As national anthem renditions go, the one performed last weekend in San Francisco by heavy metal band Metallica was decent at best. And that's coming from a guy who likes Metallica's brand of music.
Consider me disappointed.
As a former sports writer and fan of most anything in which they keep score, I've seen (either in person or on TV) enough games to make my head spin. That said, I've also seen quite a few pitiful national anthem performances.
Two stand out: one was at an NHL all-star game in Tampa where some boy band (sorry, I don't remember the name) got booed off the ice. The other was in Nashville back in the 1990s before one of Alabama's bowl games against Virginia Tech. It was Alaska-style cold that night, and the bowl officials had hired guitar great Larry Carlton to play the anthem on the field. It was so cold he could barely move his fingers. I felt bad for him.
There's no need to get into the lip synch-vs.-the real thing argument here. Suffice it to say that the best ones are those that stay as close as possible to the original score.
The Internet is full of different critics' lists of the best (and the best and the best) and worst renditions. They're worth a look.
-- Phillip Tutor