Augusta Civic Center
July 11, 200
(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.