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Slayer live in Arizona

By CrpnDeth, Staff Photographer/Writer
Sunday, July 23, 2006 @ 12:45 AM


Something Wicked This Way Come

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I personally had been waiting since the beginning of the year (actually longer, but …) for this show when word started spreading about Slayer’s tour getting finalized. Fuck yea! And not to mention the bill – its like a mini-Gigantour: Thine Eyes Bleed, Mastodon, Children of Bodom, and Lamb of God. Mesa is going to explode tonight.

The one thing I didn’t count on was all the stupid drivers on the Arizona freeways. Why do I always assume people in their cars, on the freeway, know how to drive? That’s my downfall.

So as I race in the Mesa Amphitheatre, the familiar chords of Children of Bodom are blasting through the venue. Already gone are Thine Eyes Bleed and Mastodon. Sorry to say, as pissed off as I was, I was cool with missing both bands. Most of the reviews I’ve seen haven’t been kind to Thine Eyes Bleed, and having seen Mastodon at last year’s Ozzfest, they really didn’t leave a lasting impression. Then again, what do you expect when a bill this big begins at 4:30 in the afternoon (Mesa has a 10 pm sound ordinance)?

I’ve caught Children of Bodom about 3 times in the last 6 to 9 months. Each and every time I see them, they just seem to get better and better. And finally, the word seems to be spreading. It was great seeing three quarters of the 4,500 capacity venue screaming along. A huge pit was fueled by each song played. Whenever Alexi Laiho wanted the crowd to yell, they happily obliged in volume. The deafening thunder by drummer Jaska Raatikainen was the spark that continually set off the mosh pits. The ferocious energy the band emitted from the stage (which was rounded out by guitarist Roope Latvala, bassist Henkka Blacksmith and keyboardist Janne Warman) was traded back and forth with the audience. Definitely another awesome night in Arizona for Children of Bodom.

Setlist – in no particular order:
Silent Night Bodom Night, Needled 24/7, In Your Face, Angels Don’t Kill, Living Dead Beat, Hate Me, Downfall

Once CoB left the stage, the crowd slowly dispensed and made their way up the hill of the Amphitheater to get to the restrooms and start forming the beer lines. Sweaty, smelly motherfuckers. Been awhile since I’ve seen pits that raging (including Ozzfest). Didn’t take long though for the chants of “Lamb of God! Lamb of God!” to start. They continually grew louder and louder. It was unfortunate that before the band came out, some loser who called himself El Fucko came out on the stage. I will be the first to admit that I am not sure if this character was part of LoG’s show or what – if I am missing the joke let me know – but what a complete idiot. At the very least, this looked poorly on the band. For a more detailed review of LoB, check out LdyWoreBlk’s review.

By this time it was apparent that outside forces were at work. Just so happens it reached 118 degrees today, breaking a decade old record. Next was that one, lone abomination of a cloud – complete with lightning. Would it stop the show? Hell no! Just before Slayer took the stage, it was noticeable that Mother Nature didn’t even want to fuck with the band, and the lightning soon dissipated.

Throughout the entire show – including Slayer’s set – it was fun watching the pits. From small to large people were slammin’ to each of the bands. Having witnessed or participated in hundreds of pits, its nice to see people looking out for each other. No matter who was playing, if someone went down hard there were always 5 hands reaching out to pull you back up. Right the fuck on Mesa.

Once the lights went down, the Devil came out to play. Walking out on stage during the intro to South of Heaven, Slayer was met with a resounding cheer from the sold out crowd. Clearly this was the band everyone was waiting for. I think the last time I saw Slayer was the New Year’s Evil show in Phoenix in 1999. Going on 7 years ago, I really don’t remember much from that show. But the thing that struck me during this show was that it was basically a ‘greatest hits’ show. Don’t get me wrong, Slayer ruled. They were brutal, they were tight, and they kicked you in the face. War Ensemble, Hell Awaits, Raining Blood – each song took on a new unstoppable force. But the only song from the new album was Cult, and the setlist was only 14 songs. Approaching their 25th anniversary, you would think that the setlist could at least be bumped to 18.

Regardless, Slayer put on one hell of a show. There were no fans leaving disappointed. Dehydrated, semi-conscious, asses brutally kicked – but definitely not disappointed.

Setlist:
South of Heaven, Silent Scream, War Ensemble, Blood Red, Cult, Disciple, Mandatory Suicide, Seasons in the Abyss, Chemical Warfare, Dead Skin Mask, Hell Awaits, Raining Blood, Antichrist, Angel of Death

The KNAC.COM Pure Rock Patrol was in full force for this show. Thousands of stickers were handed out and many more were informed about the loudest dot com on the planet.



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