Saturday, December 6, 2003 @ 11:44 PM
Slayer Live at the Moore Theat
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REVIEW BY: Malcolm Todd
The Jagermeister Tour headlined by Slayer with opening acts, Arch Enemy and
Hatebreed came to remind Seattle what metal is all about on a Tuesday night in November. The setting was a perfect example of typical Northwest weather, balmy and chilly and a hint of rain in the glow of the Seattle city lights.
First of all: it was quite unfortunate that I missed the first band, Arch Enemy, due to an extended cocktail hour on my own accord of course, which I consider regretful as I really wanted to see Arch Enemy live. I did, however, show up just in time to see Hatebreed play the last songs of their set. And thinking back, I’m actually glad I didn’t have to sit through Hatebreed’s set. I remember distinctly Jamie Jasta of Hatebreed announcing they were on their last song like 3 times as I recall, but I couldn’t tell, all their songs sort of run together as far as I’m concerned… lack of originality and talent will do that to a band… I was just glad their set was coming to an end. Maybe next time on the Arch Enemy show?
Enter the headlining act: Slayer, a true original by any standard. The lights go out the smoke is thick and from the crypts of hell the fearsome foursome explode from the hellish depths with the song: “Disciple”… the anthem of God Hates Us All is what epitomizes Slayer’s conviction to their craft… not only do they scream these lines to a ravenous crowd of moshing freaks, they mean it! God Hates Us All, and he’d have to by now. If there is a hell… Slayer will be the elevator music on your way there… guaranteed.
“War Ensemble” was the follow up, and why not? Not only is that a classic Slayer tune, but a must at every show. Churning to a song that highlights the horrors of war is not something many bands can do with much success. Tom Araya’s unique ability to charm a crowd with a smile and belt out such songs is always a bit of irony for me. Perhaps a glimpse of what Satan might look like if he were real?
After that was complete a shock to my system when they ripped out a song from an album they left out of their newly released box set, Soundtrack To The Apocalypse. From the album Hell Awaits, the song, “At Dawn They Sleep.”
Not only did they play this song perfectly, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Dave Lombardo do that cool drum break at the end of the song LIVE! It was flawless!
I have to add that it was great to see the look of the dumbfounded young faces of the under-aged crowd, as I don’t think any of them knew there was a Slayer CD before Reign In Blood. But they were mightily impressed upon the delivery of At Dawn They Sleep. These kids could have also been suffering from that seizure-laden light show that Slayer put on. I couldn’t help but look around to see if there were any epileptics in the crowd, because with that light show, they would most certainly be exposed. But just the same that was quite the spectacle. The lights, the smoke and the whole experience that is a live Slayer show. Tom and the boys looked like the cover of
Haunting the Chapel with the back casting lights that gave them quite the eerie presence.
It was just great to see Dave Lombardo pound out that nearly twenty-year-old song to a bunch of kids that weren’t even alive when it was written and recorded. Even older the next song, “Chemical Warfare” from Haunting The Chapel, a song that in its lyrical content is so horrifying you dare not memorize the words so that it doesn’t keep you up at night pondering such a global fate.
Slayer played all their classics, “Dead Skin Mask,” “South of Heaven,” and their newest soon-to-be-classic, “Bloodline.” And the big surprise for me they actually played something from Show No Mercy, which by the way was also mysteriously left off their new box set, the song was “Fight ‘til Death.” “Die By The Sword” would have been a great song to bring back to the list, but hey, it was still cool to see them do a few songs I have never seen them do live in concert. As I have seen them play a lot of times in the past. Trust me when I say I’ve seen Slayer in all phases of their career from the first time I saw them live in 1984 ‘til now.I had never heard them play “Fight ‘til Death” or “At Dawn They Sleep” live. I’m going to speculate here and say that perhaps since Dave Lombardo’s return that he quite possibly recommended these songs as he probably remembers them most since his departure in 1992.
What was missing? “Seasons In The Abyss”... This is definitely a song that Slayer owes a lot of their early career too in the hit making sense. Honestly though, I always enjoyed the opening chords of that song and for some reason Slayer did not. So on a personal note I was glad they didn’t play it so I didn’t have to hear them butcher the beginning. Great songs should be played in their entirety.
For an encore Slayer pinned their ears back and played the entire Reign In Blood album, their swan song album, from start to finish. From “Angel of
Death,” to “Jesus Saves” on into “Raining Blood” and all the songs in between, they played everything but the kitchen sink! At one point I had to pinch myself when I heard them play the song “Jesus Saves” from Reign In Blood.
Exit the band: as they closed with “Raining Blood” they handed their gear to their road crew and graciously came back to the stage and handed out all their left over guitar picks, drum sticks and handshakes. Jeff Hanneman allowed the front row crowd to stroke his homage to Ace Frehley stage Boots. Tom said a few things into the mic and Dave Lombardo waved and saluted the crowd. Kerry King made sure that his tattoos got the proper respect from the mosh crowd. For a band that’s been together for 20 years they sure looked like they were a lot younger in their enthusiasm.
Say what you want about Slayer, but they are good to their fans in the respect department. Slayer is a band that will saw your head off and scoop out your brains with a rusty fork for two straight hours and you’ll beg for more! If you see only one show this year… GO SEE SLAYER!