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Album Analysis: Live Shit: Binge & Purge - Part 2 (San Diego & Mexico City)

By the 1970s, live concerts had become a cultural phenomenon. Attendance at live shows started to reach new heights as rock bands invaded the airwaves and clawed their way into the mainstream.


The surge in concert attendance and rock’s newfound popularity inevitably forged a path for a relatively new music medium: live albums. Once a format for only top tier music acts capable of drawing large audiences, the 1970s saw bands of all status - from superstars to the unknown - look to cash in on the music craze.


Countless rock bands shot to stardom on the back of live albums, as they captured a raw power and energy lacking from a lot of 1970s studio productions. Live albums by bands like KISS (Alive!), Thin Lizzy (Live and Dangerous), UFO (Strangers in the Night), and The Allman Brothers Band (At Fillmore East) are routinely cited by fans and critics as some of the best efforts from each band.

By the time Metallica had evolved into international rock stars with the release of the 1991 album Metallica (Black Album), the subsequent multi-year tour in support of it seemed to be the ideal time to release the first official live offering from the band.


In this series of articles, we’ll discuss the box set Live Shit: Binge & Purge by Metallica. We’ll briefly discuss the original box set and break down the gear used during the shows from both 1989 and 1992-1993.


This is Part 2 that takes a look at the 1992-1993 shows in San Diego and Mexico City. For information on the 1989 Seattle show, please view Part 1 of the article:



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Live Shit: Binge & Purge
 

THE BOX SET

The Live Shit: Binge & Purge box set was released on November 23, 1993. Being released just before the Christmas shopping season, the box became a “must have” item for every die hard Metallica fan. For many fans, it was an opportunity to immerse themselves into a Metallica concert for the first time.

The initial pressing of the box contained 3 VHS tapes of shows in San Diego, CA (Wherever We May Roam Tour, 1992) and Seattle, WA (Damaged Justice Tour, 1989), in addition to 3 cassettes or CDs featuring a show in Mexico City, Mexico (Nowhere Else to Roam Tour, 1993).

Original Box Set Advertisement, circa 1993

In addition to the concerts, the box set contained numerous additional things for fans: a t-shirt, written notes and band photographs, a “Scary Guy” logo stencil, a replica Snakepit Pass and more. It was the ultimate collectible item for Metallica fans.

Live Shit Box Set Contents
 

SAN DIEGO '92 / MEXICO CITY '93


Metallica recorded multiple shows during the Wherever We May Roam Tour (later dubbed the Nowhere Else to Roam Tour in 1993) while supporting Metallica (Black Album). The shows appearing in the box set include the highly popular San Diego set recorded during January 13-14, 1992 and a long stint in Mexico City from February 25 to March 2, 1993.


To many fans, these shows capture the band at the height of their career - blistering performances and stellar guitar tones while riding the highs of a (soon to be) diamond selling album (10+ million copies sold in the US). Metallica was tearing up the charts, dominating rock radio, and having near endless play on MTV - something that would have been unfathomable just a few years prior.


With a new tour came new guitar rigs that would continue to evolve for both James and Kirk.

James Hetfield - Guitar Rig

The rig used by Hetfield in 1992-1993 was an evolution of his prior live rig, growing in size from his Seattle '89 rig, but not as complex as it would appear at first glance. The core of the rig can be broken down into a few key components, routed and controlled by his Bradshaw rig setup.


During the very early era of the tour and planning in the fall of 1991 (when the rack was first assembled), Hetfield's rig was much more streamlined and contained only the essentials needed for a show. This could be viewed as a "prototype" for the full rack that was being assembled by late '91. While there are numerous versions of the rack arranged in different orders from mid-'91 until the start of '92, and minor variations that were present depending on location (e.g., "A" rig vs "B" rig), we're going to focus on where it started (Rig #1: The "Prototype") and where it eventually landed in its full version (Rig #2: Full Live Shit Rig).


First, let's review how it started with Rig #1.


Rig #1: The “Prototype” (Fall 1991)

This rig is highlighted by the infamous 1985 Mesa Mark IIC++ as the core crunch sound. Interestingly, this rig immediately deviates from his prior touring rigs by how its being utilized and how EQ is being applied.


