Slayer @ FivePoint Amphitheatre – 05/11/2018
PREFACE By Chris Loomis: Having been a Slayer fan for 33 years and having their music be a part of every aspect of my life during that time, I wanted to share a few thoughts prior to the Slayer review from their show in Irvine.
I first heard Slayer in late 1985, I borrowed a cassette tape from a friend and after school one day popped the tape into my boom box and as the intro to the song “Hell Awaits” built up I was totally blown away by the haunting, driving guitar riff that led into Tom Araya’s breakneck vocals. From that moment on I was a diehard Slayer fan.
Then came Reign in Blood a year later in 1986 and again after hearing that was totally blown away and at the time didn’t realize I was listening to the undisputed BEST thrash album ever recorded. The song “Raining Blood” is without a doubt the greatest thrash metal song in existence and has remained in my daily/weekly playlist for 32 years. Not only are their album titles and lyrics controversial but so was the imagery of the band’s album covers and merchandise – this made it all the more desirable for a rebellious teenager to like the band – they were the total package.
I was a little late in seeing Slayer for the first time – it wasn’t until 1991 during the Clash of the Titans tour with Megadeth, Anthrax and the up and coming Alice in Chains (Lake Compounce – Bristol, CT). It was an overcast cloudy evening and Slayer played second after Alice in Chains and seeing them live brought a whole new meaning to being a Slayer fan. It was the most intense, angry, pummeling performance I had seen to date. My girlfriend (and now my wife) was with me and it was her first metal show and I think she was in shock seeing the crazed fans and huge mosh pits (she was not and still is not a metal fan – but she knows all the Slayer songs from hearing them blasted in the house over the years).
The first Valentines Day after I was married, Slayer was playing at a small venue in New Britian, CT – The Sting. I was able to sweet-talk my lovely bride into agreeing to me going to the show with a good friend and being able to make up Valentines Day to her. My friend and I waited outside the Sting in line to get in for what must have been 3 hrs in 20 degree weather with no coat . . . totally frozen we finally got in and got agood spot to see Slayer – well worth it.
One of my finest memories of seeing Slayer live was at Toad’s Place in New Haven, CT back in 2002 right after Dave Lombardo re-joined the band. Hatebreed was opening the show and I recall waiting in line to get in with a few hundred other rowdy Slayer fans – it’s just fun yelling SLAYER as loud as you can with a bunch of other fans of the band! After Hatebreed destroyed Toad’s, Slayer took the stage. Now back then (and maybe they still do it) there was a 12 ft high chain-link fence that split the venue into two sides – one for 21+ and the other side for 21 and under. The fence went right down the middle of the floor up to the stage. Now I had seen other crazy shows at Toad’s but this was the first time I had ever seen people climbing over the fence to the other side , jumping off the fence into the crowd and then the fence ultimately was taken down by the rowdy fans. Tom Araya laughing stopped the show and let the security carry out the fence so nobody got hurt then the band started up again. A crazy experience for sure!
Slayer ALWAYS delivered on their next album . . . you knew you would get a fast paced brutal slab of music – no love songs, no radio friendly hits, no out in left field experimentation – Slayer had a formulas and stuck to it. In my opinion they never made a bad album that I couldn’t listen to from start to finish.
Although at some point we all knew Slayer would end, but when it was announced that in 2018 they would embark on their final World Tour it was a bit of a somber moment knowing I would only get to see them live once more. Even though the band is calling it quits their music will live on forever and will remain a constant in my playlist as there has never been another band like Slayer and doubtful anyone will ever come close. Long live SLAYER !
Slayer @ FivePoint Amphitheatre – 05/11/2018
One of the most anticipated tours of 2018 stopped in Irvine Friday night May 11 at the brand new FivePoint Amphitheatre as Slayer playing the second night of their FINAL WORLD TOUR kicked off the concert season in Irvine to a SOLD OUT crowd of 12,000 rowdy metal-heads. Along for the ride on the first leg of the tour are Bay Area thrash-masters Testament, Polish blackened death metal pioneers Behemoth, New York’s thrash kings Anthrax and Virginia’s own Lamb of God in direct support. What a lineup – five of the top extreme metal bands in existence on the same stage all in one night . . . this rivals ANY of the top music festivals out there right now for the BEST extreme lineup from start to finish!
With this being Slayer’s last tour it was of no surprise they would put together such a brutal package as all of these bands have a history with Slayer in one way or another and any of these bands could hold any slot on the bill but Testament was up first at the early hour of 5:00pm.
It was obvious fans were still trickling into the venue at this time but that did not stop Testament from delivering an Over the Wall set that had the early birds getting the circle pit going early as Chuck Billy and the boys blasted into “Brotherhood of the Snake” followed by “Rise Up”. Guitarists Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson deliver some of the most intense galloping riffs in thrash metal music as Skolnick would take center stage during his scorching solos all while the rhythm section of Gene Hoglan on drums and Steve Di Giorgio on bass set the pounding tempo of each song.
Billy got the crowd going as the band began “Into the Pit” which saw the moshing and crowd surfing increase and the set quickly ended with the classic “Over the Wall”. You knew it was going to be an EPIC night if you start with Testament . . . a GREAT way to get this party started.
