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Five Pivotal Shows

February 1, 2011
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BY KIRK HAMMETT

1) THIN LIZZY OCTOBER 1, 1977

I was 14 years old and a huge Lizzy fan. When my friends and I found out they were coming to town we literally ran to our local music store to buy tickets. Thin Lizzy were touring behind their Live and Dangerous album and at the peak of their abilities. This concert changed my life and made me start contemplating becoming a musician.

2) DAY ON THE GREEN WITH AEROSMITH, FOREIGNER, PAT TRAVERS, VAN HALEN, AND AC/DC JULY 23, 1978

AC/DC opened the show and blew me away. Van Halen came on and blew me away. Pat Travers came on and blew me away. I had just started playing guitar, and it was one of the single most eye- and earopening events I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. To this day I can still feel the impact on me. Most of the bands mentioned were still fresh, inspired, and had something to prove. There is a pic from this show on the poster that came with Aerosmith’s Live Bootleg. When I look at the outdoor shot of Steven Tyler, I still fancy that I can see myself in the crowd, 15 years old, wearing nerdy glasses, and grinning from ear to ear.

3) LED ZEPPELIN JULY 24, 1977

Enough said. I felt the Hammer and the Hammer was heavy. I also saw for the first time a relatively unknown band called Judas Priest open the show.

4) THE NIGHT OF THE BANGING HEAD, WITH EXODUS AND METALLICA NOVEMBER 29, 1982

I was playing with Exodus at the time and we opened the show. The crowd thinned out for the second band, and then everyone came in again to see Metallica. I remember being knocked out by their songs and energy, but I honestly thought that they would be so much better with me on guitar. Ha!

5) JEFF BECK ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME APRIL 4, 2009

Watching Beck noodle around in between songs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame soundcheck for the show when we were inducted was a mind melt, my friends. It was incredible to be up close and personal and to see the master at work!

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