The Big Four all come onstage to help the headliners out

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Metallica closed the first day of Sonisphere (July 8) on the Apollo Stage, and were joined by the rest of the The Big FourAnthrax, Megadeth and Slayer – as well as Diamond Head during their encore.

They played a fifteen song set at the Knebworth gig as well as a three track encore featuring a Diamond Head cover which saw the band joined onstage by the special guests.

James Hetfield asked the audience, “Is there another band playing or something? What’s all this extra gear? It’s ‘The Big Four Band’, does that sound like a good idea? Celebrating 30 years of Metallica, we invite Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth and hopefully someone from Diamond Head to put the cherry on top.”

“You see that guy, if it wasn’t for Brian Tatler, there’s a pretty good chance none of us would be here tonight,” Lars Ulrich added while pointing at the Diamond Head guitarist, before the ensemble launched into a version of ‘Am I Evil?’.

Earlier in the show, the band played mainly early songs as well as ‘The Memory Remains’ and ‘All Nightmare Long’. Hetfield asked the crowd, “Sonisphere, are you with us? Because we’re here. The Metallica family are here for you.”

Rolo Tomassi, Cerebal Ballzy and Young Legionnaire all played on other stages during the first day of the Knebworth rock bash. Biffy Clyro and Weezer are set to play on the Apollo Stage tomorrow.

Sunday will see Slipknot close the event, with a two minutes silence for the late Paul Gray.

Metallica played:

‘Hit The Lights’
‘Master Of Puppets’
‘The Shortest Straw’
‘Seek & Destroy’
‘Welcome Home (Sanitarium)’
‘Ride The Lightning’
‘The Memory Remains’
‘All Nightmare Long’
‘Sad But True’
‘The Call Of Ktulu’
‘One’
‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’
‘Blackened’
‘Fade To Black’
‘Enter Sandman’
‘Am I Evil?’
‘Battery’
‘Creeping Death’

NME.COM is coming live from the T In The Park and Sonisphere this weekend. Stay tuned to NME.COM/festivals/t-in-the-park and NME.COM/festivals/sonisphere for news, blogs, photo galleries and video interviews from both sites.