Archive for Augusta

SLAYER’S STILL REIGNING DVD…the show

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

SLAYER
Augusta Civic Center
Augusta, ME
July 11, 2004

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(These photos and many others now available for sale.  Email: IamKevin@fairwarning.com)

***
Part four of a five-part series I am doing this week as I look back at the making of Slayer’s Still Reigning DVD. From load in to load out, I was there with the band.
***

One of my favorite parts of being a rock photographer is the final moments before the show. There is a certain electricity that is present when a band walks from their dressing room to the stage. You can feel the power of this electricity increase with each step as the band gets closer and closer to the stage. The energy must have been contagious because even I got caught up in the moment…I can be seen leading the band out of the dressing room on the DVD’s bonus footage. I had never seen the band more focused for a show than they were that evening…trust me, I have been seeing and shooting them since the early 1980’s. This was their night and their dream was about to be realized.

The intro music rand through the venue and the band exploded onto the stage. Here is the entire set-list for this historic gig:

Intro / Darkness Of Christ
Disciple
War Ensemble
Hallowed Point
Necrophiliac
Mandatory Suicide
Fight Til Death
Spill The Blood
Payback
Dead Skin Mask
Hell Awaits
South Of Heaven
—————
Angel Of Death
Piece By Piece
Necrophobic
Altar Of Sacrifice
Jesus Saves
Criminally Insane
Reborn
Epidemic
Postmortem
Raining Blood

As the band began to bring Postmortem to a close I knew it was due or die time. I glanced at the kids that were crushed behind me in the front row and they had no idea what they were about to bear witness to. I only had moments to get ready. The kids behind me looked at me like I was a freak when they saw me wrapping and covering my cameras with a contraption I had built out of cardboard, duct tape, and plastic trash bags. There was no way I was going to chance my camera equipment getting covered in blood. No one really knew how this thing was going to work.

Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman began the screechy, dive-bomby guitar intro to Raining Blood. As Dave Lombardo jumped in with his pounding triple drumbeat, the stage lights began to turn on and off – blackness, bright light, blackness, bright light. Then we saw it, our first glimpse. Just as the stage lights turned on for that brief moment, huge buckets of blood – I am talking gallons and gallons of blood – poured down on the band. It was pure evil. I was sprayed with blood as Tom Araya whipped his head round and round as they roared into the song. Tom and Dave seemed to get the worst of it…they both looked like the skin of their face was cooked and peeled off. Kerry got it pretty bad as well, but his face was still visible.

Surprisingly, Jeff, who was the mastermind of the raining blood idea, was virtually untouched by the blood. Jeff was having some guitar problems during the beginning of the song and walked toward his amp to fix the problem. In doing this, he missed his mark when the gallons of blood were dropped from above. I saw it on his face, he was pissed – and I felt terrible for him. But Jeff was a true professional and continued to perform the song incredibly.

Then exactly on cue, as if they had rehearsed it a million times, the shower of bloody rain began. As Tom screamed out, “Now I shall rain in blood!” and Kerry and Jeff tore into their leads the impossible happened. The venue was raining blood over the stage. It was eerie and demonic, yet it was beautiful. Now the band, including Jeff, were being showered in steady blood-rain and it looked spectacular. For the first time ever, a crowd at a Slayer show were speechless, their eyes were wide open and they jaws were on the floor.

The plan worked perfectly…the blood was contained within the stage, and the crowd stayed completely dry. Flawless. And the rest is Slayer History. As the band and I headed towards the dressing room, I couldn’t help but wonder how Jeff was going to react to the mishap on stage. And, what about the flipside to that – how was the band going to react to Jeff regarding the mishap? Was I about to see a huge Slayer blowout in the dressing room?

Stop by tomorrow as I conclude my weeklong retrospect on Slayer’s Still Reigning DVD.

