Pictures By ~Downshifter
Review By ~Rana
Fucking. Purgatory. It may be the most appropriate setting for the Mayhem Festival, but not the most ideal. Hellfire and brimstone are great, as long as its air conditioned. Phoenix, Arizona is not my favorite place during the winter, but in middle of the summer: HELL, NO! The cop that pulled me over on the way (he gave me a warning for speeding in a construction zone and asked for my card, you're a Saint, dude) said that it was supposed to be 115 degrees, but anywhere near concrete it would be 125 and slightly humid. I felt every tick of it.
The most fervent fans were taking dirt naps, passing out from heat exhaustion. There was a hell of a body count, including me. But, despite throwing up, not sweating and nearly falling unconscious, I was going to be damned if I wasn't going to see Slayer. I have to hand it to the bands on the second stage who played in the early afternoon and had their ass handed to them by the Arizona desert. Brave souls. The Metal Mulisha guys were wearing their whole leather suits and helmets, I have no bloody clue how they made it through one trick on their motorcycles, but they did, over and over, each time getting more elaborate. Cool to watch, but not me. It gave me the willies just watching them that high up in the air with their feet off of the bikes just hanging there in space waiting to crash and burn and die in a nasty puddle of human goo. But more than anything, I have to hand it to the fans that showed up in full force in the metal uniform. Many tards, I mean, guys, out there didn't even bother with sunscreen, wtf? I, for one, wouldn't have begrudged them any of their metal cred if they showed up in soccer shorts, white t shirts and floppy gardening hats because of the heat. But, of course, they don't even own that shit so jeans and black shirts it was. They moshed until they dropped despite the warning sign discouraging "moshing and surfing" and woke up and went back at it again. It was, after all, a Slayer crowd. Expect nothing less. Even if they were singing along with Marilyn Manson, they were wearing Slayer shirts.
Although I unfortunately missed Bullet For My Valentine (I was having my ass handed to me by the Arizona desert), Killswitch Engage did not disappoint. Superhero Adam brought his whistle and cape, although he ditched it after the third song because of the heat. The crowd ate them up even as Howard threw water bottles at the front row and called them pussies. And there were quite a few, women, that is. I was very proud to see the ladies out in full force, if only barely dressed. They were a lot hotter than the guys were, at least, they looked that way. Who knew that bikini clad Britney Spears clones with pretentious hair and "cute" tattoos and glitter eyeshadow were all about the metal?
It might have been my only chance to ever see Slayer live, so I stayed, barely conscious though I was. It was so worth it. The pyro they have set up on this tour is incredible, its just a wall of fire behind the band and in front of Lombardo. The crowd, in turn, upped the status quo and began lighting fires in the cheap seats. Hell on earth. Kerry came out in leather pants with gigantic chains on his belt. Were you expecting a white suit and fedora? They played all of my favorite songs, and all of yours too, I imagine. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was 15 again at a show, front row. I had been waiting to see Slayer for that long. Longer, actually. Since the day I was 13 and my mom waited for me to go to school and threw out all my Slayer tapes and replaced them with Stryper. It was then officially on my to do list. Tom just walked up to the mic and stood there, soaking in the screams. I got a really stupid smile on my face that stayed there the entire time. Awesome can't even come close to describing it. Life changing is more like it.
Manson came on stage wearing his tricorn hat. Want. I don't know what it is about that pirate hat, but I like it. His energy was high and he looked good despite Trent's diatribe. The whole crux of the "co-headlining" issue was a moot point. It comes down to record sales and political bullshit that no one (except asshole execs in three pieces) should give a shit about. Who cares who played first, Manson or Slayer? They both played the same amount of time and if you don't want to hang out for Manson, you get to leave early and beat traffic. I would more than highly recommend this tour, I just wish it happened last winter. Because of the heat, Slayer and Manson didn't come off the bus and I didn't get my interviews. Lame. My other biggest regrets were missing Job For A Cowboy (local heroes here in Arizona) and All That Remains who I hear have put on consistently incredible performances during this entire tour so far.
Go experience the Mayhem, "Painted In Blood" is Slayer's last record on their current contract and although their agent tells me they're not going anywhere yet, you never know.
Oh, and p.s. go give Dimebag's lady Rita a hug (unless you're sweaty and smell like ass, then fuck off and leave the woman alone). She's the cute one with the Texan accent in the cowboy hat.