Metallica 72 Seasons Global Premiere
In a preface to the 2014 edition of Justice for All, his classic biography of Metallica, author Joel McIver observed that in the ten years since the book's release the band's creative efforts were 'marked by a sense of exploration outside most rock bands' usual parameters... devoting their time away from the studio in all sorts of unorthodox ways'. In 2014, those unorthodox efforts included setting up a record company and festival, funding a film with their own money and recording Lulu with Lou Reed.
This observation seems to still hold true in 2023 with the news that Metallica have planned an unconventional release event for their forthcoming album 72 Seasons.
The band have announced a 'worldwide listening party' in cinemas. Tickets go on sale Thursday, March 2, at metallica.film.
The idea is to experience the full album for the first time in surround sound. Each song will be accompanied by its own video on the big screen along with quips and commentary from the band about the recording and songwriting process.
Rock music in cinemas has a long history, of course. But it has typically been in the form of live concert screenings and documentaries or feature films, either acting or on the soundtrack.
An early example of rock fans gathering at the movies to listen together is 'Rock Around the Clock' (1956), which featured the music of rock 'n' roll pioneer Bill Haley. According to Bill Haley Jr, in his biography Crazy Man Crazy, 'teens who saw this movie on general release jumped out of their seats and began dancing in the aisles when 'Rock Around the Clock' hit the speakers. This reaction, which began to spread, encouraged some movie theatre owners to turn down the volume when the song started'.
Only time will tell whether Metallica's 72 Seasons promotion, which seems like an original concept to me, will have a similar effect. If you go to the box office and get a seat, let us know how you find it!