Tampa, Florida (May 10, 2019) – Slayer, the band that defined a genre and built a huge vociferous fanbase decided to retire much to the sadness of their fans. With this announcement, they also let everyone know that there would be one final world tour. With each leg of this tour they would take out different bands to support them along the way. Tonight’s fearsome lineup at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater in Tampa Fl. would include Cannibal Corpse, Amon Amarth, and Lamb of God.
At six pm sharp Tampa’s very own Cannibal Corpse took the stage. With this being a hometown show, the fans were showing up early to make sure that they didn’t miss a minute of the local guys on the big stage. With lead singer George Fisher’s powerful growl and the buzz saw guitar work of Rob Barrett and Erik Rutan they were a perfect choice to get this night under way.
Next up was the Swedish Viking metal powerhouse Amon Amarth. With A huge backdrop of a viking and a huge viking ship splitting the stage in half, everyone there knew that this was going to a fun set. When lead singer Johan Hegg took to the stage the place cheered and you could tell he loved it by the smile on his face. Playing a ten song set consisting of songs like “The Pursuit Of Vikings”, “Deceiver of the Gods”, “Raise Your Horns”, “Twilight of the Thunder God”, and “Guardians of Asgaard”, Johan Hegg would run up onto the Viking ship to perform and implore the audience to cheer him on and sing with him.
Now it was time for one of the titans of metal to entertain the packed amphitheater, Lamb of God. Formed in 1994 in Richmond Virginia, these stalwarts have released 8 studio albums, received Grammy nominations for their songs, and have toured with some of the biggest names in music. The band kicked off their set with “Omerta”, and what a way to the show. Singer Randy Blythe was at his best. Stalking the stage while belting out the lyrics like only he can, with all eyes were on him. Midway through the number he did the first of several of his trademark high flying jumps. Guitarists Mark Morten, and Willie Adler churned out monster riff after riff. During their performance of “Engage The Fear Machine” Blythe waved off his bandmates and stopped the show as he spotted a fan that had been injured in a mosh pit. With his urging, the crowd backed off to allow first responders in to help out the fallen fan. As everyone waited patiently for the show to resume, Randy Blythe thanked the fans for their patience and said that we always help those that have fallen at our show. After the fan was helped out of the venue, they finished off their set with “Laid To Rest” and an amazing version of “Redneck”.
Now it was time for the biggest titan of metal, Slayer, to take the stage. As their loyal fans chanted their name while waiting for the band to take the stage, the pent up energy in the place felt like a powder keg with a short fuse. To fully understand how fierce their fans are, no other band has inspired generations to bond over simply saying their name SSSSSLLLLAAAAYYYYEEEERRRRRR. As the moments came closer the Slayer logo lit up the top of the venue, and upside down crosses were displayed on the curtains. When the curtain dropped The band dove right into the title track of their 2015 release Repentless. With pyro going full tilt behind the band and the relentless sonic assault you knew they were in the business of delivering their music with like a war hammer; and tonight, business was good. As they ripped through their set with Buzzsaw like precision, everyone in the house from older fans wearing t-shirts from shows long since past to kids wearing shirts they just got at Hot Topic were floored by what they were witnessing. With the untimely death of founding member Jeff Hanneman, the honor to take over for was given to Gary Holt the guitarist from Exodus. Without a doubt Jeff Hanneman is looking down from above and nodding his approval at this choice. The rapid fire guitar work both Holt and Kerry King delivered was simply awe inspiring. Taking turns with solos on all the songs, mere mortal guitar players would break their wrists trying to keep up with those two. At one point during the show Lead singer Tom Araya asked the audience if they knew what payback was, he then shouted at everyone “payback is a bitch!!”, then they launched into that song. Throughout the night Slayer played tracks from virtually all their albums. Of course, the twenty song setlist had to include “South Of Heaven”, “Dead Skin Mask”, and one their biggest songs “Seasons in the Abyss”. Throughout all of this Tom Araya’s voice was clear as a bell and sounded as intimidating as he ever has. From the snarl in his voice when he delivered the lyrics, to the screams he let out, simply put, everything he did was amazing. For a band that has been around since 1981, they are still very much at the top of their game. As the set ended and the band left the stage, Tom Araya stayed. First, he walked to one side and stared and smiled out into the audience seemingly making eye contact with everyone. Then he went to the other side and did the same thing, and finally he went to center stage and repeated this again. After he was done, he went to his microphone and simply said “Thank you. I am going to miss this and all of you” then walked off the stage. If this really is their final go around, then that was the perfect way to end the evening.
While this is sadly Slayers final tour, it certainly is a tour de force. Unlike other bands that continue to tour when they are clearly past their prime, Slayer is leaving on their terms and giving fans a vivid memory of the power that they continue to yield. Even their openers all play a part in this tour, as every single band that has been out with them all owe their existence to Slayer who trail-blazed this genre. If this tour doesn’t stop by you, travel to the closest date so you too can be part of this last final tour.