until I hit the only pole standing from the fence, I looked over and my friend was tangled up in the folding chair. THEN somebody picked me up by the shirt and back of my shorts and said GO FOR IT BABY and THREW me up and over the mangled fencing. I landed on the ground on my hands and knees , only one shoe on and got up and ran into the floor seatingarea and turned left into the crowd to blend in fearing I would get caught and right about then, three of my friends ran into me while they were running into the crowd. WE WERE SO AMPED FROM THE HIGH OF THAT MOMENT that we all hugged the shit out of eachother , high fived saying, we made it , we made it!!!!!!! The other two caught up with us about half way into Metalllica. It was the CRAZIEST thing I have ever done in my life, will never forget it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • john lopez Says:

      yeah i was there too 13 th row with my girlfriend now my wife of 24 years .when metallica came on all hell broke loose i remember telling her get on your chair by the time metallica ended all the chairs were on the stage it was crazy but thats fucken metal for you love or leave it .the food fight at nite was awesome too was the best concert i had ever seeen ….. love the lopez family from tustin ca.

  6. Scott Allan Says:

    It was a scorcher that day,about 90 something degrees out .I hitchhiked from Escondido with a pack of smokes five bucks and a spray bottle filled with water.Kirk Hammet came out with the band struck is guitar and the place went nut’s.My friends and I ran from the second walkway up from ground level from the back of the Coliseum.By the time we ran down the stairs the fence was down,when I went over the fence there was a cop under it.My friends and I made it two third’s of the way across the field,thats when James came out and said if everyone did not take three steps back and calm down the concert was over!There were couples holding each other and crying that had paid for floor seats.There were dudes attacking girls and ripping there shirts of,but me and allot of other people helped the chicks out and stopped the jacklegs from doing to much damage.Things did settle down,and Metallica did come back on stage to play.It was a killer concert.I would love to see video of the riot,and the concert that day.One truly bogus thing was they took are tickets but would not give us are stubs.I want my stub back!!!

  7. Kevin,

    Nice shot at at the 88 Monsters of Rock. I was very close to you during the show. I worked for CSC…..the concert security company….guys with yellow jackets. Do you have any photos of when the fence came down by the weight of the crowd in LA? I ran up on the stage to the right side facing the audience and worked crowd control. I had a spiked flat top. If you have any photos of me at the Metallica show in LA 1988 at the Monsters of Rock…I would love for you to send them. That show was total chaos…..especially when all the power went off. I would appreciate anything that you have.



  8. That was truly a Monsters Of Rock concert! Metallica owned it! I haven’t seen anything like it to date, and I’ve seen more than my share.

    I won the tickets from KGB 101.5 FM, in San Diego at the time. My gf and I were stage right, 50 yard line, three rows up from the chain link fence surrounding the Coliseum track and field. Honestly, from our seats, the timing of it all could not have been more perfect. Everything exploded simultaneously. The very first note Metallica played and instantly the chain link fence went slamming down section after section around the entire stadium. Everything and anything not tied down went flying through the air.

    We, along with everyone there it seemed, rushed the infield and joined the mayhem. With her following, I put my head down and plowed our way until it was too thick to move. That was still about 50 feet to the stage. Rocked hard, as only Metallica can, for a few songs, then had to retreat. She was getting crushed and uncomfortable, so I burrowed out the same way we went in, with her following in my wake. Not a show I would normally take a gf to, but seemed harmless enough beforehand. 😉

    I’ve seen Metallica several times but none have compared to this show. They were young and raw, and the crowd’s energy fed the monster that they were. They definitely transformed “heavy metal” in those early years. The Coliseum would never be the same. Nor would anyone who attended that concert.

    Great photo, btw. Would love to see some shots of the Coliseum that day… before and after.

  9. July 24th, 1988 the day my life changed forever. I was 13 years old and had just moved back to California the day before. My older brother and his friends were going to Monsters of Rock and had an extra ticket. Digging into my piggy bank I came up with enough change..yes change to buy my ticket! Little did I know what would happen next..being this my first concert ever.

    My brother and his friends had floor seats and of course I had the lone nose bleed ticket. I remember sitting in my seat just looking around in awe watching all the people at the show. Kingdom Come came on and things were calm….then Metallica hit the stage and Creeping Death came on and that is when “the fence came down”! Not knowing what to really do I at first I watched and then grew enough courage to make my way to the floor.

