Slayer Says Farewell With Final Tour
Budweiser Stage Toronto
May 29, 2018

Early in the year my sister sent me a text message and it read ‘SLAYER
IS GOING ON TOUR!!!!’ followed immediately by messages like ‘We
should go if they come to Canada!!!’ As a metal fan who resides in
Canada we often get overlooked when bands hit the road. This time we
lucked out and Toronto was on the list of cities! When the time came
we made the trek (3.5 hours) to Toronto to meet up with my sister who
lives there. We left early in the morning so we didn’t have to rush but we
weren’t ready for the amount of traffic we hit when we finally made it off
the highway. What is usually a 15-20 minute commute to my sister’s
place from the highway was stretched to a horrible 1 hour commute.
Where did all these cars come from!? After picking my sister up we
headed to the venue only to be stuck in traffic for another hour and a
half.

Testament was over and I was crushed. I’d never been late to a concert
before and I’ve never missed a band perform before. I wasn’t going to
let it happen again so I ran to Behemoth after collecting my pass and
getting through security. When I got into the main area of Budweiser
Stage the energy was incredible. Metalheads as far as the eye could
see! People just hanging out and talking to each other, bonding over
favourite bands and past concert experiences. The booze was flowing
and the merch tables were all full up with throngs of people waiting to
buy their memorabilia to commemorate the occasion. The occasion
being a bitter sweet one because it was the farewell tour of one of
metal’s giants, Slayer. Behemoth was about to go on so I weaved
through the sea of black, metal’s signature colour, and found myself at
the main stage. Camera ready I went in to do my best.

Behemoth is a band I didn’t know much about, they play a genre of
metal I don’t normally listen to… but man did they put on one hell of a
set. The crowd loved them from start to finish and the pit never stopped.
A very visually unique and dramatic performance, they had an image in
mind and wanted to take you into their world. I was impressed with
everything from the stage setup (artistic metal works on their mic
stands and in their backdrop), the singer’s voice to the way the
musician’s presented their works. Metal musicians from anywhere
overseas always leave a lasting impression, they don’t fuck around. I’ve
gained an appreciation for this band and even came away with some
new favourite songs like ‘Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer', ‘Chant for Eschaton
2000’ & ‘O Father O Satan O Sun!’. This band is a work of fucking art.

Between bands I took some time to get to the merch tables to get my
own piece of metal history. As I was paying a girl came over to tell me
how much she liked my backpack and my tattoos. I didn’t think I’d run
into any anime fans but this just goes to show how far metal’s reach is.
It really is a rad community of all kinds of nerdy people who just want to
get caught in a mosh… see what I did there? I just introduced the next
band.

Anthrax hit the stage and hit it hard! ‘Caught in a mosh’ is a crowd
favourite and I think one of their most recognized songs. I felt so
privileged to be able to witness this song up close and through my
camera lens, because it was actually the first song of theirs I had heard
back in my high school days. The band was having a field day! Grinning
while utilizing the stage to reach out to all of the fans, even the ones on
the lawn. It was clear they were enjoying themselves and wanted
everyone to have a good time. Songs like ‘Got the Time’, ’I am the Law’
& ‘Madhouse’ kept the crowd moving. They closed out with ’Indians’ a
powerful song carrying an important message.

As I made my way through the venue to find my sister who had
disappeared to a seat, her ticket was an assigned seat, to watch the
band I found myself reviewing my own photos and grinning at the ones
I just took. Seeing the band members of Anthrax so at home on the
stage and reliving the artwork that is Behemoth I felt at ease. I hadn’t
been to a concert in a few years so I was nervous but seeing the
photos I felt better. Finding my sister we talked for a bit and she
decided to go buy herself a tour shirt before they ran out of her size.
When she came back I showed her some of my photos and we waited
for Lamb of God.

Lamb of God entered the stage to the speech that opens their song
‘Omerta’ and didn’t stop. This was my first time experiencing this band
live and they didn’t disappoint. It’s easy to see why this band is being
passed a torch to carry on and bring the genre into it’s next variation in
an ongoing symphony of various metal genres. Lamb of God has
achieved something most heavy bands have a difficult time even
grasping. Visibility. They achieved it without compromising who they are
or how they sound which is an amazing feat done by only a select few,
Slayer being one of them. Songs like ‘Walk with me in Hell’, ‘512’,
‘Blacken the Cursed Sun’ & ‘Laid to Rest’ the band kept the crowd
moving. Packed in like sardines they thrashed and lifted their hands in
the sign of the horns to scream the words along with vocalist Randy
Blythe. Lamb of God closed their set with ‘Redneck’ which left fans in a
frenzy and I won’t lie I thought of the music video and just grinned. As
much as I wanted them to keep going I knew all good sets come to an
end and there was a shift in energy. The whole venue had been
prepped and amped up by the opening acts.

It was time. The band everyone was there to see, Slayer. Their set
started with dark lighting, fire, and a slow build as each of the band
members took to the stage. Growling bass I could feel in my bones
while standing so close to the stage, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have
goosebumps. Bathed in red and yellow lights Slayer dove into
‘Repentless’ and the crowd of nearly 16,000 metal fans went nuts.
There wasn’t much talking to the crowd to introduce any songs, instead
the band chose to let the songs introduce themselves. This was a
crowd of rabid fans… the songs need no introduction. It was an epically
bitter sweet night and emotions were running high as fans were able to
hear some of their favourites for the last time live. Tom Araya and co
were in good spirits though, grinning at fans and each other.
‘Mandatory Suicide’, ‘Hate Worldwide’, When the Stillness Comes’,
‘Postmortem’, ‘Seasons in the Abyss’, ‘South of Heaven’, ‘Raining
Blood’ & ’Chemical Warfare’ were some of the highlights for me. As I
watched the show I took comfort knowing that I got to see them live at
least once, as did my sister who is the one responsible for showing
me their music all those years ago. It’s at this time I turned and thanked
my metal as fuck Dad for bringing my sister and I to the show. That’s
right my father got to see Slayer too. When they closed out with ‘Angel of
Death’ and the banner for their fallen comrade, Jeff Hanneman, was
revealed I felt a twinge in my heart. This was their final song, and an
homage to their friend and family member. I know I wasn’t the only one
feeling a tad emotional as I looked around me I could see the faces of
their fans when the lights flickered and changed colour. Tom speaking
quietly at the end of their set as their roadies started to tear down
saying the words “We will miss you” sealed it for me. There were a few
tears but not all were sad.

We will miss you too, Slayer. Enjoy the rest of the tour and thank you for
everything \m/

For the full galleries:
-
Behemoth
-Anthrax
-Lamb Of God
-Slayer

For more info on:
Testament:
www.testamentlegions.com
Behemoth: www.behemoth.pl
Anthrax: www.anthrax.com
Lamb Of God: www.lamb-of-god.com
Slayer: www.slayer.net
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Words and photos by: MJ Murphy