I'm not writing about the first time I heard this song because I know my best bud in High School introduced me to this band. Sadly, that memory is lost to the ether.
I have a much better memory of this song, and it starts with four teenage boys in an old Volvo in the High School parking lot getting ready to go to some other concert (I remember it was not Metallica, but the name of the band which we were going to see is, again, lost in the ether).
It could be that one of the other two guys was hearing this song for the first time -- then again, maybe it was me hearing it for the first time. High school was a long time ago, so I'm letting that detail go.
This was some kind of a "pre-concert listening party", but it was just "Whiplash" I remember being played. I know I was in the rear passenger side seat, but who I was with . . well, you know. The first guitar chord rings out and the sound of floor toms pounding begins. At the moment the whole band joins in, amping up the pace and rhythm, the car begins to shake with the volume of the music and, much like one of the famous scenes in "Wayne's World", four shaggy headed teens start "thrashing all around".
Four minutes (or so) later, if we were older, we all would've collapsed in a heap from exhaustion. Being teenage boys, though, we're even more wired and ready to go than before.
Some 20+ years later, my foot still twitches to the strum of the guitar chord and the banging of the floor tom and, by the time the band joins in, some part of me starts "thrashing all around". What a wonderful, four-minute flash back to a less complicated time!
As far as the live version below, it is one of the rare times former bassist Jason Newsted takes the lead on the vocals. I can't tell if he's excited by the opportunity, a little afraid of being front and center (he's sung with James on stage before, so it's not a case of "oh crap I cannot sing please don't make me") OR a bit ticked that James has stomped off stage in mid-concert looking for a beer.
Maybe it's a little bit of all of it. From what I hear, Jason should be back with the band tomorrow night at the induction ceremony and, for putting in a good chunk of his life and energy into the band, it will be an honor well deserved for him, at least.