I traveled 2,709 miles to come raise a little hell in the City of Angels and celebrate the legacy of a band whose name you’ve heard screamed in every parking lot and concert venue: SLAYER!!!
The thrash metal titans have decided to close their almost 40 year career with this Final Campaign that ended in their hometown of Los Angeles at The Forum. It was an amazing collective of fans from all corners of the globe with the expected star-studded LA touch. Everything from Aquaman himself Jason Momoa jumping onstage with his kids, to jamming This Love with Phil Anselmo, to Post Malone/Kirk Hammett sightings.
After a touching goodbye video of Slayer diehards and several thousand SLAYER chants later the lights went down, the crosses were flipped and Slayer ripped into “South of Heaven” for one last time.
I made a point to live in that moment during the set. Took a few pics to encapsulate the moment but if this was my last time doing this, I wanted to spend it thrashing and bashing with my fellow Slayer fans, blow out my vocal chords to every song, and headbang my way to the very end.
Then the end finally came. The last chord of “Angel of Death” rang and it was over. The band took their time leaving the stage as the crowd went absolutely crazy for them. They hugged one another and brought the entire road crew out for one last family photo.
It took another 10 minutes of applause and cheers for Kerry King to look at the crowd, undo his iconic chain belt, drop it on the stage and exit, leaving the crowd stunned. Only Tom Araya stayed until the bitter end with one final message. His parting words were emotional, saying, “Time is precious. Thank you sharing your time with us… and being such a part of my life”. He then wished everyone got home safe, slowly walked off stage, and it was over.
One line keeps ringing in my mind after this show. At one point, Tom Araya addressed the crowd and said “Music is a bond that can’t be broken”. If this indeed is the end of Slayer, the takeaway should be that no matter what the music lives on. No matter what musical flavor you gravitate to it’s amazing to think how timeless music can be. I’ll get on this plane back home witnessing the “end” of this band that means so much to me and many out there, but this really isn’t the end. The music lives on. Slayer lives on. Long may they reign!