Me, San Francisco and Metallica

A 17-Year journey to attend the S&M concert in San Francisco

Written in September 14, 2020 - 🕒 6 min. read

me at chase center
Me at the Chase Center

So that’s me, standing in front of the grand opening of the Chase Center in San Francisco. But to understand why I’m there, we need to go back in time to 17 years ago.

My Introduction to Metallica and S&M

In school, I wasn’t a fan of Metallica because of its name. It just sounded too heavy metal for me, and since I was at the peak of my skateboarding “career”, I was really into punk and hardcore music at the time. That all changed when a friend told me about the band’s album with the San Francisco Symphony. I was intrigued and decided to borrow the CD. And let me tell you, I became a huge Metallica fan almost instantly.

I couldn’t get enough of S&M and listened to it nonstop. And after I knew all the songs by heart, I started delving into the rest of Metallica’s discography. Around that time, the band released St. Anger, which I absolutely loved (even though I know it’s not a fan favorite). I listened to all of Metallica’s albums, but S&M remained my favorite and I still listened to it often.

Attending Metallica concerts in Brazil

In 2005, I hoped that Metallica would come to Brazil and maybe even perform with a Brazilian symphony. As it turned out, the band didn’t come to Brazil until 2010 for its Death Magnetic tour. I was there and had an amazing time with friends. The show sold out in one day, so they added a second show the following day.

me and friends metallica 2010
Metallica second day concert in 2010

After that, I went to a few more Metallica concerts in Brazil, including at Rock in Rio. But sometimes, I would still search online to see if there was any chance of another S&M concert. It seemed I wasn’t alone in my desire for one – there were plenty of others who felt the same way. And even though I was living in Brazil and earning wages in Brazilian reais, I told myself that no matter the cost, date, or location, I would attend the concert if it ever happened.

The announcement of S&M2

Years passed, and I wasn’t even living in Brazil anymore, but there I was, in 2018, googling if there was a possibility of Metallica do another S&M. Boy, little did I know 🧐

Then last year in March I was on vacation when one day I was checking the news feed on my phone in bed and I saw it: Metallica was uniting with San Francisco Symphony once more for S&M2 for a concert in San Francisco in September 2019, and I kind of freaked out, I was like “What seriously? Is this real? OMG!” and I knew I had to go! The thing is, I was already going to California in June for E3, so I would have to go again one month later, but you know what? Fuck it! I was all in because this was the concert I was waiting 17 years to attend.

Later that week I tried to get the tickets, but I couldn't, they sold out superfast and the only way to buy them was via scalpers, which were up to 8 times more expensive than the original ones. But then I remembered a promise I made for myself years before, that I would go to this show, no matter what, so I bought the concert tickets, the flight tickets and one week of hostel in one of the most expensive cities for tourism in the world 🤪.

Of course, since the tickets sold out superfast, Metallica announced a second concert 2 days after the first one, and since I was already going to be in San Francisco, I bought a ticket for that one too.

The journey to San Francisco

I ended up going to E3 in June and then returning to San Francisco in September for the S&M2 concert.

me at golden bridge
me at the Golden Gate Bridge

Since I was in San Francisco and had paid a lot of money for the trip, I had to visit all the famous city landmarks. First on the list was the Golden Gate Bridge, which I was lucky enough to get a clear photo of since the bridge was usually fully covered by fog and clouds that week.

It’s a must-see spot and truly stunning to look at. San Francisco is a unique city in that it’s only a bus ride away from beautiful natural sites like Rodeo Beach and Farol de Point Bonita.

lighthouse panorama
View from Farol de Point Bonita

Also, for some reason, sea lions love to hang around Pier 39

pier 39 sea lion
Sea lions at Pier 39

San Francisco is home to one of the most well-known prisons in the world, Alcatraz, which was closed due to high maintenance costs.

I also visited Palo Alto to see Google’s headquarters, although I didn’t know anyone at Google to get a VIP tour. Nonetheless, it was still worth it. I also took a picture in front of the Dragon Gate in Chinatown, a famous spot from the movie “Big Trouble in Little China”.

me at google
Me at Google
me at the dragon gate
Me at the Dragon Gate
transamerica pyramid
Transamerica Pyramid

The concert

On September 6th, the day of the long-anticipated S&M2 concert finally arrived. I took a Lyft from my hostel to the Chase Center and couldn’t believe that I was really there. The line to get into the venue was huge, but I didn’t mind – I was just thrilled to be there.

As I found my seat with a perfect view of the stage, the concert began. It was an incredible experience to see Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony perform together, like a dream come true.

They opened with The Ecstasy Of Gold, followed by The Call Of Ktulu, just like the first S&M concert. I was living my dream, listening to my favorite album live.

The third song was also from the first S&M concert, For Whom The Bell Tolls, and the fourth song was The Day That Never Comes from Death Magnetic, which is my second-favorite Metallica album. I was overjoyed.

metallica and symphony 1
Symphony and Metallica 2

We all knew The Unforgiven III had to be played that day, and it was epic. James played a full acoustic masterpiece with the symphony, and it was emotional. Unfortunately, they didn’t play Fade to Black, which I had hoped for on the second show. However, the setlist was the same for both performances.

After the second show, security allowed me to go down and take some great pictures close to the stage, which made the entire experience even more unforgettable (that’s what you are… 🎵).

me and sf symphony harp
Me and the harp from the symphony

The aftermath

I wish I could write more about this amazing trip, but since it was a year ago, I don’t remember many of the details.

This was my first solo trip, and it was definitely worth it. While I think traveling with friends is usually better, it’s also good to have alone experiences every once in a while.

good bye san francisco
Bye San Francisco

Goodbye, San Francisco.


Today, a year later, I purchased the S&M2 Deluxe Boxset as a way to commemorate this amazing trip even more. I made an unboxing video of it – check it out below and let me know what you think :)


Post a comment


Shmu on 9/13/20

Awesome post, your golden-gate bridge foto is fantastic. I'm really glad you managed (after seventeen years) to see this show/format after all!