SLAYER’S STILL REIGNING DVD…the dressing room

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

SLAYER
Augusta Civic Center
Augusta, ME
July 11, 200

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(These photos and many others now available for sale.  Email: IamKevin@fairwarning.com)

***
Part three of a five-part series I am doing this week as I look back at the making of Slayer’s Still Reigning DVD. From load in to load out, I was there with the band.
***

Hatebreed and God Forbid had gotten the crowd warmed up, now it was Slipknot’s turn. Doors had opened a bit late due to the last minute set-up of the blood-rain system, but at least it was complete and ready to go. Whether it was going to really work the way everyone was hoping for was another question.

I photographed a couple of songs during Slipknot’s opening set. If anyone could hold their own as an opener for Slayer, it’s definitely Slipknot. When I finished shooting, I headed back to Slayer’s dressing room to hang with them until they went on. Just before I left the arena floor, I took a good look at the crowd, the venue was oversold, and there was hardly room to stand. Everyone was feeling the excitement of what was soon coming.

The mood in Slayer’s dressing room was surprisingly calm and quiet, but there was still a sense of tension and unspoken worry. I sat alone with Kerry King for quite some time as he strategically whipped up a super-solid set list…saving entire Reign In Blood album as the encore. Kerry put a lot of thought and a lot of heart into this set list. He wanted to make sure that the first half of Slayer’s show was as strong as possible. Slayer has such a huge archive of songs, it was very difficult for Kerry to pick and choose what made it into the set that night.

Then, as soon as Kerry King laced up his Armband Of Nails, much like medication as it kicks in and starts to take effect, the band kicked into overdrive and became the Slayer that we all know. Right in front of me, Jeff and Kerry started jamming together, at full speed. It was amazing, it was like they were onstage and I was the audience. No amps, nothing, just them, their guitars and myself. I didn’t want that moment to end, it was incredible. Dave was violently banging away with his drumsticks on a locker door. Tom seemed to meditate as he sat alone, his mind seemed to be racing in a thousand directions…he was ready.

Through the arena walls we could hear the crow chanting – Slayer, Slayer, Slayer! It was almost time. Jeff was the most eager to get on stage. He was bouncing all over the room, he could hardly contain himself. Then, being the joker that I can be sometimes, I decided to pull a fast one on Jeff. Slayer’s road manager at the time had a very nasally and scratchy tone to his voice – and I could imitate his voice almost flawlessly. I pulled Kerry and Tom aside and told said, “watch this.” I slammed the dressing door open and in my imitated-road manager voice I yelled, “Okay, let’s go, it’s show time…come on, let’s go!” Jeff came running out full speed with his guitar and we were all waiting for him in front of the dressing room door laughing our heads off. Jeff immediately knew he was the butt of a joke and started cracking up. We all laughed it up and cherished the moment. It was a nice way to get rid of the day’s tension, if only for a brief moment. Just then, their real tour manager walked in the dressing room and yelled, “Okay, guys let’s go.”

Stop by tomorrow and every day this week as we get closer and closer to Slayer hitting the stage in my weeklong retrospect of Slayer’s Still Reigning DVD.

SLAYER’S STILL REIGNING DVD…soundcheck

Posted in music, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

SLAYER
Augusta Civic Center
Augusta, ME
July 11, 2004

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(These photos and many others now available for sale.  Email: IamKevin@fairwarning.com)

***
Part two of a five-part series I am doing this week as I look back at the making of Slayer’s Still Reigning DVD. From load in to load out, I was there with the band.

***

As the teams continued to frantically work on the “raining-blood system,” the band readied for soundcheck. Slayer has gone through soundcheck a million times in their career, I am sure they can do it on instinct. Bit for some reason, the band seemed a bit unsure of things, they seemed to worry and stress over many minute details.

