Augusta Civic Center
July 11, 2004
(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.