The head unit was ran into a Rocktron Juice Extractor and routed into a Mesa Strategy 400 Power Amp for power. The Juice Extractor was a collaboration with Allan Holdsworth and also came with additional features, such as built in HUSH noise suppression and optional 3-band parametric EQ.


Rocktron Juice Extractor

As a fun fact, the well known "Caution HOT" sticker used by Kirk Hammett on a guitar came from a Juice Extractor!


ADMIN NOTE: While the Juice Extractor is the historically accurate load box used by Hetfield, if you intend to purchase and/or use one, please do so with great caution. These units are notorious for overheating and the technology is over 30 years old. There are many modern load boxes that are cheaper, more reliable, and sound as good (or better) that can serve the same purpose today. - Jack B.


A much wider range of EQ options were introduced during this era as well, partly driven by Hetfield's slowly evolving tone that was incorporating more mids than before (a trend that would continue more with Load). As on prior tours, James continued to use the B&B/Aphex EQF-2 Parametric EQ units in an Aphex 4B-1 500 Series Chassis for the legacy scooped tones. These were carried over from the prior Justice rigs. On this tour, however, James also incorporated an additional EQ unit: an ADA MQ-1 Programmable EQ.


ADA MQ-1 Programmable EQ

As opposed to the fixed EQ settings found on the EQFs, the ADA is midi programmable and allows for a different EQ setting per patch. This unit appears to be responsible for some of the tone shaping on both the album, Metallica (Black Album), as well as for the corresponding songs on tour.


James had 2 different clean sounds that were used on tour. The first was from a Mesa Boogie Studio Preamp that was routed into the Strategy 400.


Mesa Boogie Studio Preamp

The Studio Preamp (which looks like it may have been stolen from Kirk's Justice rig!) provided the tube character and Fender-ish chime. The second clean sound was from a 1980s Roland JC-120 2X12 Combo (Made in USA). This is the classic, solid state, pristine studio staple clean sound. James used the onboard chorus when this amp was used.


1980s Roland JC-120 2X12 Combo

For effects, James continued to use the ADA 2FX for a few things, notably some light delay/echo and possibly for chorus while using the cleans on the Studio Preamp. Though frequently cited as an afterthought, the 2FX had become one of Hetfield's longest tenured pieces of gear, making an appearance in his racks for close to 8 years by the time the tour was over!


ADA 2FX Digital Multi-Effects

By this time in 1991, new tech had started to appear and be incorporated into the rack. This was when James first added the new BOSS SE-50 Stereo Effects Proxessor into his rig.

BOSS SE-50 Stereo Effects Processor

The BOSS SE-50 was a high end, half rack size unit when it was released in 1990. It can be seen on top of the C+ head unit in the photos above. This unit would provide delay/echo for harmony and lead parts.


The switching in the rig utilized a Bradshaw RSB-12 Switching System (which James would retain all through the '90s) along with an original red front Rocktron Patchmate. Power came from a Juice Goose Rack Power 300.


Bradshaw/Rocktron RSB-12 Switching System

The Bradshaw system was revolutionary for the era and seen in seemingly every major touring rack at that time, but is considered archaic by modern standards. It was notoriously difficult to program and utilized active electronics in the signal path which sometimes left the end user with an unpleasant coloration of the tone that was difficult to dial out.


During this early era, the rack was sent to a couple of different cabs - Marshall 1960BV Vintage 4X12s with G12 Vintage (V30s) speakers and Mesa Boogie 4X12 Half-Back Metal Grill 4X12s with Mesa C90s on top and EVM-12Ls on the bottom.


Marshall & Mesa 4X12 Cabs

By the start of 1992, Hetfield had his full rack rig assembled that was seen on the majority of the tour. We've dubbed this the "Full Live Shit Rig," and it's broken into 2 large racks that we'll discuss individually.


Let's dive into the evolution of the setup and review Rig #2.


