We have been in the presence of giants…
Brother Craig and I got to Taranna in good time. Slick through security, found our seats and got ready to rock. We were at the back of the bowl of seats, last row before the general admission grass at the back. No problem. Five headliner bands, four of them sharing a bill to give Slayer the send-off they deserve as they conduct their final tour. The entire day had a feeling of greatness, a momentous and historic occasion that was definitely once in a lifetime. We truly were witnesses to giants walking the Earth.
Some small notes before beginning…
It was $16.50 for a tallboy of Bud Light. Haha that’s expensive water, more like.
A kid at work wanted me to get him a Behemoth t-shirt, said probably $25 or so. All t-shirts were $50, for all bands across the board. Haha I think not.
Some 6’7″ motherfucker came and sat right in front of me, of course (every damn time!), so until the pot smoke wore him and his lady down to sitting more than standing, I had a great view of the back of his head.
Speaking of pot smoke, there was SO much of it. We didn’t need any ourselves, we got a bit high just being there.
Several times through the night there would be confusion over seating, people animatedly discussing their tickets and pointing determinedly at the plastic seats. How hard is it when it’s section 407, 407A, 407B…? Apparently difficult. Le sigh.
The washroom situation was appalling. Oh, they were clean enough, given the circumstances, but the line-ups for the men’s were ridiculous. Yes, this show was mainly a sausage fest… but there were ladies there too, and they were laughing as they waltzed right into their loo with no lines. Craig finally had to pee in the woods in between Lamb Of God and Slayer’s sets because the lines were just too damn long. Seriously, Budweiser Stage, you need more bathrooms for the amount of seating you offer in your venue!
NB: I took shite photies (and they truly are shite). My iPhone on full zoom struggled for clarity, especially after the sun went down. Still, better than nothing! You can click them to make them bigger…
What a set. Testament fuckin’ rocked. Alex Skolnick was on absolute fire, as was the whole band, honestly, and every song was pure gold. Their half hour set should have been an hour longer, at minimum. Tremendous band to open the gig, simpy great! Craig said he’d have Testament in the Big Four not Anthrax, especially because of their first three albums. Maybe it ought be the Big Five! Whatever the case, Testament was fucking fantastic. The Pale King was brilliant, and the crowd went nuts for Into The Pit, but they were all superb.
Testament Setlist: Rise Up / Practice What You Preach / The Pale King / Into the Pit / The New Order / Disciples of the Watch
NB: I had my camera on Square setting instead of just Photo, so all my shite photies of Testament came out in squares instead of regular shots. I corrected the issue halfway through Behemoth, sorry Testament!
There’s a kid at work who was jealous I was getting to see these guys play. After their set, I can guess why. Their sound was huge and heavy, and they played with an unrelenting intensity and skill. Their presence and massive tunes held the crowd enthralled throughout. To me their stage outfits made them look exactly like Uruk-hai from the Lord Of The Rings. Craig said he’d love to see Behemoth in a smaller, indoor venue, and he’s right, that’d be awesome.
When it seemed they were leaving, Behemoth said “You people of Toronto hold a special place in our hearts. Thank you for coming out. We are Behemoth. We will return! Until then, stay strong. HAIL SATAN!” Haha wow. They then left, and returned for an encore as the crowd roared for more. They wore black devil masks with long horns on them for the last song. Cool for an opening act to do.
Behemoth Setlist: Ov Fire and the Void / Demigod / Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer / Wolves ov Siberia / Chant for Eschaton 2000 / O Father O Satan O Sun!
Anthrax hit the stage and worked the crowd like total professionals. Their songs were tight, punky metal and every single one was a goddamn great time. They even got us to sing O Canada at the end while they stood there and listened. I removed my cap, but was sad to see many of our fellow concert-goers did not.
Anthrax Setlist: Caught in a Mosh / Got the Time (Joe Jackson cover) / I Am the Law / Madhouse / Evil Twin / Antisocial (Trust cover) / Indians
Lamb Of God
I knew Lamb Of God was gonna be loud, and holy hell, I was right on that score! That band was so fucking intense, and the crowd went right crazy for every song. Security had to pull people back from the fence at the edge of the grass area because it was in danger of collapsing. The crowd singalong on Now You’ve Got Something To Die For was fun, they dedicated 512 to Slayer, and the combo punch of Laid To Rest and Redneck was positively punishing.
