On August 26, I attended the final date of the second leg of Slayer’s farewell tour at the SAP Center in San Jose, CA and it was an insane show.
Grindcore legends Napalm Death kicked off the night with a sick set. The group played about 12 tracks, a third of which were off their album “Scum,” including their one second hit “You Suffer.” The highlight of the group’s set was their cover of Dead Kennedys’ “Nazi Punks Fuck Off,” which was preceded by a cool speech from frontman Barney Greenway who called for “equality for all human beings without exception.”
After Napalm Death, it was time for the Bay Area’s own Testament. The band burst onto the stage with the title track to their latest album “Brotherhood Of The Snake” before transitioning into “Rise Up” off “Dark Roots Of Earth.” After that, they pretty much stuck to the classics, much to the crowd’s approval. Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson’s guitar work was amazing as always and Chuck Billy’s voice sounded more powerful than ever. The highlights from their set included: “”Into The Pit,” “Over The Wall,” and “Practice What You Preach.”
After a short intermission, Iron Maiden’s “The Number Of The Beast” could be heard blasting throughout the arena and as soon as the music faded, Anthrax took the stage and started rocking the intro to Pantera’s “Cowboys From Hell,” before launching into “Caught In A Mosh.” The band were one of the most energetic acts of the night and they had the crowd going crazy. Joey Belladonna’s vocals were on point the whole set and the musicianship between Scott Ian, Charlie Benante, Frank Bello, and Jonathan Donais was impeccable. Their performance mainly consisted of their hits with “Evil Twin” off their latest album “For All Kings” mixed in. Highlights from their set included: “Madhouse,” their hit cover of “Antisocial,” and their closer “Indians,” which was completed by the “Cowboys From Hell” outro.
After Anthrax, it was time for Lamb Of God to tear things up. The group’s set began with “Omerta” before they broke into “Ruin.” Frontman Randy Blythe put on a great performance with high jumps and harsh vocals. It’s also worth noting that guest drummer Art Cruz (Winds Of Plague, Prong) did a tremendous job filling in for Chris Adler, who was unable to make the tour. As usual, John Campbell, Willie Adler, and Mark Morton, were on top of their game as well. Highlights from the band’s set included: “512,” “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For,” “Laid To Rest” and the closing track “Redneck.”
After Lamb Of God, it was time for the headliners of the evening, the almighty Slayer. The band’s set began with crosses projected on the curtain, and they soon turned upside down before turning to pentagrams and eventually to Slayer’s logo. Then the band just exploded onto the stage with a shredding performance of the title track to their latest album “Repentless.” It was a bittersweet moment, because as awesome as it was, everyone knew this may be the last time they will get to see the group, since they are out on their final world tour. However, the good thing was the fact that things were just beginning at that moment. After the band finished the track, they started ripping their way through classics such as “Blood Red,” “Disciple,” and “Mandatory Suicide.” Kerry King cranked out riffs like a machine, as Gary Holt (Exodus) complemented him with intense solos. That guitar work combined with Tom Araya’s banshee like screams and Paul Bostaph’s thunderous drum work created a solid unit that would be hard to outmatch. The stage production was incredible as well, especially all the fire. The band really wanted to put on a show and they definitely succeeded. It’s hard to choose a highlight, but watching them play the last three songs,”Raining Blood,” “Chemical Warfare,” and “Angel Of Death,” was so epic it’s hard to put into words. When all was said and done, Araya returned to the stage to thank everyone for the years of support, and with that it was time to say goodbye to the legendary band. Their final tour will extend throughout 2019, so if you have a chance to catch them, it will be worth your while.