Something special happens when Metallica play their most famous song in the third spot in their setlist.

Normally reserved for the finale, "Enter Sandman" received a new lease on life a few months ago when Metallica moved it up much earlier in their live shows. Now, instead of coming right after the slower "Nothing Else Matters" and closing the night out, Metallica have been typically performing "Enter Sandman" between "Creeping Death" and "Ride the Lightning." When you sandwich a song between those two thrashers, it gets taken to a whole new level.

And if you don't believe us, just check out their recent rendition of the "Black Album" track at their show at PNC Park in Pittsburgh in the video below.

Watch Metallica Perform "Enter Sandman" Live in Pittsburgh

With the Pittsburgh show in the books, Metallica have now performed "Enter Sandman" a total of 1,386 times, first pulling it out on Aug. 1, 1991, in Petaluma, Calif., at the Phoenix Theatre. At that show, they actually opened the night with it and also debuted "Sad But True" a little later in the set.

Get our free mobile app

In Mick Wall's biography on Metallica, Enter NightLars Ulrich reflected on "Enter Sandman":

That song has been on the fucking song titles list for the last six years. I'd always looked at "Enter Sandman" and thought, 'What the fuck does that mean?' Me being brought up in Denmark and not knowing about a lot of this shit, I didn't get it. Then James [Hetfield] clued me in. Apparently the Sandman is like this children's villain—who comes and rubs and in your eyes if you don't go to sleep at night.

If you haven't downloaded Metallica's gig in Pittsburgh yet, you can grab details on the show—as well as check out pro-shot footage of their performance of "Moth Into Flame"—here.

The 10 Highest-Charting Metallica Songs on the Hot 100

Some of Our Favorite Live Photos of James Hetfield

Covering nearly 20 years of performances, the below photos display why James Hetfield is one of the best frontmen in rock and roll.

Each shot shows his raw energy, intensity and overall fun spirit at Metallica's live shows. If a photo is worth a thousand words, we know these shots are worth thousands of Hetfield's growls.

More From 97.1 KXRX