Riverstage, Brisbane QLD
March 7th, 2019
Supports: Anthrax and Behemoth
With a back catalogue including twelve studio albums, pioneers of thrash metal – Slayer, announced they were calling it a day, not before spreading their hate worldwide, one final time. Kicking the Australian leg of the Final World Tour off in Brisbane last night, with fellow Big 4 Alumni – Anthrax, and Black Metal Giants, Behemoth.
The build up to this day was a barrage of emotions for myself, with many a sleepless night. I was ecstatic to be seeing Slayer again, yet saddened by the thought of it being one of the last times, ever. I flew from Sydney to Brisbane, joining the ranks of fellow metal heads in line for this final opportunity. The humidity was both suffocating and saturating, though I knew it was nothing in comparison to the conflagration of sound I was about to witness from this show.
Gates opened around 5pm, with a brisk walk up the hill to the turnstiles, I was checked by security, and then made a run for the barrier, where I was determined to stay until the very end. With a steady flow of foot traffic entering the venue, the crowd gradually grew. I’d not visited this outdoor venue before, but was really surprised at how well it was set out and the enormity of the crowd by the end of the night.
Polish extreme metal giants – Behemoth, brought their theatrical darkness to the stage, with their backdrop of the Unholy Trinity and Trivmviratvs sigils. Their make-up, masks, blood and headdresses only added to their intensity, which the crowd fed off. Opening with ‘Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel’ and closing with ‘Lucifer’, with an array of fan favourites in between, including five tracks from their latest album, I Loved You At Your Darkest, that left the crowd baying for “one more song”.
While people took advantage of the half an hour between sets to grab some refreshments, I stood firm in my chosen place at the barrier.
By the time New York’s finest – Anthrax, would hit the stage, a hefty number of punters occupied the mosh pit, spilling up on to the hill of the park. The intro to Pantera’s ‘Cowboys from Hell’ saw Scott Ian (The Great Baldini), John Donais, Frank Bello and Charlie Banante hit the stage, in tribute to fallen brothers Vinnie and Dime. Front man Joey Belladonna graced us with his infectious stage presence upon the familiar opening riff to ‘Caught In a Mosh’, which saw the crowd explode into a fever pitch of high octane moshing and thrashing. A cross section of well loved tunes including covers ‘Got the Time’ and “Antisocial’, flowed between a mix of fan favourites ‘I Am the Law’, ‘Be All, End All’ and current staple ‘Evil Twin’, as the intensity built among the receptive crowd. ‘Indians’ was an apt ending to the set, electrifying the crowd into a throng of madness. Drummer Banante brought the song to an abrupt halt expressing his disappointment at the lack of movement from some sections of the crowd. With a bit of coaxing from himself and Scott Ian, the sea of fans were galvanised into the greatest “war dance” Australia has ever witnessed.
Curtains were drawn; anticipation grew, as fans pushed their way closer to the stage in hopes of getting closer to California’s Godfathers of thrash. Time seemed to stand still; my heart was pounding as I knew there was no preparing for what I was about to endure. I’ve been in many a Slayer pit, but this would potentially be my last one, unless of course I survive to make it to Sydney’s Download Festival this Saturday. I was overwhelmed with a sense of dred, as much as I wanted Slayer to get the fuck on stage now; equally I wanted them to hold off, so this night didn’t have to come to an end. What do you do when your favourite band hangs up their boots? Where do you go from here? This was as sad a time for the fans, as it was for the band.
With the intro ‘Delusions of Saviour’ from Repentless, one curtain was dropped, exposing a light show of rotating crosses and pentagrams. Fans cheering and calling out for their beloved Slayer, the band that has moulded so many of us, into the crazed metal heads that we are today. The final curtain dropped, as ‘Repentless’ began to play. Tom Araya, Kerry King, Paul Bostaph and Gary Holt positioned on stage, for their great thrash assault. Within seconds, fans came crashing over the barrier.
Slayer not leaving anyone behind, played hits from all of their albums (Diabolus in Musica being the exception). These guys may be retiring, but it’s definitely not due to a lack of talent. Tom is looking healthier than ever and his voice was fanfuckingtastic. Kerry and Gary, pulling off their respective solos faultlessly, blowing our minds with their twin guitar assault. Bostaph not missing a beat. You could be forgiven for forgetting momentarily this would be Slayer’s final tour, as every single person in the park tonight, celebrated with them and for them. Mid-way through their set, we were hit with an amazing breeze and the threat of rain. As Hell Awaits began, so too did the rain, albeit just a very light sprinkle. I decided I should move from the barrier and take a walk around the park, so I could soak in the atmosphere from every angle possible. The light show was as spectacular as the show of faces for Slayer. They deserve every accolade and fan they have, and with a career as extensive as theirs, it’s obvious they aren’t leaving quietly. The rain came down a little heavier during ‘South of Heaven’, and a fitting down pour during ‘Raining Blood’, as the crowd went absolutely ape shit. Standing at the top of the hill, looking down at the moving crowd is something I won’t soon forget.
The backdrop changed to the green “Hanneman /Heineken logo”, with the words “Angel of Death – Still Reigning”, as the show came to an end with a fitting ‘Angel of Death’. An absolutely perfect moment and ending to their almost 40 year long career. Tom, stood silently on the side of the stage as if to take the moment in. Without the need for instruction, the crowd went silent, as Tom uttered his final statement “Thank you, I will miss you. Thank you”, before leaving the stage, hand in hand with his beloved wife, Sandra. We’ll miss you too Tom, Slayer will forever reign.
Delusions of Saviour (Instrumetal)
When The Stillness Comes
Seasons In The Abyss
Born Of Fire
Dead Skin Mask
South Of Heaven
Angel Of Death
Gig Review by Trudy Johnson @BrutalTrudes
This week we said Goodbye to Slayer, revisit our farewell piece here
Slayer – Final Australian Tour 2019
March 7th @ Riverstage, Bris
March 9th @ Download Festival, Sydney
March 11th @ Download Festival, Melb
March 13th @ Adelaide Entertainment Centre