Slayer at the Theatre at MSG 11/27/13 Part 1



Slayer plays old school Hell




Slayer at the Theater at Madison Square Garden  


Slayer’s “Old School” Set, New York, NY  


The Theater at Madison Square Garden, November 27, 2013





Ed. note-  I’ve still got some old school business from 2013 to take care of, and Part 1 of the Slayer Old School set review is next.  That’s actually a misnomer, as I don’t actually discuss Slayer performing.  But you know what?  Screw ’em.  For convention reports and the like, the trip and all the buildup that goes along with it make the experience, and I like discussing that stuff.  It makes it real for, and hopefully does the same for you.   So put your fingers up in the devil’s pitchfork, content in knowing that Part 2 will hit soon.  Until then, at DE Hell awaits you…  P.F.



Part 1:  An Angry, Twisted Vibration Direct from the Pits of Hell





Since my first Slayer show in 2007, every three years I see Slayer live.  From my spectator’s point of view, every show has been a little varied from the last.  Back in February ’07, I was pressed up to the security fence right in front of Jeff Hanneman;  my ribs were sore for a week.  That August, I traveled to the PNC Arts Center in Jersey, and was back on the lawn, far removed from taking any damage to my frame, but left with an experience that was a little lackluster.  Then in August ’10, I was in a seat at whatever they nowadays call the concert hall at the Meadowlands;  a great show, with the band playing all of Seasons in the Abyss, but I was too far removed from the action.  That October, I was at the Nassau Coliseum, on the floor with my sister for the same set;  she wisely stayed to the side as I ventured in as close as I could to the front, though I bailed during the middle of the set to keep her company (and because I realized I was 37 years old, and time takes it toll).  But when I got my ticket to see the reconfigured lineup of Slayer at the Theater at MSG last November, I had only one goal:  to stand right up in front of Tom Araya.  Age be damned, I was Hellbent on being at the foot of the voice of Satan himself.  Though my body was worse for wear for it, I can proudly say I got what I wanted.  I also got the best Slayer show out of the five, a blistering set that proved the band not only has not slowed down, but they’ve got plenty of fire left in them.


That afternoon, I geared up:   long sleeved black shirt, faded black shorts, and my Doc Martens, topped off with my Show No Mercy shirt.  It was wet and ugly but unseasonably warm for late November, and I knew it would be a sweaty mess once Slayer hit the stage.  Training into the city, I had one stop to make before touiching down in Hell.  I hit the F train, ditched the Slayer tee temporarily, and went to eat at my old restaurant.




Even though this is a stock shot, damn it felt good to be home again





I’d been promoted and moved to a different location about a month prior, and my friends were all so happy to see me.  So happy, in fact, that they refused my tip.  I kept referring to this as my “last meal,” because I acknowledge that going to a Slayer show is risking almost certain death.  As a last meal, it was a really good one, and getting love from a bunch of great friends made me thankful, even if I was convinced I would never make it to Thanksgiving the next day.


Flash forward an hour, and I was talking with some Slayer fans as I awaited entry.  I’ve been to MSG scores of times the last 41 years, but never to the theatre that used to don the name “The Felt Forum.”  This almost derailed part of my plans for the evening.  As one emerges from Penn Station’s LIRR end, there’s a sign pointing out the theatre.  I followed it, killing almost an hour, chatting it up with fans.  One guy had brought his daughter, and this was her first Slayer show.  I prepared her as best I could, explaining that even though the seats were calmer, things could still get crazy.  But I wasn’t prepared for what happened next:  as the ticket taker scanned me, she said I was in the wrong place;  GA holders were to head in another entrance, outside the Garden.  Bailing as fast as my slow legs would take me (hey, I’ve always been built for power, neither speed nor grace), I quickly remedied the situation.


Even later than I expected, it was still about 45 minutes before the opener hit the stage, and so I ended up right by the spot where Araya would later scream.  Well, almost.  There was one Gojira fan in front of me.  But what the Hell, I would still be 8 feet from the lead singer/ bassist of the greatest speed metal band, and I could accept that.  I had no idea then, but a few hours later, that would change.




4Arm’s Aussie lead singer




4Arm eventually hit the stage, to the excitement of no one.  The place was still half empty, and the crowd was apathetic.  Which was a shame, because they actually weren’t too shabby.  That, and the bassist is the long lost, Australian brother of Icons of Fright’s Rob G.  The Aussies should just be thankful they weren’t run off the stage by Slayer’s rabid fan base (yes, this has happened more than a few times in the past).




A clear shot of Gojira’s lead singer



Gojira hit next, and the now building crowd livened up a bit.  That Gojira fan in front of me was bobbing his massive head slowly back and forth, and all I could think was I didn’t need a bloody nose before Slayer hit the stage.  Not that I would’ve left.  But still, I expertly avoided the swaying of his massive cranium.  A few crowd surfers started flying over head, and a baby pit had developed.  Unlike the folks surrounding me, I’d never heard Gojira before, and upon hearing them I didn’t like them.  Of most interest to me during their set, they were using Eddie Van Halen 5150 amps;  that may have tantalized me because in the back of my head, I knew Slayer would in a few hours surpass Van Halen as the act I’ve seen live the most, a longstanding VH record.


What I gleaned most from the two openers was just how important earplugs are when on the floor of a live show.  My brilliant sister taught me this lesson years ago, and for a few bucks I got 10 pair of the squishy kind a person twists and then sticks in the ears to expand away.  They’re a gem for a 41 year old who doesn’t want to teeter on losing his stellar hearing.


As Gojira departed, the white curtain came down.  This is always the point at a Slayer show where the buildup kicks in, bodies start pressing in, people on all sides start screaming “SLAYYYYERRRRRR!!!!!!” and the knowledge lands that Hell is about to hit the earth right in front of the crowd.  Forgotten children conform a new faith as they wait. There’s an angry, twisted vibration that goes out direct from the pits of Hell as the fires burn higher and higher, spiring upward and cackling in devious voices as the demons feed the flames.  Bodies are about to get broken and added to the pile.


And then, after all that buildup, the pre-recorded strains of “Hell Awaits” erupted.  The lights dimmed.  The curtain dropped.  Slayer was revealed to the crowd.


And then the whole place broke into pandemonium.



On and on, to South of Heaven and Part 2 here.


Big Evil himself, DE Editor-in-Chief Phil Fasso
Big Evil himself, DE Editor-in-Chief Phil Fasso
Facebook Twitter Digg Stumbleupon

Leave a Reply