Rig #2: Full Live Shit Rig (Rack 1)

Rack 1 of Rig #2 incorporated many of the pieces from the Prototype - the Juice Extractor, MQ-1, Strategy 400, and the 2FX. Used in similar fashion to Rig #1, this rack had a pair of Nady 1200 Series Wireless units and was powered by a new Furman PL-Plus Power Conditioner. Hetfield, when speaking of his live tones during the Metallica (Black Album) tour, commented on how he would break the rules with his wireless for a hotter signal.


"When I play live through a Nady wireless, I boost the gain on the wireless beyond what it's supposed to be. It's not very smooth, but it gives an extra edge. It's not something you're supposed to do, but that - of course - is how you get unique sounds. But I don't think I'd use that trick in the studio." - James Hetfield

During this era, duplicate Mesa Mark IIC+ head units were incorporated into the rack as backups. This was likely viewed as a necessity after the studio '85 Mesa Mark IIC++ head went down while on tour - blowing a power transformer - and was in need of repair. It would receive a Mesa Mark IV era Export PT to get it up and running again, though James never seemed to notice any difference in tone after the repair. Although speculation, use of the Rocktron Juice Extractor may have prompted the damage to the head unit. As earlier noted, these units were prone to overheating and numerous stories of blown transformers have been told over the years from both malfunctions and techs hooking them up improperly.


These "new" C+ heads were placed in rackmount kits and appear to have been purchased secondhand by someone associated with the band, not directly from Mesa Boogie. There is no confirmation that either of these heads were ever used while on tour in 1992-1993.


On top of Rack 1 was the head unit that would take over as the primary amp while on tour.


1985 Mesa Mark IIC+Head Unit

This head unit, originally purchased by Hetfield at Mesa Boogie in 1985 alongside his "Crunchberries" amp and bearing new Metallica (Black Album) labels, took over for the original C++ that was used in the studio and originally on tour. Although settings were always subject to change from venue to venue, the typical amp settings used were close to the following:


Volume 1 - 9.5

Treble - 4.5 to 5.5 (Pulled)

Bass - 0 to 2

Mids - 0

Master 1 - 4 to 4.5 (Pulled)

Lead Drive - 4.5 to 5.5 (Pulled)

Lead Master - 2 to 2.5

Presence 2.5 to 3


The graphic EQs on the Mark amps were set in a peculiar "umbrella setting" that mimicked an open umbrella (750 all the way down, 240 and 2200 almost at the top, with 80 and 6600 set just a small amount lower than 240/2200).


It is important to note that these settings may not work in a typical Mesa Mark rig if you are looking to mimic Hetfield's live tone of the era. Keep in mind there are multiple layers of EQ contributing to the sound heard on the tour recordings: C+ amp settings, C+ graphic EQ, possibly the 3 band parametric EQ on the Rocktron Juice Extractor, and the Aphex/BB EQF-2 or ADA MQ-1 just to start. These are all being dialed in to balance the sound across 3 mics used in an isolation cab (detailed below), where additional EQ is then likely applied at the sound board or by the engineer mixing the live album/video.


If you try the basic settings seen above with only a head unit plugged into a cab, it may not achieve the specific sound you're trying to mimic from the tour. Those settings had a specific purpose and reflect only one small piece of how the tone was being achieved.


ADMIN NOTE: If you wish to replicate Hetfield's tone on tour using your own Mark amp, start by dialing your Mark rig in as close as you can with just the amp, then add in your additional EQ (like an EQF-2) by using only as much as needed. If you need to cut at 1.2k (for example), start with it off (0db) and slowly roll in the cut until you find the appropriate amount (and so forth with each frequency). You may find that your settings with your rig may need to differ dramatically from Hetfield to achieve a similar tone, and that is perfectly normal and to be expected. - Jack B


The second rack in the rig incorporated new elements that proved crucial to Hetfield's overall live tones.


Rig #2: Full Live Shit Rig (Rack 2)

As with the first rack, many of the pieces from the Prototype were incorporated into this rack: the Bradshaw and Rocktron switching systems, EQF-2s in a 4B-1 chassis, one of the Strategy 400s, and the Studio Preamp. This rack now featured a duplicate ADA MQ-1, and the BOSS SE-50 was now situated into the rack with a second unit, both placed into a BOSS RAD-50 rack tray. While a lot of similarity is there, there are a few important additions to discuss that are critical to the live tones of this era.


