Friday, February 16, 2007

Slayed

So the Slayer show last night was some kind of insanity. I guess I wouldn't expect anything less, but somehow when you get there the hugeness of the show and the excitement/obsession of the fans always manages to exceed the expectations. Slayer fans are some serious shit.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I was going solo to the show but as luck would have it I wound up unsolo. I was waiting in the coat check line and look over and see Fran, a guy I know from college. 2,500 people there and I run into someone I know. He too was solo. Well fuck that. We were now a duo.

Coats checked, it was upstairs to browse the shirts and whatnot ($31 for a T-shirt, Slayer? Come on!) and then grab an obligatory drink. The drink turned into two before I knew what happened. Jagermeister and Coors both in plastic cups. What a team.

Fran and I head out onto the floor to enjoy the remaining tunes by Unearth and check out the scene. Once the Unearth ended the Slayer excitement really started to build. Chants of "Slay-er! Slay-er! Slay-er!" would start at random and Slayer reminiscing was running rampant. This show, that show, "awesome shirt, dude." We got in a conversation with two guys at one point who had been to see Slayer up in Poughkeepsie last weekend, were (obviously) seeing them in NYC this very night and then were heading down to DC to catch them on Monday night. Sick! Like Deadheads but with way less mellow and tie-dye and way more metal and black T-shirt.

Before we started talking to these guys, Fran and I were discussing how Slayer fans, despite being fucking lunatics, are a polite, friendly group as a whole. Sounds nuts, but it is true. I heard many more "excuse me" and "sorry" and shit like that during the pre-show crowd than at any other show I have been to. It's like everyone is part of a big, friendly, misunderstood, music-loving cult. As if to solidify our discussion about the niceties, as we wrapped up our chat and moved on to get closer to the stage, one of the multi-city Slayer fans we were speaking with says, "Hey, have fun guys. Be safe." Wha?

Fran and I move our asses up towards the stage. We get so we have only three or four people between us and the stage. The lights go down the crowd starts getting tight. Smushed is probably more accurate. Stage lights on and Slayer rips into "Disciple". Not 10 seconds in and I get elbowed right in the fucking eye. I can see the sort of night this will be. But again with the cultish love ... even during the frenzy of the show there is a constant helping people up who had fallen, blocking the crowd so you can tie your shoe and not get crushed, being courteous and giving a boost to someone who wants to crowd surf, etc. That said, I wound up with the previously mentioned elbow to the eye, the back of someone's head in my upper lip/teeth and a fist right in the bridge of the nose. No blood, no visible bruising (aka "badges of honor" as Fran likes to say).

So the show is nuts and possibly the loudest thing I have ever witnessed. Concert or otherwise. I had earplugs that have a noise reduction rating of 29 decibels and it was still LOUD at some points. It was crazy. Double bass drum, two guitars and bass pounding in rhythm. It would give you that feeling that your chest might cave in from the crushing noise. The hits rolled on -- "Raining Blood," "Die By The Sword," "South of Heaven"/"Silent Scream," "Mandatory Suicide," "Cult," "Seasons In The Abyss," Grammy winner "Eyes of The Insane," "Bloodline" ... fucking great.

I tried taking some photos via cell phone. It was a difficult task indeed. Not losing the phone was tough and even if a photo was taken it was usually a blurry mess. Here are the only ones even slightly worth posting. And I use slightly rather lightly:

Tom addressing the crowd


Kerry destroying 5,000 ears


This photo is pretty awful, but I liked the lighting and the blur:

This is getting longer than necessary, so I'll wrap it up I guess. A few additional notes:
  • Some skanky, red leather-clad gal up on one of the side balconies flashed the crowd before the show. I felt like it was 1993 again.
  • Somebody in the pit smelled like mothballs. I don't get it. Why? Do you store your classic Slayer T-shirt in mothballs so it will be fresh and moth free for each tour?
  • Note to guys who are with their girlfriends (or whoever) that are trying to protect them. You are annoying. If they are deliberately throwing their five foot frames in the mix, they probably can hold their own. If they weren't into the thrashing, they'd be on the balcony or in the back.
  • Hammerstein coat check ... you suck. A complete clusterfuck.
  • Guys who like to crowd surf. You used to weigh 168 pounds back in the day. Now you weigh 226. Nobody wants that shit on their head.
  • I saw a guy coming down for the balcony post-show that had two broken arms in slings. Pretty hardcore being out in public at a metal show when you can't even wipe your own ass.
One last thing. After the show (and the nightmare coat check) I go in to use the bathroom. On the wall, in six inch high letters was the word "Slayer" ... written in blood.

Sick!

6 comments:

Lozo said...

i can't get over the fact a dude named fran was at a slayer show. alone.

- Stacey - said...

Great review! I love how you focused on the crowd around you and how they were feeding off the energy.

The mothball smell? Yeah... that's extremely un-metal.

Eye-shaking good time!

WJR said...

Perhaps you can refer to Fran as "Frantastic" to make yourself feel better? No, that probably won't work, but rest assured that Fran does alright in that sort of scene.

Kevin Lui said...

Getting hit 3 times throughout the concert? Hellz yeah! You should've taken a picture of "Slayer" written in blood. That would've been great. But other people probably thinks you're a freak.

WJR said...

I should have taken a photo of the blood-written "Slayer." I don't know why I didn't. Well, I do know ... I'm an idiot.

fairest said...

i knew I should have gone to the slayer concert when my friend who's this really mean looking guy but so nice inside told me he had an extra ticket.

i like tom's subliminal messages before *mandatory suicide* on the youtube clip.