REVIEW: Slayer Says Goodbye to New York

Metal icons Slayer are on the second leg of their “Final World Tour” – yes, I’m as skeptical as anyone else – with Lamb of God, fellow metal icons and “Big 4” members AnthraxTestament and Behemoth, who dropped off the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater stop and were replaced by Napalm Death, and the legends brought their “farewell” tour to New York for what is allegedly the last time on Sunday night as throngs of headbangers fawned at their favorite band one more time. I’ll believe that when I see it.

As mentioned, Napalm Death kicked things off, followed by Testament. Beach traffic was too much for me to fight, so my night started with Anthrax and that’s where we’ll start this review. I saw Anthrax co-headline the Killthrax tour last year with Killswitch Engage, so this marked my second time seeing the band and I’ve gotta say I’d much prefer seeing them headline. Not because they don’t kick just as much ass as a support act, but because they only played 7 songs thanks to the 5-band lineup.

Anthrax kicked off their set with Caught in a Mosh – preceded by the opening riff of the Pantera classic Cowboys From Hell – followed by Joe Jackson’s Got The Time, which as a metal song is weird as hell but awesome at the same time, Madhouse, Be All, End All, Evil Twin, a cover of Trust’s Antisocial and Indians to wrap things up. As I said, I’d rather see Anthrax headline just so I can hear them play another 10 songs because they kicked ass and weren’t on stage nearly long enough for my tastes. It is what it is, though, and the guys did say they’ll see us next year, so there’s hope of a headline run.

Up next was Lamb of God, who we previously covered as support for Slayer last summer at Madison Square Garden. I’ve never really considered myself a fan of Lamb of God – I don’t dislike them, but I don’t listen to them with any regularity either – but as a photographer, I’m a huge fan of frontman Randy Blythe’s street photography and have wanted to photograph him for a long time. I got that chance last year in piss-poor lighting at MSG and wanted another crack at it in daylight on this tour, so I took the opportunity and made it count. With that said, LoG was fantastic.

LoG was given time for 9 songs including Omerta, Ruin, Walk With Me in Hell, Blacken the Cursed Sun, Laid to Rest and Redneck. Last time, I got kicked in the head by crowd surfers during the band’s set. This time, the pit was about 3 times larger and both the photographers and surfers had plenty of room to stay out of each other’s way, so no injuries for me this time. The crowd seemed a bit tamer, but that didn’t stop Blythe and company from rocking and headbanging their way through a kick ass set. Fans of the band know what to expect and Lamb of God delivered again.

Finally, it was time for Slayer to hit a New York stage one last time to play an eye-popping 19 song setlist with no encore, surprisingly, as the band ran straight through to curfew and kicked ass along the way. Repentless opened the band’s set, followed by Blood Red and Desciple. Other hits along the band’s journey through time on this final NYC-area stop included Mandatory Suicide, When the Stillness Comes, Postmortem, Seasons in the Abyss, Raining Blood, Chemical Warfare and Angel of Death to wrap up what Kerry King and Tom Araya say is the band’s last show in New York.

If this is really Slayer’s last tour, they’re certainly going out on top. Of course, I have the feeling that if Hammet calls and says Metallica wants to do another series of Big 4 performances, Slayer would be on board. But if this is truly the end, Slayer is neither burning out nor fading away as they ride off into the sunset. Photo gallery below: