It was Sunday, August 12, and I took a two and a half hour drive to see Slayer perform in Nashville for the last time. When I arrived at the Nashville Municipal Arena, I was greeted by a religious fanatic ranting about The Bible, how we were all going to hell for loving metal and other bullshit. We all returned the favor to that motherfucker by yelling "SLAAAYEEERRR!" at his fanatical bullshit. I then went to my nosebleed seats at the venue, which were great seats due to the size of the place. The show started with Napalm Death and they came out with a fucking bang with their song 'Multinational Corporations'. Barney Greenway danced around on the stage when he wasn't singing and Shane Embury was playing the bass so fucking fast that it seemed like he was outplaying Mitch Harris (guitarist). The crowd got really pumped when they played 'Scum' and followed it with their famous two-second song 'You Suffer', which they played three times. Napalm Death finished off their set with their cover of the Dead Kennedy's song 'Nazi Punks, Fuck Off', which caused the crowd to go fucking crazy.
After Napalm Death finished, the stage crew quickly set the stage up for Testament. Testament took the stage by storm with their opening track 'Brotherhood of the Snake'. The eyes of the snakes on their banner were glowing red, and at some times white, during their set and it looked badass. The crowd really loved it when they played 'Practice What You Preach' and the pit opened the fuck up when they played 'Into the Pit'. During the guitar solos of most of the songs, Chuck Billy would pretend his microphone was a guitar and took picks from the guitarists' mic stands and imitated the solos and threw the picks out to the crowd. At one point Chuck even pulled out a drumstick and sang while air drumming. Testament finished their set up with 'Over the Wall'. I really enjoyed seeing drummer Gene Hoglan (ex-Death, ex-Dethklok, Galaktikon) and bassist Steve Di Giorgio (ex-Death, ex-Control Denied) live since they both contributed to some of my favorite bands.
Once Testament was done, the stage was getting prepped for Anthrax. Right before Anthrax hit the stage, they had 'Number of the Beast' by Iron Maiden cranked up to get everyone excited for the first Big Four band of the night. Anthrax came out and opened with the main riff from 'Cowboys From Hell' by Pantera and then transitioned to 'Caught in a Mosh'. They played a cover of Joe Jackson's 'Got the Time' and then got the crowd going wild with 'Be All, End All'. Everyone completely lost their shit when they started playing their cover of Trust's 'Antisocial'. Anthrax played 'Indians' as their final song of the night and once they finished, Scott Ian walked up to the mic and said that the band felt that some of us weren't having as much fun as we could've. He then reminded the people on the balcony level that "This isn't fucking Sunday school" and got everyone off their asses. Then they replayed part of 'Indians' for a minute or two and then transitioned to the guitar solo from 'Cowboys from Hell' to wrap up their performance.
After Anthrax finished their set, Lamb of God took the stage. They opened their set with a clip that included Randy Blythe's speech on the rule of honor and then walked onto the dark stage, only visible as silhouettes in the dark red lights, and started the chaos with 'Omerta'. Randy dedicated 'Walk With Me in Hell' to Hank Williams III and then played 'Now You've Got Something to Die For'. They dedicated '512' to Anthrax and projected prison bars on their banner for the track and the crowd went fucking ballistic. They played 'Blacken the Cursed Sun' and dedicated 'Laid to Rest' to Slayer. Sometime during one of those two tracks, the pit opened to the largest size it got the entire night and people were losing it and some people got knocked the fuck out. Lamb of God finished their show with 'Redneck' and Randy reminded everyone in the balcony that this isn't church and everyone stood up and went on a rampage to their final song.
Once Lamb of God finished, the stage was concealed by a large black screen so the crew could set up the stage for Slayer. Once the stage got dark, a recording of 'Delusions of Savior' started playing and large crosses were projected onto the screen, which slowly flipped upside down. Then, pentagrams started taking over the screen and fires started roaring behind the screen as the Slayer logo appeared. Then the curtain came down and Slayer blazed onto the stage with 'Repentless' and flames were shooting all over the fucking place. They played 'Disciple' with the crowd chanting "God hates us all" and followed that up with 'Mandatory Suicide'. Tom asked everyone to yell "WAAAAAAAAAR" with him as they started playing 'War Ensemble'. Tom gave a speech about payback and then yelled "Payback's a bitch motherfucker!" and started playing 'Payback' and then transitioned to 'Seasons in the Abyss'. They played my personal favorite 'Dead Skin Mask' and the crowd chanted the lyrics with Tom Araya. After they played 'South of Heaven' they left the stage and then returned for the encore as the stage masked them in darkness. Then the drum intro for 'Raining Blood' echoed through the arena and then it got heavy as fuck and the pit went crazy. They played 'Chemical Warfare' and then ended their set with 'Angel of Death' and dedicated it to Jeff Hanneman. Once Slayer finished their final song, most of the people stayed and waited for every single member of Slayer to walk off the stage before leaving the arena. Slayer's final performance in Nashville was beyond extraordinary and it will be remembered by the audience forever. If you haven't seen a show on Slayer's final tour then I urge you to go and see them before they are completely finished touring next year.
When the Stillness Comes
Seasons in the Abyss
Dead Skin Mask
South of Heaven
Angel of Death