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Slayer said goodbye to NYC @ MSG w/ Primus, Ministry & Pantera (pics, setlist)

In 1991, Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth tri-headlined a tour called ‘Clash of the Titans’ which hit Madison Square Garden in NYC. Alice in Chains was the opener, making for a solid four band bill. Almost 30 years later, Slayer returned to Madison Square Garden, this time as the headliner of their own farewell tour, though it was once again a very solid four band bill of beloved rock bands — each with many and overlapping fans.

Slayer frontman and bassist Tom Araya, one of two original Slayer members still in the band (RIP Jeff Hanneman), took a few moments to just take everything in during the legendary metal band’s sold out headlining set on Saturday night (11/9). It’s possible he does that every show, giving the crowd a slight break before he starts pummeling them again with a loud-as-fuck wall of fast riffs and evil sounds, but it’s especially common for artists to do so at MSG, a major milestone in any artist’s career, and — cynicism aside — this one was made even more special thanks to it being the band’s final NYC show ever. Tom thanked the crowd more than once for being part of his life, and made sure to tell everybody how much he’d miss us. He asked us who was there in 1991. The whole band — including original guitarist Kerry King, Exodus’ Gary Holt (guitarist since 2013) and drummer Paul Bostaph (since 2013, but also from 1992–2001) — spent a bunch of time on stage after the last song, taking pictures with the crowd behind them, waving, and throwing out picks and sticks. Most people stayed until they had completely left the stage.

side note: This was my second MSG show in less than a month, the last one being the also-special Misfits reunion show, which not only had Glenn Danzig and the other Misfits members reveling, but included original Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo who was behind the kit when Slayer played there in 1991.

When Tom wasn’t talking, the crowd was being treated to 20 of the heaviest songs (vs the 11 they played at MSG in 1991) ever played by an MSG headliner. And there was fire. Lots of actual flames. Read more about the similar set they played earlier on the tour in Chicago, in our previous review.

Phil Anselmo‘s Pantera set meanwhile started at the ungodly hour of 6pm! Who is getting to a show that early? A lot of people apparently:

Sadly, I was not one of those people, despite the Pantera set being a big reason I was excited for this tour (life got in the way).

I did get there in time for Ministry though (they went on a bit before 7pm), and despite their set time they also delivered the kind of set you’d expect from the still-going industrial veterans. The unmistakable and charismatic Al Jourgensen — dreadlocks included — still has the stamina to be an engaging frontman, not to mention the sense of humor. Though some technical difficulties caused speakers to cut out a few times, the sound otherwise was loud and clear, and the crowd moshed, cheered and sang along accordingly to a mix of fan favorites and Ministry’s cover of Black Sabbath’s “Supernaut.”

Primus also had the sound and visuals you would expect from the three-piece band who has been around since 1984 and who can headline venues as big as they can. And though they may have been the only set with no mosh pit, they were no less engaging. Ending with the back to back hits “My Name Is Mud” and “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver,” Primus’ 12 song set also included a Rush cover, the pig mask, and some very nice words by virtuoso bassist and forever quirky frontman Les Claypool. He mentioned that Primus does not usually agree to be an opening band, because after all they are Primus, but that when SLAYER — who he said never compromised in their career — asks you to open, you fucking open for Slayer. He also then reminded people not enjoying the set that then would have been a great time to go buy a Slayer t-shirt (I didn’t see anybody matching that description from where I was standing). Primus fit right in at a metal fest. Primus fit right in at a jam band fest. In all cases, Primus most definitely do not suck.

The Slayer/Primus/Ministry/Pantera tour continues on. Check out photos from the show in the gallery above, and the setlists and some videos below.

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SLAYER SETLIST
Repentless
Mandatory Suicide
World Painted Blood
Postmortem
Hate Worldwide
War Ensemble
Stain of Mind
Disciple
When the Stillness Comes
Born of Fire
Payback
Seasons in the Abyss
Jesus Saves
Chemical Warfare
Hell Awaits
South of Heaven
Show No Mercy
Raining Blood
Dead Skin Mask
Angel of Death

PRIMUS SETLIST
Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers
Too Many Puppies
Sgt. Baker (with ‘Too Many Puppies’ reprise)
The Seven
Frizzle Fry
Cygnus X-1 (Rush cover)
Pudding Time
Mr. Krinkle
Welcome to This World
Professor Nutbutter’s House of Treats (First Verse Only)
My Name Is Mud
Jerry Was a Race Car Driver

MINISTRY SETLIST
The Missing
Deity
Stigmata
Supernaut (Black Sabbath cover)
Just One Fix
N.W.O.
Thieves
Jesus Built My Hotrod

PHIL ANSELMO’S PANTERA SET
Mouth for War
Becoming
Yesterday Don’t Mean Shit
Strength Beyond Strength
Goddamn Electric
This Love
Fucking Hostile
Walk

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photos by Katherine Tyler/MSG Photos and Mathieu Bredeau

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