This year’s Bonfire night truly went off with a bang in Cardiff, when Motorpoint Arena was graced by the presence of the most formidable metal line up to hit the capital in years, in the form of Slayer’s final tour. 9/10
Obituary were first up, and they started as they meant to go on. Loud, and unapologetically so, the band ripped through their set, with huge riffs, speed driven drums and unforgiving bass setting the tone for the night. Opening with Redneck Stomp and closing with Slowly We Rot, it’s a great start to the night although oddly they didn’t play anything from the Cause of Death album.
Next up, Anthrax. Generating an awesome earthquake of noise, they brought their A-game to Cardiff. Stuffing a 37 year career into only 7 songs is difficult and arguably they should have had more time; did Slayer really need 19 songs? Anthrax open with the intro for Cowboys From Hell presumably in tribute to the Abbott brothers then launch into Caught In A Mosh. Got The Time and I Am The Law quickly follow to keep the crowd on their toes. The set closes with the classic Antisocial and the pit inducing Indians which sees the band have to stop right after the “Wardance” shout because things get out of control on the left hand side of the stage. Charlie Benante stops the song which elicits boos from the crowd and while Joey Belladonna slinks around, Scott Ian takes to the mic to rescue the situation by announcing that “Charlie stopped because he’s concerned that some of you aren’t having as much fun as you should be having! Because we care! This is the wardance so if you’re not down with our friends here losing their fucking minds, and please keep doing that, you know what you can do? You can jump up and down or you can bang your head, you can even just throw the fucking horns but we’re all going to move, okay?” He then repeats “We’re all going to move okay?” to get the crowd to cheer louder. Scott Ian knows how to handle a 10,000 strong crowd in averting a disaster while keeping the crowd fired up. The wardance morphs into the outro of Cowboys From Hell to finish. Joey Belladonna goes into the “aaay oh” Freddie Mercury routine and We Will Rock You as they leave the stage. Consummate professionals who truly seem to love bringing music to their fans.
Set changes gave fans a chance to regroup before Lamb of God unleashed their unique brand of groove metal. They most definitely slayed it, sustaining the high octane energy all the way through the set. Randy Blythe’s demand that the crowd “completely fuck this place up” was met with enthusiasm from the audience, and the subsequent circle pit was something to behold. Highlights of the set included Now You’ve Got Something to Die For and the closing fan favourite, Redneck.
Last up were Slayer. The final tour meant a spectacular set, particularly poignant for Bonfire night. If anyone in the audience was gutted they’d missed the fireworks, they definitely weren’t after this set thanks to the huge pyros, which must have given the front row sun tans. Fans proved as die-hard as ever and the band didn’t disappoint. Their tight set reflected their professional and expertise gained over so many years. Tom Araya’s voice may have taken a couple of songs to warm up, but his stage presence almost outdid the pyrotechnics. Signature cyclical riffs were hammered home by the dynamic drumming of Paul Bostaph. The highlight was the encore which saw Slayer unleash the classics South of Heaven, Raining Blood, Chemical Warfare and Angel of Death. The gig was slightly let down by the traditionally poor sound at Motorpoint but nevertheless, the crowd were overtaken by the speed, energy and power of the band. All in all, a massive set, which left the crowd sated although slightly sad that this is the last time we’ll see them.
Check out our gallery for some of the best moments from Anthrax’s set.