The Slayer Farewell Tour 2018, what was supposed to be THE LAST U.S. tour, before Kerry King announced dates into 2019. The iconic titans of thrash metal wrapped up their final U.S. date for this leg in San Jose, Ca at the SAP Center, Home to the San Jose Sharks on August 26th, 2018.
My buddy Ivan and I got dropped off a few blocks away at O’Flaherty’s Irish Pub where we sat down to some Nitro 380 Old Rasputin Stout beers. We were met by several other pre-concert goers talking about past shows with Slayer and Lamb of God as well as upcoming shows we planned to attend and at what locations.
The thing people need to understand is that there is a camaraderie of sorts, a sense of community that is ubiquitous that comes with being a metalhead. You can start talking to each other as complete strangers and leave feeling like old friends. All that being said we signed off as we exited the pub with me belting out “SLAYERRRR!!!!” and we’re on our way.
Walking down the street towards the stadium there were thrash metal band t-shirts everywhere. Upon arriving in front of this massive building, we asked one of the security personnel where the GA entrance was located as there seemed to be a myriad of entry points dependent on your ticket type. #worksmarternotharder
While walking to the entrance show goers were scrutinized and judged by a gentleman that clearly doesn’t understand his 10 commandments. His sign read “Repent or Perish” on one side and “Jesus Saves From Hell” on the other. He was chanting his hate filled judgmental rhetoric to all those who passed by him on either side of the barrier. I took an opportunity to video part of this interaction and issue my retort.
Anyway, onward with our journey. Finally we were in the security line. I asked them who wanted to frisk me as I shimmied my shoulders and they wanded away. Some of the nicest security guards I have interacted with by the way. They didn’t frisk me to my disappointment. But then we were in!
First things first we made our way to the bar to grab us some drinky drinks. Their beer and liquor selections paled in comparison to that of the venues I’ve grown so accustomed to in Las Vegas. We grabbed some overpriced drinks. The bar tender hooked up my drink with a triple shot like a boss for what rum they did have.
We made our way to the floor and I immediately saw someone I knew. Q Minor from the band Phantom Witch was in attendance. I had seen him last October at the Dark Tranquility concert at Slim’s in San Francisco. That dude tears up the pit like there is no tomorrow. He was brutal and relentless, and I was happy for it. I love seeing people embrace that wild side and just go at it in the pit. We exchanged information and chatted up a bit about the blog and his band before Ivan and I moved on to get close-ish to the stage. Where we met an older gent who I have since forgotten the name of (we will call him OG) but was a big Napalm Death fan. He told us some old show stories while we waited for the first set time and had some laughs.
Napalm Death the British extreme metal band opened up this gloriously epic evening. A surprise to me, since the Facebook event, website, and tickets all said Behemoth, Lamb of God and Slayer when I had initially made my purchase. They came on stage with their brutality in full swing slamming into you right out the gate. A pit broke out almost immediately causing a surge and half of Ivan’s beer was spilled down my back 5 minutes into the show.
Vocalist Mark “Barney” Greenway gave his usual anecdotes between songs to the masses. Ivan slipped away to further back in the crowd a couple songs in while I was hit in the chest with each hard hitting beat. They have created so much music over the last 3 decades from Scum to From Enslavement to Obliteration and Diatribes to Apex Predator-Easy Meat and so many more albums. Their set hit you with key influential songs from all over their discography to include Instinct of Survival, Standardization , Scum and Nazi Punks Fuck Off.
During Napalm we have our intro to Bruce… What a great old school name. You don’t meet too many dudes named Bruce. A tall, ginger ball of fire explosively throwing himself around the crowd creating his own mini mosh pit near where I was standing. And of course, in time I made sure to push him back, but not yet.
Testament was another unexpected treat for me. As soon as I saw their backdrop and drums go up I was elated. They’ve been on my must-see bucket list for years. The lights went down and when they came back up Gene Hoglan was behind his drums greeting the crowd with a rage-faced grin of fuck yeah I see you …I see all of you …are you ready for what is about to throttle you fuckers?
And then Brotherhood of the Snake hits the crowd. Once more the circle pit raged uncontrollably behind me while I head-banged and braced myself slowly moving up closer and closer to the stage with time as they played through Dog Faced Gods, The New Order, of course one of my favorites INTO THE PIT and Over the Wall .
It was during this thundering thrashgasm I convinced another show goer to crowd surf for the first time. He was hesitant at first, but I am persuasive. I had talked to him earlier before the show started. 20 years old seeing a show this epic, I would regret that shit so hard. It only took another 2 minutes of telling him he would regret it if he didn’t do it at this show of all shows and explaining how to go about it initially. He nodded in agreement that this was something he was now game to do. Having crowd surfed before I knew he would be happy with his decision. Not 10 minutes later we lifted him up and he made his way to the stage for the first time.
When he came back around with his crowd surf cherry freshly popped he said “You were right that was amazing, I owe you one.” It was a gratifying feeling to have helped make a “first” moment for this dude at a show. Throughout the night you could see him being carried at least 8 more times. Testament closed out their set throwing guitar pics into the crowd. They fulfilled my expectations and more live. Down to see them play again 100%. Now they can work a crowd! All went quiet for a few moments. OG from earlier asked to take a selfie with Bruce and I while we waited for the next set.
Stay Tuned for Part 2 ….