Metallica has just rolled out a pair of fan club-only shows in celebration of the band's 40th anniversary. The two concerts — with completely different setlists — will take place on December 17th and 19th at San Francisco's Chase Center. In addition to the Metallica gigs, San Francisco will host a four-date Metallica anniversary celebration "with comedy shows, live music events, and Blackened Whiskey tastings also planned, starting Thursday, December 16th."

The band posted on its official Metallica.com website:

As hard as it is to believe, the band will be turning the big 4-0 this October. It’s a wild thing to wrap our heads around… it feels like just yesterday that we were hitting the stage playing our first show at Radio City in Anaheim, California, in the spring of 1982.

OK, fair enough maybe that wasn’t just yesterday; so many things have happened since Lars and James got together in the fall of ’81… almost 2,000 live shows across seven continents, mind-blowing successes and crazy off-road adventures. It’s been a nutty ride and even though most of the time it feels like we’re just getting started, we’re excited to celebrate the past four decades with you.  

According to Rolling Stone, "Tickets for the concerts will only be available to worldwide fans in the band’s Fifth Member fan club, who will enter to win a reservation code that will guarantee them the opportunity to purchase tickets for either one of or both shows; travel packages that include both tickets and hotel accommodations will also be available at www.metallicatravel.com."

Drummer Lars Ulrich told us a while back that rehearsing for shows is different these days for Metallica: ["At our age, it's not really rehearse as in like, 'how does 'Enter Sandman' go? It's more just kind of, y'know, loosening up and kind of getting the battered bodies somewhat up to speed. It's a little bit like sort of, y'know, kickstarting like a car that's been sitting out in the snow for a while. Y'know, you need to let it run and idle for a few minutes before you drive it."] SOUNDCUE (:18 OC: . . . you drive it)

Metallica’s Lars Ulrich On Warming Up For Shows :