Come for the shirt, stay for the band. There’s a story behind this show… that is basically summarized in the previous sentence. Last time I saw Slayer I hemmed and hawed about buying a jersey shirt. It was about $100 and I thought I’d be able to find one on eBay after the show. Maybe even one I liked better. I know it’s the last tour and I don’t have a Slayer shirt. I do have Slayer socks. Those are what set this show in motion.
Island Girl stopped by for a visit and saw my socks. I told her I regret not getting the shirt last summer. “Well, they’re still playing a few dates.” We looked and two seemed doable. Kansas City or Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. I thought Kansas would offer an interesting glimpse into Americana. My only other venture into that town was a quick stop en route to Pueblo, Colorado. Barbecue and massage were the extents of my adventures. I also anticipated that fans there would be hungry for a loud and fast show.
Palm Beach won for some key reasons. It was a Saturday night show before Mother’s Day and Island Girl’s mother lives 30-minutes from the venue. She had already been there for a day when I got in on Friday night. We went for coffee then dinner with the fam and their friends. Lovely time; of course her family is amazing. The next morning was swimming in the ocean, reading on the beach, lunch, and sitting by the pool. Very Florida. Lots of questions about my tattoo. I was assured it would be a hot topic for weeks to come.
The venue is a Live Nation amphitheater similar to Camden but it seemed a bit smaller. Ushers at the gates offered us $10 upgrades to pav seats. We were happy on the lawn now that the forecast shifted to exclude rain. What’s that straight ahead? The merch booth! What’s that on the rack? The jersey. I had remembered it as a hockey jersey but it’s more like a baseball jersey. Try the medium, fits great, take my money!
Deeper inside we realize we’ve missed Cannibal Corpse and Amon Amorath which I was very sad about. I’ve been wanting to see Amon live for years. Instead, we caught Lamb of God and all of Slayer of course. Huge bonus at this venue vs last summer, they weren’t shutting down the mosh pits. Although…
Florida mosh pits are totally different from any I’ve seen. It’s basically people running in a circle. I have no idea how this happened. It’s as if they saw one from a bad angle and had to interpret what to do from incomplete data. The fun part was a little kid on someone’s shoulders doling out high-fives. That was cute. The sad part was the second and third swastika tattoos I saw that night. Loud and proud on a chest about 6 inches across. I entered the pit soon as Slayer came on and tried my best to turn it into something other than running laps. Some played along but I was more confused than anything else.
It started to sink in that this was going to be the last Slayer show I’ll probably see. At the end of the show, Tom took lots of time to soak up the love from the crowd. He moved to the front of the stage and went to both sides just looking into the throng of adoring fans. He smiled at us and took the time to look across each area of the venue. Returning to the mic, he thanked us again and said how much he’ll miss us. I believe him, it was truly touching. I know he makes more money on his cattle ranch and has a bad back plus a few grandkids. He really stayed out this long because Kerry wouldn’t let it die. So close to 40 years. I’ll miss them. If you’ve seen them, you know what I mean.1 like