November 2, 2019
Review by Joseph Hett
Slayer Annihilates Asheville
The last leg of Slayer’s farewell tour kicked off in Asheville, NC at the ExploreAsheville.com Arena on Saturday night. When “The Final Campaign” was announced in July, the arena immediately sold out. And that’s what contributed to the downtown traffic being at a standstill before the show.
When it was time for Slayer’s set, there was a sense of urgency for everyone to get into the arena to view this historic show. AC/DC warm up tunes played as a curtain dropped to conceal the stage as the crew began to set it up.
Tom Araya (vocals and bass), Kerry King (guitar), Gary Holt (guitar) and Paul Bostaph (drums) came out and began “Repentless” from 2015’s album with the same name. Holt started shredding right out of the gate. They would go on to feature a 90-minute set that showcased songs that spanned their entire career.
The general admission floor got cranked up into high gear once the bone-rattling riffs started. Crowd surfers began a conveyor belt of humanity – once they got to the front barricade, they were caught and then released. Two mosh pits formed and resembled a couple of hurricanes violently spinning in the sea.
Slayer kept the classics going with “Mandatory Suicide” and “World Painted Blood.”
Araya thanked everyone for coming out and said that it meant a lot. He then instructed everybody to scream out “WARRR” to go into their next song “War Ensemble.”
King and Holt were masters of the axe all night long. They took turns providing blazing solos and haunting palm-muting riffs.
Araya gave a brief speech about karma and noted that “Payback is a f——g b—h, mother f——s” before going into “Payback.” A third mosh pit started in the back of the floor. So, at this point, we had three mosh pits churning at the same time.
King played clean arpeggio licks to start the journey we were all about to undertake with “Seasons In The Abyss.” Once it sped up, King performed an extended wah-wah solo.
Bostaph was a monster on drums all night long. He kept the double bass drums beats driving 100-miles per hour.
King and Holt harmonized their guitars for “South Of Heaven.” They both would keep the same formula for the definitive “Raining Blood.”
They closed the set out with the foreboding “Dead Skin Mask” and in-your-face “Angel Of Death.”
As the arena lights came back on, King and Holt threw out guitar picks while Bostaph tossed several drums sticks out. Araya just stood there taking it all in. As the crew began to pack up, Araya remained for several more minutes gazing at the capacity crowd. He walked to the mic and graciously said, “Thank you for so f—–g much. I’m going to miss you guys. Good night!”
After the show, concertgoers (some scantily clad) took over the freezing streets screaming “SLAYERRR!” This scenic city in the Blue Ridge Mountains will never be the same after Slayer and its legions of fans rolled through.
On this leg of the tour, Primus, Ministry and Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals (Pantera set) are opening up for Slayer. Those acts did put on good sets – it’s just that nothing compares to the fire and brimstone of Slayer. Slayer was a well-oiled war machine that showed they are going out on top.
Slayer’s last show is scheduled to be at the Los Angeles Forum on Saturday, November 30. So it’s now or never to get out and see them while you can. A band that created nightmares will now create the ultimate nightmare when they finally hang up the devil horns — a world without Slayer on the road.
Slayer will be missed…Long live SLAYERRR!