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James Hetfield Went Up In Flames, 25 Years Ago Today [VIDEO]

Metallica Performs At The Rose Bowl
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

It was billed as one of the biggest concerts of the decade. Metallica and Guns N Roses. It was a powder keg just waiting to be lit. August 8th, 1992, in Montreal Canada, this tour would take a turn that no one saw coming. For weeks before this concert, Axl Rose had been plagued by throat issues. On July 21, 1992 in Pontiac, MI, he threw up on stage after performing “You could be mine”.  Then on July 29th, he had extreme pain in his throat, and wound up getting hit in the junk by a lighter and left the stage. The next day he was diagnosed with severe throat damage and was told not to sing for a week.

Fast forward to August 8th in Montreal. Due to miscalculations with the pyrotechnics, James Hetfield got too close and suffered second and third degree burns to his left arm during the opening of “Fade to Black”. With Hetfield off to the hospital, the rest of the band cancelled the rest of their set and apologized.

What transpired next would go down as what some might call classic “Axl drama”. The audience became increasingly agitated because of the long delay in between bands, when they did finally get on stage, Axl cut the set short claiming his throat was beginning to hurt. The cancellation led to a massive riot by the fans. Audience members overturned cars, set fires, smashed windows and looted local stores.

Metal Church guitarist John Marshall filled in on rhythm guitar for James while he healed for the rest of the tour.

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