Some concerts become legendary, and the 1991 ‘Monsters of Rock’ festival in Moscow was no exception. It goes down in history as one of the largest concerts ever held, attracting a massive crowd of 1.6 million people. For the heavy metal band Metallica, it was an incredibly significant and unforgettable performance. In fact, only four other concerts have seen such record-breaking attendance, with Jean-Michel Jarre’s 1997 concert in Moscow topping the charts with over 3 million attendees. Just take a look at this incredible aerial shot of the crowd during Metallica’s performance:
The Monsters of Rock festival was a series of rock concerts that began in 1980. What was initially meant to be a one-time event quickly turned into an annual celebration of heavy metal, growing in popularity and spreading across the globe. The year 1991 held historical significance for Moscow, the host city, as it witnessed a series of events that eventually led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of Communist rule.
Therefore, the hosting of the country’s first free open-air rock concert at Tushino Airfield was incredibly meaningful to the people of Russia. These circumstances make the Monsters of Rock performance James Hetfield’s favorite moment of Metallica’s tour. Hetfield is the lead vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter of the band.
The lineup for that day included acclaimed bands like AC/DC, The Black Crowes, and Mötley Crüe. However, it was Metallica that captured the hearts of over 1.6 million fans and stole the show. In video footage of their iconic performance, you can see helicopters attempting to calm down the excited rock fans. Surprisingly, even military personnel can be seen in the crowd, shedding their uniforms and rocking out to the music.
Amidst the deafening roar of a million voices, Metallica opened their set with the lead single from their fifth studio album, ‘Enter Sandman’. From there, they delivered an electrifying ten-song setlist and encore, pouring all their energy into the performance and igniting the entire airfield with their infectious enthusiasm.
The unforgettable performances witnessed in Moscow that day were immortalized a year later in the film ‘For Those About Rock: Monsters in Moscow’, which featured epic performances from all the acts at the concert. Metallica’s legendary 1991 performance continues to resonate even today, with the concert video receiving over 26 million views on YouTube. Trust me, watching it is an experience you won’t regret.