Concert Reviews

Dispatches from the Perfect Mosh Pit at Last Night's Slayer Concert

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It starts out spontaneously. A certain chord... a rift... a drumbeat - that perfect pitch - or a combination of the three sparks the movement. Resonating through the body, the beat inspires people to move in a circle. A giant step, slam! Fall back, slam! Legs in motion, body swaying... slam! Flying out of the... into the circle. It's a dance of madness.

Mosh pits are genuinely dangerous. People get injured by the thousands. A few have even been killed over the years.

Maybe the knight realizes the mood in the pit has changed as the music transforms into a sound not heard since the days when Slayer looked like rebels without a cause, when they were writing a song about the Anti-Christ.

"They're playing songs they haven't played in 20 years!" screams an older fan, standing near the edge of the pit. He's taking shelter behind four or five people, but he throws up the horns for Tom Arya, Kerry King, Paul Bostaph, and Gary Holt (who's channeling guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who rests somewhere on the south side of heaven).

"This is an amazing set," says another fan.

"Ten years, man," another one chimes. "It's been ten years since I've heard that song."

A joyful madness descends on the crowd, and the knight in a cardigan raises up a partial fist with his index and pinky finger extended like bull horns. Moving his arm up and down, banging his head forward and backward creates an energy more powerful than the electricity fueling the amplifiers and speakers. It singes the soul, weakening the veil that protects them from the metal heads whose anarchist ideals are a big "F--- you" to authority.

And with albums like Show No Mercy, Hell Awaits, Reign in Blood, South of Heaven, Seasons of the Abyss, God Hates Us All, Christ Illusion, and World Painted Blood, no one says "F--- you" better than Slayer.

See also: -The Top Ten All Time Best Replacement Lead Singers in Rock and Roll -Songs That Have Hidden Messages When Played in Reverse -The Ten Best Music Videos Banned by MTV

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Christian McPhate is an award-winning journalist who specializes in investigative reporting. He covers crime, the environment, business, government and social justice. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the Miami Herald, San Antonio Express News and The Washington Times.

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