Brotherhood of the Snake | Rise Up | Practice What You Preach | The Pale King | Into the Pit | The New Order | Over the Wall
Testament Photo Gallery:
Not only was the music getting a bit darker and more extreme as Behemoth took the stage but the weather also followed suit as the clouds thickened setting a doomy background for the pummeling that was to come. Nergal along with bass player Orion, Inferno on drums and Seth on guitars took the stage and blasted into “Ov Fire and The Void” delivering an extremely intense six song set.
Nergal in his corpse paint and black hooded robe looked as ominous as he sounded with the highlight of the set coming at the end with “Chant for Eschaton 2000” then the set closer “O Father O Satan O Sun”. The band donned their horned black faceless masks that made you wonder if Satan himself was leading the charge on stage.
One of the most extreme, powerful bands out there today. First Testament, then Behemoth how could the night get any better . . . well keep reading.
Ov Fire and the Void | Demigod | Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer | Wolves ov Siberia | Chant for Eschaton 2000 | O Father O Satan O Sun!
Behemoth Photo Gallery:
Having put out two of their best albums over the last 7 years, it is no surprise this band is at the top of their game in 2018. By the time Anthrax hit the stage at 7:00pm the venue was much more tightly packed with fans and a heavier misty rain began to fall. The band as well as the fans wasted no time getting down to business as the set opened with “Caught in a Mosh” which the fans did exactly that as a giant circle pit spawned and the crowd surfing picked up.
Guitarist Scott Ian took to the microphone and riled up the crowd asking if Irvine liked thrash metal . . . a cover of Trust’s “Antisocial” with it’s stomping gang vocals led into the closer “Indians” that gave the rowdy crowd one last war-dance with Anthrax before the band left the stage.
Caught in a Mosh | Madhouse | I Am the Law | Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.) | Evil Twin | Antisocial (Trust cover) | Indians
Anthrax Photo Gallery:
Lamb of God
The speaking intro to “Omerta” blasted out of the PA as the crowd yelled out along with it then the band appeared onstage and complete chaos ensued for the next 60 minutes as Randy Blythe led the band through some of their most ferocious songs . . . there couldn’t be a better act to take the stage before Slayer than Lamb of God.
Blythe addressed the crowd honoring Slayer with some kind words and Blythe also had to stop the show mid-way through “Walk with me in Hell” as there was a serious injury in the massive pit in front of the stage that Blythe was able to identify and he encouraged everyone to look out for each other and to clear a path for paramedics to attend to the injured fan then resumed the brutality to end the song it’s proper way.
Anchored by drummer Chris Adler, Lamb of God proved they are maybe next inline to have the craziest, most insane shows once Slayer hangs it up for good. The band ended with a one-two punch of “Laid to Rest” and “Redneck”.
Lamb of God Setlist:
Omerta | Ruin | 512 | Engage the Fear Machine | Walk With Me in Hell | Still Echoes | Laid to Rest | Redneck
Lamb of God Photo Gallery:
Wow – over fours hour into the show and all already have witnessed Testament, Behemoth, Anthrax and Lamb of God, it was only minutes away from Slayer hitting the stage for the last time in Orange County. The anticipation was at an all-time high and Fivepoint Amphitheater was now jammed packed with 12,000 metal-heads ready to experience a Slayer show for the last time.
The band hit the stage at just about 9:30pm and to no surprise opened with “Repentless” then right into the rarely played “Blood Red”. Slayer kept with the same formula they have used for years on this last tour . . . no gimmicks or elaborate stage props, just the band, a few large metal Slayer logos that would light up with fire occasionally as well as fire shooting across the back of the stage.
The most noticeable thing different onstage was the absence of Tom Araya’s large bushy white beard as he obviously shaved it leaving his trademark patch of hair on his chin. Looking lean and mean Araya sounded spot on with his voice as strong as ever and he was definitely having fun as there were LOTS of smiles throughout the night.
To Tom’s left, same as the previous thirty something years was guitarist Kerry King who looked as serious and focused as ever as he provided his iconic Slayer riffs and whammy bar tricks and to Tom’s right was Gary Holt who is just a beast of a guitar player himself also giving his whammy bar a workout. Just as Kerry and Jeff Hanneman (RIP) once ruled the thrash world as the premiere guitar duo, Kerry and Gary now own that title.
Although we could not see him behind his large drum kit, he definitely could be heard . . . Paul Bostaph anchored the band with his pummeling drum kicks and break neck fills for 19 songs. The setlist was well rounded with lesser played tracks like “Dittohead” and “Payback” with the highlight of the set being “Hell Awaits” into “South of Heaven” into “Raining Blood” – an epic trifecta of SLAYER that certainly put a smile on your face.
The circle pits were huge and brutal and never let up as the fans wanted to get in every last minute they could as the show was winding down. Then it came . . . the last song . . . “Angel of Death” with Araya’s haunting scream to start the song. This was it, the last Slayer song and it was a memorable one then it ended as quickly as it started. Araya took to the mic one last time amidst loud SLAYER, SLAYER chants . . . Araya simply stated “Thank you everybody”. “I want to thank you very much for your support . . . thank you very much. Goodnight and goodbye.”
Repentless | Blood Red | Disciple | Mandatory Suicide | Hate Worldwide | War Ensemble | Jihad | When the Stillness Comes | Postmortem | Black Magic | Payback | Seasons in the Abyss | Dittohead | Dead Skin Mask | Hell Awaits | South of Heaven | Raining Blood | Chemical Warfare | Angel of Death
Slayer Photo Gallery: