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James Hetfield performs with his band Metallica during the Bridge School Benefit Concert Saturday, October 27, 2007, at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif. (Ron Lewis/San Mateo County Times)

Metallica, the biggest metal act to ever come out of the Bay Area, will celebrate its 30th anniversary by performing four intimate hometown shows.

The quartet, which formed in 1981 and went on to sell more than 50 million records in the U.S. alone, will perform Dec. 5, 7, 9 and 10 at San Francisco's 1,200-capacity Fillmore.

But not everybody is invited. Tickets are only being offered to members of the Metallica Club, which is the band's official fan club.

And, boy, is the band making these shows affordable for members. Four-ticket packs, which consist of one ticket for each of the shows, are just $19.81 -- a price point that honors the year the band formed. Single-show tickets are $6.

Ticket reservations are being taken through Aug. 8. Fan club members should visit www.metallica.com for more details. That's also the site where newcomers can join the fan club, at a cost of $45-$55.

These 30th anniversary shows will also feature special guest stars, varied set lists (consisting of some rare songs) and various surprises, according to the band's website.

Read Jim Harrington's Concert Blog at http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/category/concerts. Follow him at http://twitter.com/jimthecritic.