"Slayer!" "Slayer!" "Slayer!" — was all anyone could hear within a five-mile radius of the new FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, California, which was hosting the second date of Slayer's final world tour. It was the first sold-out concert at the new venue (which replaced the now-demolished Irvine Meadows) with 12,000 metal-heads gathering to pay homage to the mighty Slayer. Revolver joined in to celebrate the iconic American thrash-metal band as they kicked off their final run of shows. And although it was raining in sunny Southern California — Slayer did not disappoint.
The show opened with performances by Testament, Behemoth, Anthrax and Lamb of God. Fans swarmed non-stop throughout the night, except when Randy Blythe stopped the show when he noticed a fan go down in the mosh pit. "Man down ... or woman down," Blythe said. "You've all got long hair so it's hard to tell." Once paramedics removed the injured fan, Lamb of God finished up their set with "Still Echos," "Laid to Rest" and crowd-pleasing "Redneck."
With the audience roaring for the show's headliner, Slayer came out on-fire (Not literally, although the stage was spewing fire in all directions). King, decked in chains, marched out thrashing his skull and leading the band into the title track from the bands' twelfth studio album Repentless. The album was also the band's first LP with the late Jeff Hanneman's replacement, Exodus guitarist Gary Holt. Before the first song was finished, at least a dozen sweat-and-rain-soaked moshers had crowd-surfed over the security railing and into the photo pit. It was beautiful chaos. The next two songs were the seldom-played "Blood Red" and newer song "Disciple."
Slayer's setlist was career-spanning and well rounded, offering the raw energy of "Dittohead" and "Payback" balanced with classic Slayer hits including "Seasons in the Abyss" and "Dead Skin Mask." Fans were completely stoked, as Tom Araya, Kerry King, Gary Holt and Paul Bostaph relentlessly delivered the goods. And although signs at the entrance of FivePoint Amphitheatre clearly stated NO MOSHING, Slayer fans were in a complete frenzy — a sea of metalheads, swirling in front of the stage and getting drenched by the down-pouring rain.
"Sorry about the weather," apologized Araya. "I tried talking to God. He wouldn't listen today." The band ripped through 19 songs in total, culminating with fan favorites "South of Heaven," Raining Blood," "Chemical Warfare," before closing the show with "Angel of Death." It was a heavy night of skull-rattling rhythms by the legendary metal titans. Hopefully, we'll see Slayer again from time to time. But for now, it's goodbye and horns up! Thank you, Slayer!