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James Hetfield staged his first live performance since his rehab stay, delivering an acoustic rendition of Eddie Money’s “Baby Hold On” at a tribute to the late singer on Thursday.

The Metallica singer wasn’t among the announced guests at the Tribute to Eddie Money — led by Sammy Hagar, George Thorogood, Rick Springfield, and others — at the Saban in Beverly Hills, but Hetfield used the opportunity to return to the stage for the first time since September 2019; soon after, Metallica canceled a planned Australian tour as Hetfield re-entered a rehabilitation facility.


Proceeds from the tribute gig benefited the USC Eddie Money Cancer Research Fund.

Both Bay Area rock icons, Hetfield and Money were friends, with “Papa Het” paying tribute to Money on social media following Money’s September 2019 death.

In January, Hetfield made his first public appearance since his rehab stay, at an opening ceremony for a Los Angeles automotive museum’s exhibit of his classic cars. The singer also participated in a Q&A session at the event.

However, the band’s planned All Within My Hands benefit show on March 28th — their first scheduled gig since Hetfield’s latest battle with sobriety — was postponed until September 12th, 2020. “We may have been a little too ambitious with that date in terms of getting our shit together and giving you an experience that matches or surpasses the first event held in November of 2018,” the band said in a statement.

With Hetfield back onstage, Metallica appears to have a clear pathway toward their busy summer; the band has booked five two-night festival appearances.

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