Home / Headline News / Live Review And Gallery: Slayer, Primus, Ministry And Philip H. Anselmo and The Illegals At Madison Square Garden In New York City (11.9.19)

Live Review And Gallery: Slayer, Primus, Ministry And Philip H. Anselmo and The Illegals At Madison Square Garden In New York City (11.9.19)

In January of 2018, legendary thrash metal titans Slayer announced that the band would be embarking on their final tour. Who would have thought that after nearly four decades of aggression the reign would be coming to end. And while their final world tour has carried on for nearly two years, making its rounds state side on three separate occasions (legs) along with numerous one-off festival appearances. This gave most fans hope that that the end wasn’t coming anytime soon. When Slayer made the announcement in July, 2019 of upcoming tour dates for 18 cities in November, calling it “The Final Campaign” the last leg of the farewell tour, it became all to surreal for the Slayer Nation, this is it! The day no one wanted to come  was near. This was it, the final chance to see Slayer live one last time, and for fans in the New York City area, it meant watching history be made as Slayer would finally headline a sold out show at the “Worlds Most Famous Arena”, Madison Square Garden. Marking such a huge milestone in the bands career only added to the energy felt walking through the doors of The Garden. This final leg of the tour like those of the past had a stacked bill of bands and fans poured into the sold out show at the “World’s Most Famous Arena” on Saturday evening right as the doors opened not wanting to miss a single act.

The show kicked off at exactly 6 pm, with Philip H. Anselmo and The Illegals taking the stage before a surprisingly well sized crowd, considering how early of show time it was. Before ripping into a set of classic Pantera hits, Anselmo first showed his deepest sincerity thanking the crowd, “thank you all for coming out so early to see us, it really means a lot to us, thank you”, Anselmo then dedicated the set to his late and former Pantera bandmates, brothers Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul. Anselmo and The Illegals properly tore into their set with the classic “Mouth for War” and with that immediately a giant pit broke out on the floor of The Garden, along with that also came the bodies of crowd surfers being tossed over the barriers, the mayhem was fully underway. Although the set was short only having eight songs, it went down smash mouth Pantera style. The biggest highlights of the set were “This Love”, “Fucking Hostile” and of coarse the iconic set closer “Walk”, accompanied by the massive pit on the floor, was also an entire arena banging their heads as they sang along word for word as one of metals most notorious riffs was pounded out.

Phillip H. Anselmo and The Illegals Setlist Here

The pioneering godfathers of industrial metal  Ministry, wasted no time hitting the stage nearly 10 minutes ahead of the scheduled set time, Uncle Al and bandmates got right down to business with “The Missing”. Just as Anselmo and The Illegals, Ministry’s set was held to only eight songs, and just like Anselmo and The Illegals, Ministry’s set was nothing but classics from the band’s past catalog of albums, including a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Supernaut”, which unfortunately saw a few technical issues during the song, none the less Ministry delivered the sold out crowd a fierce 40 minute set highlighted by classics like “Stigmata”, my personal fav “Just One Fix”, “N.W.O.” and the set closer “Jesus Built My Hotrod”.

Following Philip H. Anselmo and The Illegals and Ministry, as direct support was Primus. Many fans of Slayer would argue and say that this didn’t make any sense, or they should have gotten someone way more heavier as they would begin to rifle off a list of bands they would rather see on this bill, but truth of the matter is that any real Slayer fan knows that when asked in interview by Revolver Magazine, who Tom Araya’s favorite bassist are, Araya answered “Les Claypool, he’s the first one I can think of, because he’s just a tremendous bass player”, and this is why Primus makes sense, this also made for  one hell of an eclectic line-up for this bill. There’s absolutely no denying that Primus definitely has a certain appeal to most and their fan base of today at a live show has changed significantly over the years and has seemed to become and look more of a crowd from a Dead rather then the head banging, stage diving fans of yesteryears, still most importantly the music hasn’t changed. 


Ministry Setlist Here

With Primus serving up a more funk infused style of metal than the previous openers, it would have seemed that this was the opportunity for the sold out crowd to take a breather before all hell broke loose. I’m not saying that no one cared about Primus, the vibe wasn’t 100 mph of aggression. Primus was well received from the sold out crowd, as they kicked off their set with “Those Damn Blue-Collar Tweekers” off of 1991’s classic ‘Sailing The Seas Of Cheese’. Primus treated fans to larger set of 12 songs that included a cover of Rush’s “Cygnus X-1” and was highlighted by some of the bands most classic hits that included “Too Many Puppies”, “My Name Is Mud” and rounding off a great set with the closer “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver”.