The first addition is an ADA MP-1 Preamp. This legendary preamp was widely used by many artists at the time, including Kirk Hammett that had used it on the Justice album and as his primary tone on tour.


ADA MP-1 Preamp

While not used for crunch tones on the tour, James used the MP-1 as a part of his primary lead sound and for melodies, particularly having it brought into the signal to have extra gain beyond that used in his rhythm tones.


One of the more fascinating new pieces of gear is a Morley Power Wah Boost that James had ripped apart and mounted into a 1U rack chassis.


1970s Morley Power Wah Boost

This Morley operates on an optical circuit and photoresistor instead of via a pot on the treadle like a traditional wah.


This pedal - now in a rack unit - was deemed Hetfield's "Morley sound" and used on his leads and melodies. The boost side can be dialed in for an increase in sustain (the tail end of Hetfield's live solo in "Nothing Else Matters" with long sustained notes comes to mind), while James had the treadle placed on a knob. This allowed him to dial in the specific frequency he wanted to set it at to to mimic one of his heroes - Michael Schenker - and accomplish a "cocked wah" type of sound. This type of wah was also used previously by Cliff Burton for a period and was the primary wah of Brian Tatler of Diamondhead, one of Hetfield's primary influences.


One other piece of gear that made its way into an earlier rendition of the rack was a BBE 422A Sonic Maximizer.


BBE 422A Sonic Maximizer

The BBE, which serves an audible role similar to an aural exciter or EQ, was originally brought into the studio during Metallica (Black Album). James seemed to be testing it in variations of his rig, taking it into his "live floor" rig while jam sessions were occurring, but had it disconnected by the time he transitioned into the control room for guitar tracking. It was not used on the album.


As the touring rig was built out, the BBE was added in early transition racks, but does not appear to have ever been used. It was eventually removed by the start of '92 when Rig #2 was complete. Although speculation, this is one piece of gear that may have been originally introduced by Bob Bradshaw, as the BBE 422A and/or BBE 411 seemed to be a staple in numerous racks of rock and metal bands that Bradshaw assembled during this era (e.g., Metallica, Megadeth, Queensryche, etc). In this instance, it appeared to never find favor with Hetfield and was was quickly removed.


The touring cabs for Hetfield also made their way into custom made isolation road cases which allowed for better control over the sound and consistency each night. Marshall 1960BV Vintage 4X12s with G12 Vintage (V30s) speakers were placed into the iso cabs and provided the sound for the tour. Each cab used 3 mics (Shure SM57 and Sennheiser MD421 were common in this era) to replicate the studio setup James used to mic cabs.


Hetfield’s ISO Cabs w/Marshall 1960BV 4X12s

With Hetfield's rig mapped out, let's take a look at what the likely signal path for his core sounds may have been. Some of this is conjecture on our part, and this isn't intended to be a comprehensive diagram. This is just a high-level look at the signal path - based on the information we have - to give a basic understanding of how the rig was being utilized and the role each piece of gear was playing.


Hetfield’s RSB-12F Controller w/Presets

Hetfield's RSB-12F controller (shown above, operated backstage by techs) was organized by individual songs and/or banks. Aside from a switch for the 12 string guitar, each song/bank had 3 primary patches/sounds programmed in that was available at once: CRUNCH, CLEAN, and MORLEY (LEAD). With this setup, each song had 1 dedicated clean, rhythm, and lead sound that could be used. Despite having a massive looking rig with 40+ rack spaces of gear spaced out in 2 large racks, Hetfield noted his setup was actually quite simple.


"I keep all of that stuff (rack gear and effects) down to a minimum. There's only 4 or 5 different settings." - James Hetfield

Depending on the song/patch bank, those 3 patches (CRUNCH, CLEAN, and MORLEY) would activate the individual pieces of gear being used for the corresponding sound. The row of buttons and LEDs above his core sounds are switches that correspond to each piece of gear in the rig. This serves 2 purposes: to have a visual indicator of what gear is active during a patch, and/or to allow a manual activation of a specific piece of gear if necessary. What role did each piece of gear play?


