Slayer’s The Final Campaign Tour Brings The End Of An Era




Slayer brings the “Final Campaign” tour to the Oracle Arena in Oakland for one last show before they stop touring. After this stop, the band makes its final dates in Las Vegas and two final shows at The Forum in Los Angeles. When Slayer came through this area earlier in the tour and I was unable to make the show, I thought that the opportunity to see them one last time had passed. I was glad to know that the band wanted to end their run with a few last shows in California and made of the stops Oakland.




I’ve had odd musical relationship with the band. In the mid-eighties, I was more into hair metal then I was in thrash. I listened to other so called thrash metal acts but I just didn’t get into their music. At the time that other bands of this genre were changing their styles and sound, I realized that Slayer were not following the trend. It wasn’t because Slayer couldn’t change, it was because they knew who they were, what they wanted to convey, and the music they made they believed in. This is what brought me back to really listening to the band and appreciating who they were.

At the venue I notice that the Bar Lounge isn’t that busy which is odd for a Slayer show. I realize this is because the majority of people are already on the floor or in their seats eagerly anticipating this show. With Phil Anselmo & The Illegals, Ministry, and Primus opening the show; everyone was in for a full night of music.



The show starts with “Delusions of Saviour” playing through the system as rotating crosses and Slayer logos are shown on the dark curtain covering the front of the stage. As the curtain drops we see the silhouettes of the band members as flames engulf the stage and and “Repentless” is played.

With Tom Araya on vocals/bass, Kerry King of guitar, original Exodus guitarist Gary Holt on guitar, and original Forbidden drummer Paul Bostaph completing the current line up; the band has made their mark in the music world as the end their touring career.



The band hammered through “Mandatory Suicide”, World Painted Blood”, and “Post Mortem” as the fans continued to gather more and more to the front of the security rail to be closer to the band. The mosh pit became huge in the middle of the floor. As I watched them in their circle, I didn’t see the brutal carnage of the fans but the unity of loyal patrons making one final hurrah.

It was great (and rare) to see so many smiles come from Araya throughout the evening as he looked out at the crowd. This was a man who was living and loving every minute on stage. Slayer continued to annihilate the crowd with “Hate Worldwide”, “War Ensemble”, “Satin of Mind”, and Disciple”. While watching the band it was easy to tell that Holt has been a great replacement to step in after the passing of Jeff Hanneman and proved to be an integral part of the band. Holt brings an on stage energy that is equaled by his guitar technique.




Araya thanked the crowd several times throughout the night for joining the band as the come that much closer to leaving the stage permanently. The show continued with “When the Stillness Comes”, Born of Fire”, Payback”, as well as “Seasons of The Abyss”. It was cool to hear that the mighty Slayer had still been changing up their setlist during these final shows and you were not doing the same show from town to town.

It felt bittersweet to know that unless you were attending the Las Vegas of Los Angeles shows that tonight will be the last time you see this great band. At least the night was not over and we the fans were treated to “Jesus Saves”, “Chemical Warfare”, “Hell Awaits”, and my favorite “South of Heaven”.



As Slayer played the title track to their debut Album “Show No Mercy”, you knew that the evening was coming close to an end. Up next was “Raining Blood”, “Dead Skin Mask” and the finale “Angel Of Death”. The fans huddle closer to the front rails to show their allegiance to the band and to hopefully get one last guitar pick or drumstick. As the house lights came on and the show finished, the band all left the stage except for Araya. He stood there looking at the crowd and listening to the cheers and was soaking it all in. Shortly after that King, Holt, and Bostaph rejoined Tom on stage to say their goodbyes and to thank the crowd by tossing out those picks and drumsticks as the fans hoped.



I witnessed the end of an era as these titans of thrash metal and part of the “Big 4” leave the road permanently. We the fans thank you for staying true to the music you created and we hope you know that the band will be missed.

Slayer should know that the 35 plus years as a band has made a huge difference in the music world.


“Thank you Slayer for all that you’ve done”.



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