Thursday, May 16, 2002 @ 3:54 PM
Slayer Thrashes Southern CA At
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There are two rules that every band must remember:
1.Never play before Slayer on a concert bill.
2.Never play after Slayer on a concert bill.
Slayer is one of those bands that REALLY should be playing the "An Evening With..." shows that Rush has become synonymous with. I have seen bands try to open or play before Slayer and heard the constant chorus of "Slayer! Slayer! Slayer!" with objects being thrown and seas of middle fingers from impatient crowds who've come to see their favorite band. (Skrape comes to mind when they played on the "Extreme Steel Tour" with Pantera, Slayer, Static-X and Morbid Angel.) I have also seen other bands look absolutely lifeless after trying to play after Slayer. (The Deftones at the Ozzfest '99.)
Slayer proved these rules to be absolute and unbreakable over two nights at the Grove Theater of Anaheim on May 1st and 2nd.
The first show was a make up date from February 12th. After the passing of Tom Araya's father earlier this year, the band cancelled several shows and rescheduled. Due to conflicts with the venue's schedule, the band was forced to reschedule twice.
I'm not going to comment on the performances of opening acts Diecast or Hatebreed because, let's face it, nobody was there to see them. (Find someone that cares about those bands that was there to tell you how it was. This is a Slayer article.)
The first night, Slayer came on looking ready to tear the place apart, opening with “Disciple.” This is home to the members of the band, and it seemed like they had something to prove. The sound in the venue was superb and, as with all Slayer shows, was over the top in sheer volume. The recent return of Dave Lombardo seems to have invigorated the newer material. This is not meant to detract from Paul Bostaph's playing (now playing with Systematic), but Dave has always been the best choice for Slayer's drummer. Despite the band's well-publicized problems with Dave, his drumming makes the band's sound flow much smoother. Tom took a moment to thank everyone for being patient with the delays for the show and thanked everyone for their letters and wishes of support.
"Is everyone ready for ‘War Ensemble’?!" Band and audience fed off of each other in a frenzy throughout the 90 minute performance which included tunes from all of their albums and had mosh pits off and running in four of the five tiers of the Grove's audience area. Most of the audience left satiated. Those that were still hungry for Slayer were returning the following night.
Something seemed wrong with the vibe about the second show and this was confirmed about 40 minutes into the band's set. Much of the set list was the same as the night before with some minor differences. (“Spirit in Black” was played in place of “Captor of Sin” and also included “At Dawn They Sleep.”)
Mid-set, something caught the eye of Tom Araya, who tried to notify security to do something about what was going on. Whatever it was that was going on, it was enough to cause Tom to take off his bass and leave the stage and go into the audience with Slayer's road crew in tow to handle things himself while the rest of the band continued to play. After a few minutes, Tom returned to the stage and apologized for leaving mid-song and began screaming at security. Tirade over, the band resumed the performance, but the next two songs suffered as a result of events of the night. “At Dawn They Sleep” was brought out and was dedicated to the blood sucking parasites that were causing the problems with the night's show. (Anyone that was down front can post what happened in the comments below.) The set resumed without incident, with the exception of several t-shirts being thrown to the stage by members of the audience and Dave losing a drumstick during one song.
Slayer continues to be one band that always puts on a phenomenal show. The question, "How was the show?" is negated when talking about a Slayer performance. There is simply no way to compare a Slayer performance to any other band's performance. The tour is continuing throughout the summer. Catch the band while you can at a venue near you.