The members of Pantera had no idea at the time, but when the Cowboys From Hell tore through an 11-song set at Beast Feast in Yokohama, Japan, on August 26th, 2001, they were playing their last show ever. The Texas metal powerhouse was in the midst of their Extreme Steel in support of their latest album Reinventing the Steel, and has pulled out all the stops when it came to stage production and particularly pyro. Behind the scenes, though, the band was falling apart. In particular, Pantera's founding sibling duo, guitarist Dimebag Darrell and drummer Vinnie Paul, was become increasingly estranged from singer Phil Anselmo since he developed a crippling heroin addiction that led to him overdosing backstage after a 1996 hometown show in Dallas. Those tensions had lessened during the sessions for Reinventing the Steel, which saw Anselmo relatively clean and focused, but flared up again once the band hit the road.
"The tour seemed to go on forever," Pantera bass player Rex Brown recalled in his memoir, Official Truth, 101 Proof, as Rolling Stone pointed out. "The financial offers were great, but because we felt like we were in a marriage that was going south, that just didn't matter anymore. Something had to give sooner rather than later."
Pantera always tried to leave all the personal drama offstage, however, and such was the case at Beast Feast. The group performed with gusto and fury, bringing out Slayer's Kerry King for "Fucking Hostile" and Biohazard's Evan Seinfeld for "Walk." They also whipped out Far Beyond Driven highlight "5 Minutes Alone," a performance immortalized in the video above.
The band planned to continue the tour — they flew to Europe in mid-September, but then on the 11th, before they could play a single show there, the World Trade Center was attacked. The tour was canceled, Pantera never regrouped and, sadly, with the deaths of both Darrell and Paul, any hopes of a reunion can be forgotten.