Paul Hebert

Slayer @ The Forum – 11/30/2019

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Coverage of the beginning of the Slayer Last Tour from May 2018 can be found here.

Just short of two years since the mighty Slayer announced their final tour, the thrash legends played their final show at The Forum in their hometown of Los Angeles on Saturday night November 30. The second night of a two-night celebration at The fabulous Forum had former Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo and his band The Illegals along with Ministry and Primus opening the show to a SOLD-OUT crowd. This night was highly anticipated in the heavy music world and there was no shortage of celebrities and musical peers in attendance. The VIP/Forum Club had the likes of Aquaman himself Jason Momoa, comedian Bill Burr, King Diamond was there, fellow thrash masters Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujello from Metallica were seen, Charlie Benante and Scott Ian from Anthrax were there, Bay Area thrashers Phil Demmel from Vio-Lence and Chuck Billy from Testament where seen and the list goes on and on – all to witness one last face-melting performance from Slayer.

Phil Anselmo & The Illegals kicked off the night with a performance consisting of ALL Pantera classics in tribute to the late Dimebag Darrell and his brother Vinnie Paul (RIP). The band started the onslaught with “Mouth for War” and played 8 Pantera songs to get the evening started in HEAVY fashion. Highlights were “Strenghth Beyond Strength” and “Goddam Electric” and then Jason Momoa and Scott Ian along with their kids helped sing the chorus on “This Love”. Anselmo sounded great and he also dedicated the set to Slayer and ended his time on stage with “A New Level”.

The God-Fathers of industrial metal, Ministry took the stage next and played a short but interesting set that focused on older material that started off with “The Missing” and “Deity”. Al Jourgensen kept the chatter to a minimum in between songs utilizing their time by letting the music do the talking. Uncle Al and the band sounded tight and focused but due to the band basically playing in the dark with little to no front lights, it was extremely difficult to see the band onstage and that seemed to make it hard for the crowd to fully embrace the set – you can’t connect with a performer if you can’t see them. The band ended their performance with the classic “Jesus Built My Hotrod” – a set of rarely played songs and surely one to remember for the old school fans.

Paul A. Hebert for

Two down and two to go, it was only Primus left before the mighty Slayer. Les Claypool and band played an 11 song set that showcased Claypool’s extraordinary and thumping bass skills. The band started with “Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers” and then “Too Many Puppies” before Claypool addressed the crowd and got a loud Slayer chant going in honor of the headliners. Like Ministry, Primus played a great set and sounded amazing but the lack of stage lights seemed to limit the crowd reaction to the band. Two of Primus’ biggest hits ended the set – “My Name is Mud” followed by “Jerry was a Race Car Driver” after which a curtain quickly went up in front of the stage while the Slayer setup was put in place.

Every seat was filled at The Forum at 9:20pm when the video screens showed interviews with random fans expressing their love for Slayer then the lights dimmed as “Delusions of Saviour” played and the large white crosses on the curtain rotated to be upside down then into the Slayer logo and the curtain dropped and the LAST Slayer show was underway. The band changed things up the last couple of shows and started the night with “South of Heaven” then into “Repentless” as the large general admission floor turned into one big mosh-pit. The die-hards on the floor knowing this was their last opportunity to get crazy live with Slayer used every ounce of energy in the pit throughout the night.

Slayer did this show the Slayer way – nothing was different regarding their performance, they just played as they have over the last 35+ years. Tom Araya looked and sounded fantastic, throwing some smiles in between lyrics as he thumped away on his bass. Vocally he sounded at the top of his game and surely the adrenaline was pumping knowing this was it. Exodus guitarist Gary Holt has been the perfect fit to step in for the late Jeff Hanneman (RIP) and he along with Kerry King are without a doubt one of if not the top guitar duos in thrash metal today. These two trade off solos and riffs like madmen with fingers moving at light-speed and the whammy bar creating some of the raddest riffage in metal. And on drums the amazing Paul Bostaph . . . with arms and legs in constant motion it is just amazing he can hold that pace night after night behind the kit.

Slayer has so many killer songs but they narrowed it down to 20 for this night and in addition to the obvious ones, they threw in “Stain of Mind”, “Payback” and “Born of Fire”. The amount of pyro onstage that Slayer is using is breathtaking as a wall of flames was on either side of Bostaph’s drum riser, flames were making an upside cross at times and large fire spouts blazed upward in front of the stage. All this just added to the intensity and brutality of the music.

Araya addressed the crowd a few times, thanking everyone for coming. He said “This is it, it’s all about happiness and joy”. He continued that the band was always about being happy, doing what they wanted and having a good time. The band went into “Raining Blood” which is undoubtedly the greatest thrash song ever written and recorded and then into “Mandatory Suicide” – at this moment all in attendance knew it was close to the end and sure enough “Angel of Death” was the perfect last song for Slayer to play live. When the music stopped the band hugged and huddled mid-stage, took some photos then just waved to the crowd. Bostaph exited first then Gary Holt, leaving the two founding members onstage. Kerry King un-clipped his large chains he wears on his belt, lifted them high and dropped them and immediately walked off stage. Tom Araya remained alone onstage for another few minutes waving and taking it in, clearly emotional and a tear in his eye. He went to the mic one last time and said “I’m gonna miss you guys and the most important thing is I want to thank you guys (the fans) for being a part of my life, goodnight and be safe” and Araya exited the stage. That was it . . . the end.

A historical moment in thrash metal watching Slayer play their last show on this night. The band made it to where they are with no radio air play, no main stream media coverage, they created a rabid fan-base that was hungry for loud, aggressive, offensive, controversial and heavy music. That is what makes Slayer so special – they NEVER strayed from the formula they created in the beginning, they remained heavy and stayed true to their roots throughout their career and ended at the top of their game. Thank you for all the memories and long live SLAYER !!!




Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals

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