- May 13th 2018
- Papa Murphy’s Park @ Cal Expo
- Sacramento, California
- 22,000 (guesstimate) people
- 2 hours 15 minutes
- Lead singer and Bass Tom Araya
- Guitar Kerry King
- Drums Paul Bostaph
- Guitar Gary Holt
So the lights go down and I’m in my element: live-action, no bullshit photography. I’m shooting a band I first saw in 1984 (I was 17!) at Ruthie’s Inn in Berkeley, CA. A band that was at the forefront of the thrash metal revolution. Fucking Slayer hits the stage and the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I have seen Slayer more times than I can count…. but this one is different. Their final tour. This is it. The emotions I had as their first song of the night rang out: ‘Repentless”. As the crowd roars, Kerry King and Gary Holt start their melodic, iconic crunch. Paul Bostaph’s double kick and cymbal crash furiously, bringing it to the edge of insanity. The bass and poetic thunder of Tom Araya bring it home. Tom’s voice has always been extremely loud and aggressive, but with a uniquely defined, inimitable style. The band was clearly having a great time playing this show. Tom looks over at Gary with a huge grin on his face (Tom has teeth everyone!) and he never stops smiling. Not the serious, always in-character badass I’m used to seeing. The love-fest went on all night long. It was so awesome to see them soaking it all in. It all began just 77.7 miles away (no I didn’t make that number up, google it) in Berkeley, CA at Ruthie’s Inn.
So now I have only two more songs to go before getting the boot from the photo pit (aka: best fucking seat in the hizzy!) I remained to photograph “Blood Red” and “Disciple”. The sound was incredible, loud and clean. No next day old-man ear ringing for me! This was my first time at Papa Murphy’s Park in Sacramento. I’m so glad I flew back to Nor Cal for this show. Scott, the other half of Mosh Mag was also there, babysitting my wife – long, funny story you’ll hear on our podcast. After my three songs I was out of the pit and back on the field to hear 20 more kick-ass songs. What an amazing night. Song after song brought back great memories of traveling to as many shows as we could, having some of the best times of our lives. They were the old-school metal shows with huge crowds and no drama or cell phone cameras. Just moshing on the rail and enjoying it all. Had such a killer time with my old-school peeps and being there for Mosh Mag. Living the dream.
This was an outdoor event, but sounded like a indoor arena show. Flames, lighting, sound. Had it all and more. Perfect weather. Sound from several different areas around the venue was flawless. Great lighting set-up. The flames shooting into the sky were the cool reminder that we were outdoors. They illuminated the thrashing crowd and silhouetted the band nastily onstage. The crowd was JUMPING, singing almost every word of “South of Heaven” and “Raining Blood”. With their final song, “Angel of Death” Slayer brought the energy of the crowd to a frenzy. You’d never know they’d been on their feet for 8 hours. With a lump in my throat I knew this was it, my last live Slayer song EVER. You have to go see this incredible show. Depending on the location, you’ll have an incredible lineup that rivals any metal festival this year. Testament, Behemoth, Anthrax, Lamb of God and Fucking Slayer!!!!! You’ll regret if you don’t. Thanks for 35 great fucking years. Enjoy the images and make sure to check out our weekly podcast and other band reviews from this epic night. Slayer Nation!!!!
Willard, Scott and Mosh Mag OUT!
Set List provided by www.setlist.fm
When the Stillness Comes
Seasons in the Abyss
Dead Skin Mask
South of Heaven
Angel of Death
Fuck yeah, Willard! Front of stage security was incredible : the mosh tossing up metal heads over the barricades: no bullshit anger, we took them down and turned em loose back into the pit.
Took me back to 1991 tour: my 1st Slayer show. Great to share that excitement with you, and great photos to remember it with.
Yea incredible job brotha. You all made music fun and not a crime to let loose.