Lamb Of God Setlist: Omerta / Ruin / Walk With Me In Hell / Now You’ve Got Something to Die For / 512 / Engage the Fear Machine / Blacken the Cursed Sun / Laid to Rest / Redneck
I have been to metal shows before, but I haven’t even been in the presence of such power before this. This set was absolutely crushing, and they went all out on the lighting, fireballs, and walls of more fire. Every so often the backdrop would change to reflect an era or album and every one was perfect.
They (seemingly) effortlessly controlled the chaos with a primal violence. There was a huge pit, as with all the bands, but it was definitely wilder for Lamb Of God than it was for Slayer. It seemed as though, even though there was all the usual chaos down front, there was a sense of occasion to it all, and people were trying to take it all in, burn it all into their memories as this is (supposedly) the last time we’ll get to see Slayer and so goodbye.
They had us in their mighty fist for the whole gig, but when they blasted into Angel Of Death as their final tune and the backdrop became a memorial to Jeff Hanneman, their sealed themselves into our hearts and minds forever. It was a great reveal, a beautifully done and perfectly-timed moment.
Tom spoke to the crowd a couple of times throughout, and at the end of the show, standing alone in the lights, he simply said Thank You, and “I’m gonna miss you guys.” We’re gonna miss you guys too.
Slayer Setlist: Delusions of Saviour (intro) / Repentless / Blood Red / Disciple / Mandatory Suicide / Hate Worldwide / War Ensemble / Jihad / When the Stillness Comes / Postmortem / Black Magic / Payback / Seasons in the Abyss / Dittohead / Dead Skin Mask / Hell Awaits / South of Heaven / Raining Blood / Chemical Warfare / Angel of Death
This is the show of the summer, folks. If this tour comes anywhere near your town, GO.
\m/ SLAYER!!!!!! \m/
More specifically, where in the world will KMA Aaron be on May 29, 2018?
Brother Craig got us tickets for Toronto.
Sharp-eyed readers will notice I’ve begun numbering the albums, to accompany the review post numbers (and yes I went back and did yesterday’s post too). I thought it might be fun to keep track this year and see how many I manage to do. If I keep a pace of 5 per day, that’s over 1800 records! Ha, we’ll see about that.
But rest assured, I am playing all of these albums. True, some that I already know well I can do quicker scans to refresh my memory, but new-to-me records get the full spin. It’s a beautiful life to have so much music so easily accessible! The real work lies in trying to encapsulate a full record in a paragraph – the songs, the production, my impressions… I find myself writing them up full and then culling for the best bits. But I will prevail on this mission…
Anthrax – Among The Living
The first three tracks I already knew, and they’re sheer brilliance. The rest is just as good. Seriously, I didn’t hear a song here that was even close to mediocre. To my ears, this is high energy, riff-heavy full-throttle drumming thrash metal (sometimes by way of punk) fun. I had such a blast spinning this restless slice of majesty!
Anthrax – Persistence Of Time
This is a solid album. I loved the riffs and I believe the structural integrity is there. I liked the roomier bottom end sound. A highlight for me was the instrumental Intro To Reality going straight into Belly Of The Beast. Maybe an inspiration for Mastodon? I can hear it in there. There’s even a cover of Joe Jackson’s Got The Time, which was good fun. This is a very different record from Among The Living, and it’s that difference that makes it very impressive indeed. Well done.
Ashley MacIsaac – Hi How Are You Today?
Controversial fiddler (it was fun typing that!) hits it big by combining east coast celtic roots and pop-rock. This hit Canada just right in the mid-90s. You’ll know Sleepy Maggie, and probably others if you were anywhere near this CD at the time. I give him a cool cred nod for his cover of Bob Snider’s What An Idiot He Is. Saw him on this tour – he had a cold and blew his nose on the crowd (nice one, Ashley). Still a very listenable record in 2015.
Ashley MacIsaac – Fine Thank You Very Much
Ashley wasted no time putting out this aptly-titled follow-up to his big smash record (see above). But instead of trying (successfully or not) to recapture the magic of that release, he throws a change-up and drops an excellent disc of traditional music. These are jigs, reels, airs, strathspeys, clogs… often together in the same song. It’s a great listen and very well done.
Atomic Fireballs – Torch This Place
This is another of my late-90s swing revival favourites. The growly vocals of John Bunkley are fun, and I really dig this band’s jump blues style! You might know their fun cover of David Bowie’s Magic Dance (from Labyrinth), here called The Man With The Hex, and maybe Spanish Fly, but the whole record is a great big swingin’ dance party!