When a band manages to last for multiple decades and stay together into old age it's not much of a surprise for them to slow things down a bit. When you're in your 50's/60's you can't really do the whole rigorous touring that many bands are forced to do in their early years when they are getting the most amount of attention. Such is the case now for Metallica who according to front man James Hetfield has slowed their tour schedule down to only 50 shows a year.
In a recent interview with Blabbermouth, Hetfield (joined bylead guitarist Kirk Hammett) explain why they have chosen to do this, saying:
“My body has told me to tell these guys that 50 shows a year is kind of what we can do, so make the best of those. And I think we all kind of agree in that.
But 50 shows a year, that’s pretty good. My body can handle that. Body, mind and spirit all need to kind of revitalize themselves at home and days off for voices — things like that — so 50 shows a year, it goes pretty quick, I’m sure. I tell people, ‘We’re only doing 50 a year,’ and they’re saying, ‘Oh my God! That’s a lot.’ And it’s, like, it’s not. It’s not, really, compared to what we used to do.”
"Yeah, I mean, we would tour for 10 out of 12 months in the past. We had crazy tours where we would tour, like, 12, 15, 16 weeks in a row, doing five shows a week…”
Hetfield finished the statement, saying:
“And we came home and we were divorced, girlfriends were gone and we were addicted to a few substances and we were fighting.”
Depending on how you want to look at it, 50 shows can be plenty if you can space them out across the globe enough. That is an average of about a show a week, though I can't imagine that is the way they would do things. Good on them however for recognizing that the road isn't a place they can live on forever. The older you get the more toll being out on tour takes on you. At this point in their career they definitely have earned the reprieve.