With the last few shows for SLAYER being a wrap, and as the band grinds into the first days of retirement, I thought I would post a show review from earlier this year when they played Dallas that originally posted at TheGauntlet.com along with pictures from the show. In thinking about the last shows and seeing the pictures and posts from the show in Los Angeles, I found myself feeling a little nostalgic and frankly, a little strange that SLAYER would not be doing SLAYER anymore.
You have to admit, that feels kind of strange, huh? I revisited my review and felt like it still applies, so I thought I would share it here for y’all, ICYMI:
FROM THE GAUNTLET (MAY 2019) Let me preface: It’s not that I think the TOUR is bullshit, or the last leg was crap. I think it’s been awesome, TBH. And the leg I was lucky to get to work, had a killer line up: CANNIBAL CORPSE, AMON AMARTH, & LAMB OF GOD. And of course it goes without saying that SLAYER headlined the night, but just in case some of you missed their name in the title, heading, sub-heading or the pictures…
What I think is bullshit, is that this is their final tour. I mean, really?? SLAYER is iconic, legendary, they are the forefathers of freakin’ thrash metal, for the love of Kerri King!! Just because the band is probably tired of touring every year or so, packing and unpacking, scheduling family and friend events, or just missing out on “normal” life for the last 40 years or so, doesn’t mean that the band should stop touring, RIGHT? I mean, come ON! I know that the band has a life and probably wants to live some more of it but I mean they are SLAYER, doesn’t that mean something?
It should because there is only one SLAYER. There isn’t another band that could remotely step into the shoes of what SLAYER is to the world of Metal. This band’s absence will have a huge effect onMetal’s mark in the space-time continuium. And don’t rockers take some godam oath when they start playing or make this promise that they’d play until the mortal end?? I’m pretty sure there’s something in the tiny print about that when you join a band. (This is not referring to any “deal” or “pact” made with any entity, dark or light, mind you…the agreement I’m referring to here is the most important one – the one you make with yourself.) I mean, sheesh! Look at DIO for fuck’s sake! He’s still touring from beyond the physical realm! You can’t be SLAYER and quit. It’s not possible. Totally not possible. (Kidding, of course! Although I still think it’s bullshit.)
There are a gazillion reasons why this Final Tour is poop – but I’m going to give you my Top 3 Reasons so it will be short and sweet, y’all good with that? Sweet! Let’s do this!
1. Only old people retire. The members look like they’re in their 30 – 40’s not carrying AARP cars. Kerry King looks fabulous, as does Gary and Tom for the love of god! I couldn’t see Paul enough to make an accurate assessment, but I assume that if he’s able to play like he did then he’s probably just fine. If someone can literally pound the hell out of drums for over an hour and they’re over 40, they are well above average. Let’s be frank – it is hard for anyone over 40 to do anything physical for over an hour at a low to moderate pace. Just think about playing the beats of SLAYER’S music…just thinking about going 90 to nothing for one song is making me really tired already!
2. Retirees do things like by RVs and travel around the country. Since they’re already used to traveling like this, they should just keep at it. I mean, why break something that’s already fixed, right?
3. Contrary to popular belief, there are still new SLAYER fans to scoop up. There are those people that might wear vintage SLAYER tour shirts and haven’t ever seen the band or know any of their songs not to mention their place in rock history. And there are others that know of the band, but haven’t really been into their music and have never seen them in action. Finally there are are those that as in on this leg of the tour, just now are witnessing SLAYER for the first time and I’m betting they’re totally pissed that after seeing this show, that’s it, all she wrote, done, over.
That’s it. I’m pissed. So to hell with the short Top 3 reasons the Final Tour is Bullshit. Get comfortable because I’m not finished yet – y’all ready?
“Wait – say what?? Cherri why are you mad?”, I can hear some of y’all ask. Well Pretties, it is Story Time so sit down, crisscross apple sauce, and let me tell you one; a story that is. Ok, I don’t say “Once Upon A Time” at the beginning of my stories because this is no fairy tale story, it’s real, it’s my experience and usually, they really just happened, like within days of your eyes reading this page. So, I am not setting you up for some non-fictional based horse shit, blown out of proportion story.
I literally just saw SLAYER on Leg 5, just a few days ago. SLAYER is not just a rock band or a metal band. They’re not just a “band” – SLAYER is almost an entire emotion or a mood maybe. SLAYER epitomizes the metal scene and as a forefather of the genre “Thrash” you can’t just refer to them as a band. It’s too simple really, a band is something that just plays music and sometimes it becomes a group of people that use some common thread that binds them together in order to create music. This describes the lucky ones that experience success, in any way, ya dig?
Without going into the band’s history, this is what SLAYER is, for sure. They are a group of guys that share a common thread, ya-di-yadi-ya. But it goes much deeper than just 4 guys that make noise with instruments. SLAYER is a movement or a lifestyle that has grown with the band since their inception. SLAYER is aggression, power, girth, emotional, and release. SLAYER is brutally honest with the message and is also the ember that feeds the flame when added to a fire. Tempos that are shake and move you like a piece of chicken in a bag of shake n bake! SLAYER is politically charged by position, not by party or person. SLAYER is capable of bringing the torment out and replacing that feeling or other emotion, with something else that continues to dig inside fans. This often happens just by simply listening to a SLAYER record. And well, if you’ve been to a live show, you know that this also occurs at a concert as well, and within the first second that the lights go down, the house music lowers, there is a feeling like no other. Am I right?
In those few measures here’s what happened: just those first several minutes of SLAYER made me a FFL (FanForLife).
As we waited for the kabuki (that big ass sheet or cloth that covers the stage) to drop, the anticipation build up was freakin’ INSANE, so much that as I waited to enter the pit, I felt like my nerves were going to spill out all over the floor and I would just stand there like a lump when it was time to go in and miss the whole thing. But thankfully that didn’t happen as the last of the kabuki was shoved into the linen cart and in a mad rush wheeled out.
The photo escort’s arm spun in a circle, flagging us in and through the smoke swirling around as if we’re on a battlefield, I could see that she was yelling “GO! GO! GO!!” just by the movements of her mouth. Her voice just didn’t make it over the chunks of drums and other loud noises blaring from the racks of speakers flying on either side of the stage. The noise I’m referring to was either the band getting ready to play or them playing as they came on stage, or some recorded tracks – I don’t remember, but it was shooting out like cannon fire from the subs at the head of the stage and all of the photographers rushed in like soldiers about to hold a line and secured our place. As the crowd’s cheers, screams, and whoo’s collided with the first few measures of music that sped towards the army of screams and moshed around in the air above, I raised my camera to my eye…
Y’all, pause it right here for a minute. I am in the pit at SLAYER. About to shoot this band that I’ve heard of my whole life, who are rock/metal gods, and I’m about to photograph their last tour. Shut. Up. Seriously. Do you see how this would be f’ing amazing? I know! Ok, let’s continue…push play. Push it. Push…the one that looks like a triangle…
…I raised my camera to my eye. The whole scene was surreal and it was at that moment, my camera to my open eyes, so as not to miss a thing, I realized exactly where I was, what I was doing and while the search lights are swarming over the crowd, as if to looking for something, and the entire pavilion is wildly screaming as if to distract the lights from finding it; my finger presses down on the shutter as Tom Araya struck the bass like Thor’s hammer to the earth – it was ON!
All I could do was press down the the shutter while I literally screamed for about 20 seconds of that first minute in the pit. My head swiveling back and forth with my camera, praying I was imprinting some decent pictures of SLAYER’S Kerry King and Gary Holt, Tom Araya, and even the drummer, Paul Bostaph who was behind this massive kit that shielded him kind of from this pulsating energy that really began with him or at least he kept the melee going with his beats. I’ve never shot a machine gun before, but I can tell you I could feel the clicks in the body of the camera going off like one of those rat-a-tat-tat guns in the World War documentaries or old war movies. Instead of firing, I was really sucking up the memories at a rapid pace, my lens vacuuming up the imprints that create memories and this force field of energy all around me felt super-charged and so powerful! #trust
Let me cut to the chase and tell you this about SLAYER’S show: They. Were. Phenomenal. Hands down, truly a pro-production show, supremely mixed sound, precisely primed lighting that didn’t hide the band or take away from their performance. SLAYER’S members were g-damn brilliant and almost orchestral in areas. No joke, seriously it was somewhat surprising to me how perfect they performed with precision and still managed to give the audience what they wanted!
Three songs felt like the time it takes for a sneeze to come out and somewhat skipping/jogging out of the pit, sweating and immeasurably happy, I realized that I’d just shot the iconic band SLAYER for the first time and the last. And while that should have created some melancholy within me, it didn’t really. I was just glad that I got to check off “photograph legend/iconic band” from my Bucket List. Out of the floor area, I stood at the side and watched the rest of the show and caught my breath. I thought to myself, “It’s been a pretty good day…”.
Oh, BTW – I really don’t say “The End” either when Story Time is over. It’s never over…really. Stories just continue in the form of another chapter, part of the story, or a different book all together. “The End” is for chickens. There’s always more that has to materialize into something else. Are y’all pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down? There’s always more…