Primus Setlist Here

The hour had finally arrived! It was time! The time that 20,000 fans had been eagerly awaiting for the entire night, as the Adrenaline pumped through the veins of the sold out crowd, chants of “Slayer, Slayer, Slayer” and growling roars of “Fucking Slayyyeerrr” filled the “Worlds Most Famous Arena”. As the lights dark, the intro “Delusions of Savior” played throughout the arena’s PA, images of  inverting crosses and iconic Slayer logos projected onto the black curtain that hung covering the stage as burst pyro lit up the stage from the back end, amongst deep red lights silhouettes of the Kerry King, Tom Araya, Gary Holt and Paul Bostaph making their way out onto the stage appeared, the cheers from the blood thirsty fans became increasingly louder. As the curtain dropped, a defining roar was let loose as Slayer began ripping into New York City with “Repentless”, an immediate frenzied whirlwind tornado irrupted on the floor of the Garden, with what could possibly be known as one of the largest pits the Garden has ever seen. Like minds exploding through the crowd, bodies were thrown over the barriers from every direction. Slayer would only through more gas onto the already scorching fire set within the Garden’s walls by ripping into the classic “Mandatory Suicide”. The first half of Slayer’s setlist was well diverse with a  blended with a mix of old and new, highlighted with classics like “Postmortem” and “War Ensemble” they were accompanied by more recent heavy fan favs like “Hate Worldwide” and “Disciple”. Throughout their set, Tom Araya would briefly address the crowd on numerous occasions thanking fans while explaining how much this show meant to him. The overall scene that night was literally insane, Slayer sold out the “Worlds Most Famous Arena” (as if we didn’t expect that to happen) the Garden was packed from the floor to the rafters with 20,000 headbanging Slayer bleeding fans all in attendance and on their feet witnessing history being made. We even got to witness Kerry King screw up the beginning to “When the Stillness Comes”, not once but twice, this didn’t seem to bother anyone at all, actually we all got a good laugh from it, including the King himself. 

 The second half of Slayer’s set was kicked off by “Payback”, and from that point on Slayer would relentlessly rip into nothing but classics that highlighted the bands career, with heavy hits like “Jesus Saves”, “Chemical Warfare” and “Hell Awaits”  all had 20,000 screaming lunatic fans signing along the chorus’ at the top their lungs, banging their heads with while raising their horns high the sky, of coarse with all this, the floor remained a constant swell of a tornado pit with bodies continuously being thrown over barriers at the much unexpected security.  

Under the dark red light,  with the squealing sounds from a wammy bar, the most notorious drum intro in thrash metal begins as massive roar from 20,000 fans is unleashed, the start of metals most defining riff begins, “Raining Blood”, it’s then the entire Garden went completely ape shit, even more so then the entire show, and the entire show was complete insanity. Following up, Araya told a brief story about a man named Ed, with “Dead Skin Mask”.  After destroying without mercy for an hour and a half, on stage lit under the green lights, Kerry King, Tom Araya, Gary Holt and Paul Bostaph would sadly play their final song together in New York City while celebrating the life of the “Angel of Death” himself, Jeff Hanneman. From the opening riff the roof of the Garden was blown off, as 20,000 fans brought insanity to a whole other level. The pit on the floor swelled like an out of control tornado, fans all around the arena were snapping their necks banging their heads so hard, the entire arena in unison screaming the lyrics word for word almost drowning out Araya’s voice. Slayer along with 20,000 members of the Slayer Nation fucking completely leveled the “Worlds Most Famous Arena”. Slayer truly went out on top, and surely making Jeff Hanneman proud as he looked down the Garden that night as history was made. When it was all done and the lights were on, the band did their usual tossing of guitar pics and drum sticks to the crowd, taking a group photo their fans behind them and afterwards continued hanging walking around the stage staring out to the crowd soaking in all the love from the fans, while expressing sincere admiration for their loyalty. It was a bitter sweet good bye for both Slayer and fans, but it sure was one hell of a good bye.

As the crowd began making their way down the escalators and stairwells to outside of the Garden, fans continued to cheer “Slayer, Slayer Slayer” and screams of “Fucking Slayer” could be heard all the way to Times Square. 

     Slayer Setlist:

  1. Delusions of Saviour
  2. Repentless
  3. Mandatory Suicide
  4. World Painted Blood
  5. Postmortem
  6. Hate Worldwide
  7. War Ensemble
  8. Stain of Mind
  9. Disciple
  10. When the Stillness Comes
  11. Born of Fire
  12. Payback
  13. Seasons in the Abyss
  14. Jesus Saves
  15. Chemical Warfare
  16. Hell Awaits
  17. South of Heaven
  18. Show No Mercy
  19. Raining Blood
  20. Dead Skin Mask
  21. Angel of Death


About Mark Smitty Neal

NewYork Based Photographer. Music Enthusiast with a background in Graphic Design. Whether I'm shooting a live event or just out wondering the streets its about capturing the moment.

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