The EQF-2s have a fixed setting and provide 1 specific sound when in use. This is a carryover from prior rigs and these were dialed in for Hetfield's legacy crunch sounds. The ADA MQ-1 was likely dialed in for slightly more mids (possibly with slight EQ variations per patch accessible via midi for specific songs). It is presumed that this unit was used mostly for some songs from Metallica (Black Album).


The 2FX and SE-50s split duties for chorus and delay/echo. Each BOSS SE-50 was programmed for a single delay/echo sound (preset) and was brought in via the switcher as opposed to using multiple presets. This was common in large rack rigs during this era. In these types of setups, it was typical to set one unit for short delay and the other for a longer delay time.


What could a typical bank look like? The following is an example:


CLEAN 1: Roland JC-120 (chorus on)


CLEAN 2: Mesa Studio Preamp -> ADA 2FX (chorus/delay) -> Mesa Strategy 400


CRUNCH 1: Mesa Mark IIC+ Head Unit -> Rocktron Juice Extractor -> B&B/Aphex EQF-2 -> Mesa Strategy 400


CRUNCH 2: Mesa Mark IIC+ Head Unit -> Rocktron Juice Extractor -> ADA MQ-1 Programmable EQ -> Mesa Strategy 400


MORLEY (LEAD): Morley Power Wah Boost Rack -> ADA MP-1 Preamp (added w/C+) -> ADA MQ-1 Programmable EQ (optional) -> BOSS SE-50 Stereo Effects Processor (delay/echo) -> Mesa Strategy 400



James Hetfield - Guitars


During the tour for Metallica (Black Album), Hetfield started to use a wide variety of guitars. As opposed to an exhaustive list, we've chosen to highlight a some of the primary guitars seen for reference.


Hetfield’s ESP Explorer Guitars

By the 1991-1993 tour, James had a deep relationship establishing with ESP guitars. He continued to use EXP Explorer guitars with EMG 81/60 pickups, while one model retained a pair of EMG SA single coils in the neck and middle positions.


Hetfield’s Black & White Explorers w/EMGs

In addition to his ESPs, James continued to use some of his Gibson Explorers as well. Some are pictured here, while others can be seen in "Part 1" of our Live Shit articles.


ESP Explorers & Gibson Chet Atkins Model

One of the more infamous ESP Explorers James acquired during this time was his ESP Wolf Explorer, depicting a man transforming into a wolf through a series of inlays. While an aesthetically pleasing instrument, it had a relatively short lifespan of use during this era. James was blunt in his assessment of why it was retired from live use.


"It looks cool, but there are better sounding guitars" - James Hetfield, speaking about the ESP Wolf Explorer

The Gibson Chet Atkins Model was used only for "Unforgiven," though James viewed it as essential for that track.



Kirk Hammett - Guitar Rig


By the 1989 tour, Kirk’s live rig had went through a dramatic transformation from prior years and become much more sophisticated through the integration of midi equipped gear. That trend continued into the '90s as Hammett transitioned to a multiple amp setup for his core sounds. This allowed him to dial in a more diverse array of tones on tour and more flexibility in the sounds used in each song.


Much like James, Kirk's initial rig blueprint started with the essentials needed and then evolved into a larger system that was used for the majority of the tour. While numerous iterations of the rig happened over time with small changes, we've taken the same approach as with Hetfield's rig and are showing the initial concept and where it started (Rig #1: The "Prototype") and where it landed in its full configuration for the tour (Rig #2: Full Live Shit Rig).


Rig #1: The “Prototype” (Fall 1991)

The centerpiece of Kirk's rig was an ADA MP-1 Programmable Preamp. By 1989, the MP-1 had achieved near legendary status with rock and metal bands by providing a high gain, all-tube, hot rodded Marshall tone. This unit was used to give Kirk his primary crunch sound, continuing that trend from prior tours. By the time the tour concluded, Hammett had been using the MP-1 as his primary crunch tone on tour for 6+ years!


Much like Hetfield, Kirk also used a B&B/Aphex EQF-2 Parametric EQ mounted into an Aphex 4B-1 500 Series Chassis for dialing in some of his tones. In addition to the EQF-2s, Kirk also used an ADA MQ-1 Programmable EQ for some of his sounds.


One new addition for Kirk was a Custom Audio Electronics (CAE) 3+ Preamp. Despite being a 3 channel preamp, Kirk only used the CAE for his clean sounds on tour.


Custom Audio Electronics (CAE) 3+ Preamp

Similar to Hetfield, Kirk used a Juice Goose Rack Power 300 for powering the rig and a Bradshaw switching system (Bradshaw RSB-18) for control. A BOSS SE-50 Stereo Effects Processor was waiting to be integrated into the rack for chorus and delay/echo sounds, while a new Eventide processor was added.


Eventide H3000 SE Ultra-Harmonizer

The Eventide H3000 SE Ultra-Harmonizer was a high-end, studio grade effects processor in the early '90s that carried an extraordinary price tag - almost $2500 at the time, the equivalent of over $5500 in 2023! Despite its jaw dropping list price, Kirk ended up deferring to the more modestly priced BOSS SE-50 for his primary effects once it was fully incorporated into his rig.


An EMB Audio Rack Wah provided the wah sounds on tour, as it allowed Kirk to have multiple wah controllers scattered across the new, larger stage setup. Kirk would use this through the '90s, replacing it with the Dunlop model once it was available.


Powering the rack was a then new VHT 2150 Power Amp.


VHT 2150 Power Amp

The VHT was a newer offering at the time and seemed to be a favorite of Bob Bradshaw, who often paired it with the CAE power amp. It's no surprise that Kirk started with a VHT in his Bob Bradshaw built rig, given Bob's preference for it and his dislike of Hammett's mainstay Mesa Stategy 400 Power Amp. Kirk apparently disagreed, using the VHT for only a brief time before replacing it with his tried and true Mesa Stategy 400 (outlined later in this article).


Rig #1: The Mesa Mark IV and Marshall Cabs

Waiting to be incorporated into Kirk's rig was an early Mesa Mark IV (A) Head Unit. Previously seen in the control room during the recording of Metallica (Black Album), this head unit would become one of Kirk's primary lead tones on tour, used in conjunction with the ADA MP-1. The Mark IV (A) was ran into a Rocktron Juice Extractor and then fed into the power amp.


Kirk, much like James, used Marshall 1960BV Vintage 4X12s with G12 Vintage (V30s).


Hammett had long favored the Ibanez Tube Screamer for a lead boost, using the classic TS-9 for several years. However, during this era, Kirk was trying the new Ibanez TS10 Tube Screamer Classic.


Kirk’s Bradshaw Controller & Ibanez TS10

Hammett used the TS10 to boost the front end of the ADA MP-1 and Mesa Mark IV (A) for his leads. Here are the early TS10 settings earmarked by Kirk:


Drive - 10:00

Tone - 11:00

Level - Max


These settings would change as the tour commenced with Kirk added much more gain and a touch more brightness (detailed below).


By the start of 1992, Hammett had his full rack rig assembled that was seen on the majority of the tour. As with James, we've dubbed this the "Full Live Shit Rig," and it's broken into 2 large racks that we'll discuss individually.


Let's dive into the evolution of the setup and review Rig #2.


Rig #2: Full Live Shit Rig (Rack 1)

Rack 1 featured numerous elements carried over from the Prototype - the Juice Goose Power Conditioner, Eventide H3000 SE, ADA MP-1 and MQ-1, Rocktron Juice Extractor, EMB Audio Wah, Bradshaw RSB-18, and B&B/Aphex EQF-2s in a 4B-1 chassis.


The BOSS SE-50 Stereo Processor was now paired with a second unit in a BOSS RAD-50 rack tray and incorporated into the rack. These units became his primary source of chorus and delay/echo for the tour. As with James, an original red face Rocktron Patchmate was added for additional loops and switching.


By the start of '92, Kirk also had a handful of his favorite stompboxes built into a rack chassis for the tour. This black 1U rack chassis - seen below the CAE Preamp - housed 4 pedals for the tour: the Ibanez TS10 Tube Screamer Classic, MXR Dyna Comp, MXR Blue Box, and MXR Phase 90.


