All the Slayer fan wanted to do was return to the concert, throw up some devil horns and roar with the crowd as Slayer lead singer Tom Araya’s virus took hold. It was contagious this Wednesday evening at the Toyota Music Factory in Irving, affecting thousands of Slayer fans and causing many of them to scream “Fucking Slayer!” at inappropriate times: in the bathroom taking a piss, in line for a $13 beer, outside for the smoke that never lasts long enough.
He was dressed in black like other Slayer fans, only his dark hair was more conservative. Short and stocky, he seemed dazed and confused as he struggled to grasp what concert security was trying to tell him.
“Once you go out, you can’t come back in,” the concert security guard explained again in a much louder voice. “Your ticket is no longer valid.”
“Man, I just went outside for minute,” he replied, shaking his head. “I didn’t know.”
His two buddies looked as if a family member just died. He’d been waiting 30 years to see Slayer live, and they felt horrible for him. But they weren’t about to leave the show and join him in the car. Tonight was Slayer’s final, final show. The band is hanging up its horns after nearly four decades slaying the stage, and die-hard Slayer fans had packed the Toyota Music Factory to say goodbye and lose their shit when hits “Angel of Death,” “Raining Blood” and “South of Heaven” erupted like a hell storm.
It has been a helluva ride for the guys: 12 studio albums, two live albums, four gold records, two Grammy Awards and five nominations. They weathered the loss of founding member Jeff Hanneman and faced down religious groups that disapproved of their satanic lyrics. They fought the Kardashians and won.
When they announced their farewell tour about a year ago, tributes began pouring in. In a May 2018 article, Rolling Stone reminisced on the times Slayer fans lost their shit: the New York City’s Felt Forum when they ripped the seats out, lit them on fire and threw them onstage; the Denver concert where the audience became raving demons, forcing the band to take a 10-minute break before finishing the show; and the Palladium gig that caused a riot when 200 Slayer fans were turned away.
At the Wednesday night show, Slayer fans seemed muzzled and only unleashed in the mosh pit that spun like a black hole in front of the stage. It may have been because the police lurked in the shadows, though their presence didn’t stop the marijuana fog from lingering over section 300 where this lowly reporter entered the fifth dimension for 3 hours and 33 minutes.
I found myself in a similar dimension when I caught Slayer’s first trip to Dallas on their farewell tour in June at The Bomb Factory. It was an intimate show with the same hellish themes. I assumed it would be their last when I reviewed it for the Dallas Observer, and then the band added more dates in December and returned.
When I saw the Slayer fan being hassled by security and the ticket overseer, I nearly said fuck it and walked away. It’s never good to get involved, especially when a badge makes an appearance, or so I’ve been told. But I also didn’t want to risk another riot erupting because venue employees turned away a Slayer fan who paid hard-earned money for a ticket just because he stepped outside to have a smoke or grab some weed from his car. So I asked myself, "What would Slayer do?"
“Here, man,” I told him, handing him my extra ticket. I’d gotten a plus one when I decided to review the show again, but she bailed on me before the show.
“Ah, man, I don’t have any money,” he replied.
“It’s cool, man. Don’t worry about it.”
He looked at me like I was crazy. His friends were stunned. Concert security wasn’t sure what to do. The ticket overseer seemed relieved. “Are you sure?” she asked before she scanned the ticket.
I nodded and thought the Slayer fan was about to cry. His buddy offered to buy me a beer. I told him it was no big deal. Hell, I didn’t have to pay for the ticket. He insisted, and I didn’t refuse.
As I waited for my beer, the Slayer fan approached.
“Thanks again, man,” he said. “I’ve been waiting 30 years to see them.”
“No worries, man. Can’t let a fan miss Slayer’s final show. It’s fucking Slayer.”
“Fucking Slayer!” he replied.
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