Slayer’s final world tour kicked off at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, CA. The 2nd night (Friday, May 11) of the tour took place at the Five Point Amphitheater in Irvine, CA. Lamb Of God (L.O.G.), Anthrax, Behemoth, and Testament are on the first leg of Slayer’s North American tour. The show started with Testament at 5 p.m. and Slayer ended at 11 p.m. There was light rain on and off throughout the show, but that didn’t stop any crowd surfing or moshing. Testament has been around 35 years and still includes 3/5 of their classic lineup which are guitarists Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson, and frontman Chuck Billy. Bassist Steve DiGiorgio who has had 2 tenures with the band replacing original bassist Greg Christian in 1998 and again in 2014. On drums is one of the top metal drummers of the last 3 decades, Gene Hoglan who first joined in 1996 and once again in 2011 and also is a member of Dethklok. Although Testament’s set was just 30 minutes, it was the perfect way to start off what would be a historic evening.
Following Testament was Polish extreme metal band Behemoth. Just like Slayer and Anthrax had an important role in creating Thrash Metal in the U.S., Behemoth helped launch extreme metal in Poland. With their white face paint and snake microphone stands, Behemoth is the most unique looking band on the tour and are the only one that has a front man that is also one of the guitarists. In their 27 years, Behemoth has become one of the biggest metal bands in the U.S. today to have originated overseas.
Next up was one of the bands that make up the Big 4, and one that thrash metal couldn’t exist without. It was none other than Anthrax whom like Slayer has influenced numerous metal bands in their 37 years. Anthrax still has 4/5 of their classic lineup which are founding member Scott Ian (Rhythm Guitar), Vocalist Joey Belladonna who rejoined the band in 2005 after a 23-year leave and returned again 2010 for the Big 4 shows and has stayed a member since. On drums is Charlie Benante, whose blast-beat and double bass playing has been an essential part of metal drumming, and bassist Frank Bello known for his playing without a pick. As always Ian, Bello, and Belladonna ran around the stage and played their thrash metal classics like “Madhouse,” “I Am The Law,” “Caught In A Mosh,” and Anti- Social.
At this point in the show, there was just one band left before the thrash metal titans Slayer took the stage. It was none other than Richmond, VA’s own Lamb Of God made up of the Adler brothers (Willie and Chris), vocalist Randy Blythe, bassist John Campbell, and lead guitarist Mark Morton. Since 1994 Lamb of God has become a world renown band, playing major metal festivals worldwide, and was nominated for 5 Grammys as well as being a 5-time Metal Hammer Golden God winning band. L.O.G.’s set included “Laid To Rest,” “Redneck,” “Still Echoes,” and “Walk With Me in Hell.” While performing “Walk With Me in Hell,” Blythe had stopped the show due to an injured fan in the pit and resumed once they were safe. Lamb of God played a total of 50 minutes and the following night had their own headlining show at the Fox Theater in Pomona, CA.
Slayer began 37 years ago in Huntington Park, CA and was founded by Tom Araya (Bass/Lead Vocals), Kerry King (Guitar), Jeff Hanneman (Guitar), and Dave Lombardo (Drums). The current lineup is Araya, King, Exodus guitarist Gary Holt who became a touring member in 2011 when Hanneman could no longer play live shows and became a permanent member after Hanneman’s passing in 2013. Drummer Paul Bostaph first joined Slayer in 1992 after Lombardo left the band, and rejoined again in 1997, and most recently in 2013. Slayer’s final album “Repentless,” released in 2015 was the first and only Slayer album with Holt and was the first Slayer release with Bostaph since 2001’s “God Hates Us All.” Slayer’s 90-minute set started with “Repentless,” and included thrash metal essentials “War Ensemble,” “Jihad,” “South Of Heaven, ““Raining Blood,” “Chemical Warfare,” and ended the show with “Angel of Death.” Even after 4 bands, heavy L.A. traffic, and light rain, nothing could stop this Slayer crowd from going crazy seeing these legends. You would never know all the members of Slayer are over 50 with the intensity they still play with. With this being Slayer’s final world tour, be sure to catch them this summer. The last North American date will be Aug. 26 in San Jose, CA before the band heads to Ireland, UK, and Europe throughout the rest of 2018.