Then I heard it, the band, especially Kerry, were very worried about their gear. As the raining-blood system had never been tested, no one knew how much blood was going to pour on their amps, drums and guitars. No one knew if their gear would make it through the song, and no one knew if their gear would be in working condition as they continue on with the Ozzfest Tour the following day in Boston. Kerry and Jeff also had concerns whether or not they would have control of their hands and fingers on their guitar necks once they were covered in blood. These guys are pros, and they wanted to be sure of two things: One – the fans at this gig got the show of their lives and; Two – that this DVD really captured the fury, passion and essence of who Slayer really is.

As soundcheck commenced, it was time for us all to sit down and eat. During dinner, the band picked my brain, asking me what songs were on the War At The Warfield DVD. Slayer have so much respect for their fans…they wanted to make sure that a completely different set was filmed for the fans that evening and not a re-hash of the live DVD that was released prior. However, no one could really eat, as there was still no confirmation on whether or not the blood gimmick was really going to work as planned.

The blood system was being put in place above the stage. A plan had finally been put together and implemented. However, because of time and costs, there would be no testing of the system. It was a one-shot-deal…it would either work or it wouldn’t. This was a good time for Slayer to say a prayer…I wonder who Slayer prays to.

Stop by tomorrow and every day this week as we get closer and closer to Slayer hitting the stage in my weeklong retrospect of Slayer’s Still Reigning DVD.

SLAYER’S “STILL REIGNING” DVD…the morning of

Posted in music, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2008 by Kevin Estrada

Slayer
Augusta Civic Center
Augusta, ME
July 11, 2004

blog_buy_button

(These photos and many others now available for sale.  Email: IamKevin@fairwarning.com)

***
The first of a five-part series I am doing this week as I look back at the making of Slayer’s Still Reigning DVD. From load in to load out, I was there with the band.
***

For years, Slayer had wanted to perform their classic album, Reign In Blood, in its entirety for their fans. Jeff Hanneman, one of the visionaries of the band, wanted to take it a step further. His dream was to somehow have the band perform the closing track, Raining Blood, onstage while a shower of blood rain poured down on the band. I got the call from management, it was time to make Jeff’s dream a reality…and it was happening in just a few days – Augusta, ME of all places.

Slayer was on the Ozzfest tour and planned an off-day show in Augusta. Slayer wanted this show to be an event: First – Slipknot, Hatebreed and God Forbid were all on the bill as the openers (amazing in its own right); Second – Slayer was playing a full set, then as their encore, playing the entire Reign In Blood set; Third – if that was not enough, Slayer was going to somehow make the impossible possible and have it pour and shower blood during the final song of the night.

No one knew exactly how to make the bloody rain work, or if it was going to work at all. They only had a few days to figure this gimmick out, build it, and to pull it off. To make things even more stressful was the decision to film this show for a home DVD. There would only be one chance to make this happen, no practice runs, no re-shoots. The crazy thing is, from my experience in Slayer World, things always seem to work for the best when things are rushed and done at the last minute. Don’t ask me why, but it is true…the more stress and the less time, the better the outcome.

The band flew me in the night before and I arrived at the venue around 10am. They wanted me to document as much as I could that day (you can see a lot more of my photos in the Still Reigning DVD packaging). When I got there, it was mass chaos outside, behind the venue as teams of riggers, plumbers, special fx crews, stage managers, etc. all put their heads together to figure out how to build a contraption that would pour blood on the band, then cover the entire stage with a constant, steady shower of blood rain. Also, this contraption needed to be built in a way that the band could still play their instruments, they needed to avoid flooding the stage and, most importantly, it was important to not get the crowd showered in blood in order to avoid any lawsuits. There was a lot to accomplish and it was just hours before the show and nothing was built, the plans were still being worked on. Needless to say, there was a lot of tension from the band, management, the DVD production team and the venue. These photos really capture the stress of that day. Everyone, including the band, were questioning whether or not this was a good idea.

Stop by tomorrow and every day this week as we get closer and closer to Slayer hitting the stage in my weeklong retrospect of Slayer’s Still Reigning DVD.

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