The Taxslayer Center in Moline Illinois earned it’s namesake (part of it anyway) when legendary metal giant Slayer performed along side a list of other heavy hitters on Thursday night Nov. 14th. Slayer is on their Final Campaign World Tour and after close to 40 years the band plans to retire at the tours end. I was able to catch them one last time and man what an epic time it was.
Phil Anselmo and The Illegals kicked off the night performing Pantera songs to the delight of the people lucky enough to make their way through the Center’s utterly clogged halls and into the arena in time to see them. I was one of the unfortunates who could not and although I would have very much loved too I did not get to see Phil and his Illegals first hand.
Ministry picked up where Phil & Co. left off performing to a pleased and quickly expanding audience amidst an array of flashy on screen visuals and odd but fitting sound clips. Uncle Al did not disappoint as he brought the fans together for “Just One Fix”.
Veterans and legends in their own right Primus took the stage for the third and final opening act of the evening. Although they seemed like they would be a strange fit among the other bands sharing the stage this night, they proved to have no problem getting the crowd moving as several pits opened up throughout their performance. At one point frontman and bassist Les Claypool stopped playing in the begining of a song, threw a water bottle in what appeared to be anger and then started a completely different song. They went on to play an excellent set however as they always do. As Primus stepped off and the arena filled to near capacity the anticipation for the onslaught to follow became palpable. It was nearly time for Slaaaaaaaaaaayer!
Known for having a particularly dedicated fan base, Thursday night proved to be no exception. When the lights finally went out, before the opening dirge had even taken life, the cacophony of voices was deafening. A line of large crosses projected onto a backdrop erected between the stage and the crowd began to slowly rotate to the haunting opening tune “Delusions of Savior”. Crosses would give way to classic Slayer logos and then finaly simply the word SLAYER across the entire stage. After some flame bursts and the revealing of the stages true backdrop, the crowd would give out one last blast of screaming energy before the high hats signaled the shows true arrival. It was at this moment the partition between crowd and stage dropped and Slayer opened with what could have described their entire show, “Repentless”. The sound was absolutely perfect (from my local front and center floor) as they played a wicked plethora of their impressive catalog including Raining Blood, Disciple, War Ensemble, Dead Skin Mask and South of Heaven . The energy of the fans proved undying as the crowd continued to surge song after song lifting me helplessly up, down, back and forth. It was an absolute blast. Of course it goes without saying that when there’s Slayer there’s fire. Large streams of flame shot in short bursts from multiple angles to form an inverted star during several songs. Even from where I stood 30+ feet away with people between I felt the heat on my face after each blast. As all good things must come to an end so the evening followed suit with Slayer wrapping up their ammazing show with Angel of Death (my personal favorite). The mass exodus leaving the Taxslayer Center was seemingly endless and buzzing with absolute satisfaction. Screams of “SLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYER!” were only cut off by my vans closing door and although the ringing in my ears faded over the next day or so, Slayers performance on Nov. 14th at what I am now only reffering to as “The Slayer Center” will live on in my memory forever.
Thank you to all the members of SLAYER for such an amazing show and career.
Photos by Mike McMillen
Review by D.L. Green