MXR Phase 90 (Left) & MXR Dyna Comp (Right)

The Phase 90 and Dyna Comp are classic MXR stompboxes dating back to the early '70s. Each has a distinct sound that's immediately recognizable. While Kirk's settings on these pedals likely varied at each show, typical settings seen for each are as follows:


Speed - 12:00 (Phase 90)


Output - Max (Dyna Comp)

Sensitivity - Max (Dyna Comp)


MXR Blue Box

The MXR Blue Box was introduced in the '70s and gives the user a somewhat aggressive sounding fuzz combined with a chaotic and unstable 2 octave down signal. Hammett incorporated this into his rack, though it's use was limited, mostly on occasional guitar solo spots. His love affair with the pedal continued into the Load sessions in the '90s, though it was eventually dropped after Kirk never found a practical use for it. His typical settings for the Blue Box on tour were as follows:


Output - 2:00

Blend - 12:00



The Ibanez TS10 Tube Screamer Classic from the Prototype was built into the rack and became Kirk's primary OD for a lead boost in the tour. Compared to his earlier settings, Hammett starting using much more gain on the pedal with a slightly sharper edge by the start of '92:


Drive - Max

Tone - 1:00

Level - Max


This was the only tour in which Kirk used the TS10 as his primary OD, swapping back to the classic Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer after the tour (and continues to use them to this day).


ADMIN NOTE: If you want to replicate Kirk's lead sound for the tour and are looking for a boost, the TS10 has surged in price in recent years. A terrific substitute is the Maxon OD808. While having "808" in its name, the Maxon is nearly identical to the TS10 circuit, a fraction of the price, and much more reliable. - Jack B


The second rack in Kirk's full rig saw the return of some classics along with a few new additions.


Rig #2: Full Live Shit Rig (Rack 2)

A Furman PL-Plus Power Conditioner supplied power to the rack, stationed at the top. As with James, the Nady 1200 Wireless systems were added with a pair of Mesa Strategy 400 Power Amps once again supplying power after the VHT was removed. These power amps would continue to be a mainstay in Kirk's live rack until the switch to digital preamps in recent years.


The Mesa Mark IV (A) had now been placed into a rackmount kit, still being used in conjunction with the Rocktron Juice Extractor. An additional ADA MP-1 and MQ-1 were duplicated in Rack 2.


This rack also marks the first appearance of a Mesa Triaxis Preamp. A single Triaxis was added to the rig and tested while on tour, but not actually used during the shows. It's extremely difficult to change a touring rack mid-tour, as it brings too much risk of things going awry. It was thought so highly of, however, that James and Kirk both incorporated them into their racks after the tour, with a pair of them becoming the centerpiece of Hetfield's live sound.


Kirk’s ISO Cabs w/Marshall 1960BV 4X12s

As with Hetfield, Kirk transitioned to using ISO cabs with Marshall 1960BV 4X12s with G12 Vintage (V30) speakers for his tones on tour.


Kirk’s Bradshaw RSB Controller

With Kirk's rig mapped out, let's take a look at some of the guitars used on tour. As with Hetfield, we'll display only a small sampling of the guitars used.


Kirk Hammett - Guitars


Kirk used a variety of guitars throughout the tour, frequently switching around and trying new things.


Kirk’s 1988 Gibson LP & Custom ESP

Kirk's 1988 Gibson LP Custom with EMG 81 pickups became a frequently used guitar, not only during this era, but also in subsequent years.


Kirk’s ESP “Skully” LP Style and V

The ‘92 - '93 tour was arguably Metallica in their finest hour and firing on all cylinders. They had grown into a touring behemoth and the Live Shit shows capture the band at their peak - playing ferociously and tightly as only a band that toured for nearly 3 consecutive years could.


If there are aspects of the '90s Live Shit shows not covered here that you’re curious about, please leave a comment or send a message. We can edit the article to include additional information if there is a demand for it. We will also update the article with any additional information found that is confirmed.


Also, please check out our other articles for a detailed analysis on other Metallica gear, album breakdowns, and more. Thanks for reading!

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