What Songs Should Metallica Play on The Late Late Show?

Metallica at Toyota Center in 2008
Metallica at Toyota Center in 2008
Photo by Craig Hlavaty

Tonight Metallica will begin a week-long residency on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson as a sendoff for the departing late-night host. It marks one of the highest-profile television appearances the band has made since the '90s, all at the request of Ferguson himself.

During the residency, they'll have a sit-down interview and five nights to play. Anyone who has been watching Ferguson's last few months has discovered that he basically no longer gives a fuck and is putting anything he wants on the air. That means good news for Metallica fans, since the band should be free to play whatever they want to.

That leads us to the obvious question, though: what should their set list look like this week?

MONDAY: "One" For the first day of their stint, they almost certainly have to go with a hit, and why not their very first and still one of their most beloved? "One" will never stop being an epic live performance, and treating fans to it on the very first night would be a way to get everybody settled in for a week of metal madness.

TUESDAY: "Master of Puppets" Two of their most famous in two days? These suggestions may be looking a bit boring right now, but you can't deny the power of "Master of Puppets," which remains one of the most accomplished metal compositions of all time. Remember, this is still early in the week.

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WEDNESDAY: "Bleeding Me" Okay, here's where we're starting to get weird. For hump day, why not dig a little deeper to one of the more intelligent, metal moments of the Load era? This one would be a shocker, both because they barely ever play it anymore and because it's earned a cult status as a beloved deep cut at this point, while still being from one of their best-selling albums.

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THURSDAY: "The Unforgiven III" Metallica isn't on the show to promote anything, but they're also going to play at least one song from their modern era. Instead of "The Lords of Summer," which is the most obvious choice, why not pull out this epic sequel in their "Unforgiven" series from Death Magnetic, which, for my money, was the best moment on that particular album?

FRIDAY: "Breadfan" Anyone who knows Metallica knows that at the end of a set, they like to bust out at least one cover song from their youth. There's a lot of great choices if they choose to bust out a cover to close out the week, but I suggest Budgie's "Breadfan" as a sleeper choice. It's one of their most badass covers of all time, with a rollicking riff that won't leave your head, and it's a great way to bust out something 99 percent of the people watching will not recognize.

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