Lady Gaga is the only pop star today who could strut onstage wearing knee-high leather boots to head bang alongside thrash metal pioneers Metallica, and have it feel natural.
It wasn't without its technical difficulties, but the group fought through admirably. James Hetfield's microphone was off for the first verse of their song "Moth Into Flame," causing Gaga and Hetfield to improvise sharing Gaga's mic. It added even more fiery, reckless energy to the performance, which peaked with Gaga stage diving for a quick crowd surf.
Gaga has long been a rock star and her latest record Joanne captures the pop star's clearest embrace of the genre to date. It skews far more country and Americana than metal, but Gaga clearly has a tremendous amount of respect for the genre.
"Some people really don’t know the importance of metal and the scope of it," she once said of Iron Maiden, a British heavy metal outfit. "Those guys were filling stadiums, and they still are. And it’s because of the culture of the music, the poetry that’s so powerful."
Metallica is also coming off a successful run with their latest record, Hardwired to Self-Destruct, an album described as a "return to gut-punching form" by the Ringer. To hear fans tell it, Gaga's addition only brought more fire to the group's legendary metal.
Watch the full performance via Billboard here.