    I eventually found my brother and he asked if I wanted to get in the front row..of course I said yah. He took me to the front of the stage for Scorpions and Van Halen. This really was the day I fell in love with Rock n Roll! 23 years later I still attend concerts regularly and this month April 23rd I will make my way to The Big 4 show in Coachella, Ca…..METAL UP YOUR ASS!!!!!!!

  10. john Alva Says:

    Hey was there to, Anyone remember the water main on the right side of the stage blasting water into the crowd? Ended up 2nd or 3rd row for rest of show after the melee in the crowds. Most awesome show ever. There is a supper bitch-in you tube vid that shows allot of the action its about 8min long would love to find some up front action of hallen and the scorps!!!!

    • I remember the water main shooting water like 20 feet in the air. People were rushing the stage chairs were flying to the front ,complete mayhem I LOVED IT. My future wife was by my side and we made our way to the front after Metallica, A mosh pit started to form and this one dude grabbed my girl by the hair ,I had hit him in the jaw and then the big security guard pick him up and threw him and several of his friends out of the crowd and off they went. Before the concert when we were in bumper to bumper traffic the cops were on the overpasses with binoculars looking for illegal activity in the cars .Several cars were pulled over causing more rubber necking, parking was a night mare ,but found paid $20 to park in a service station ,we had to give the keys to the lot attendant .One of our freind s took off never to be seem again until we saw a cab pull up at our dorms at Edwarfds air force base. $120 it cost him. Great memories

  11. […] At the time, Metallica and its fans had a connection that none of the other bands on the bill had.  At the show I attended in Los Angeles, before and after Metallica hit the stage, you could hear the chants – Metallica, Metallica.  And during their set it was pure mayhem as all of us tore out our seats and tossed them in the air toward the stage.  This interaction with the fans fueled Metallica…and the Monster was created.”  Metallica 1988 […]

  12. There is footage on YouTube I recently found but there’s no sound and bad quality but you get to see 8min if it,it shod the security on stage n metallica stopping,here are the links. ( the 2nd link I posted the uploader states that the vids was taken by lurks brother in law) you guys should try getting hold of the uploaders who posted these vids and see if they have the full show

  13. I was in the Navy stationed in Long Beach California in 1988. I was a big VH fan and bought tickets for the monster of rock in LA. Me and four other guys went. We had nose bleed seats. When Metallica took the stage, all hell broke loose. I remember floods of people running towards the fence around the perimeter of the floor seatings and tearing down the fence. It was incredible. I told my friends, after Metallica gets finished with their set, and before Dokken goes on, let’s move down. So we did that, and did it again after Dokken, so now we had good view for Scorpions, and then did it again and ended up front row for Van Halen! But there was so many people that it was hard to stay down close to the stage for more than an hour, and I had to go find some air. I’ll never forget this concert and always tell people about it. Sammy Hagar came out when Metallica went off stage and told everyone to chill out.

  14. Tara Stancyk Says:

    I too, was there. My DAD took us. Bless his heart, that man stood at the gate, and every time we went to the bathroom, he would yell at us,”YOU GIRLS OKAY?” i remember one trip some guy said, Hey, theres a creepy old man yelling at you! YOu alright? I said, Yeah, He’s harmless. Weirdo. (I know, Im horrible. I was 16, whattya expect!) lol
    Then, Metallica, all i saw was hair, fences, and chairs, then nothing. lol.
    the Food Fight was the BEST! VH took an hour to set up, so towards the hours end, i guess people on the left side of the stage couldn’t hang much longer. It was like a huge WAVE, but by the time it got to us, we said, IS THAT FOOD? HOLY SHIT! My bff got hit in the head by a Cheez-It Box, i got slammed and drenched with a giant coke, GOOD TIMES! THis concert, mind you got me hooked forever on concerts, esp VH!!! Also, when we were headed in, and security was patting people down, ill never forget this one guy was already pretty faded. Security says,’Hey, whatcha got there Son?’ Pointing to the guys crotch. Guy says, total deadpan,’Hey Man, Im just happy to be here.’ We get outta eyeshot from security and he pulls out this huge 40 of King Cobra or some kind of gross beer. I died, and gone to heaven….

  15. Tara Stancyk Says:

    All Summer long our catch phrase was; ‘NINE HOURS OF PURE HEAVY F**KIN’ METAL!!!’

  16. There’s clips of it on YouTube

  17. I was there and the stampede started above us! We had to run or get trampled on! I was so scared! We got pushed into and thrown over the fence! I fell on ground and someone, some guy picked me up and held me until it calmed down.. Then I looked up at him and he said to me I just saved your life! He was so awesome for helping me..and he was so nice to me .. I have no clue who he was!

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