A collective century of metal descended upon St. Louis, as Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, and Exodus churned 2,000+ fans into a mass of synchronized headbanging!
People of all ages were in attendance at The Pageant. The line outside stretched from the front corner, along the side of the building, past the rear venue parking lot, to the street behind with even more coming from the parking lot beyond. I talked to people in line, and although each said one of the bands was their favorite, they were just as excited to see the other two. The general consensus was this was one of the greatest line-ups many had seen in a long time. The crowd was thrilled to see them all, not only on one bill, but in such a stellar and semi-intimate venue (max capacity is 2,300)… in the interest of full disclosure, I agreed with them.
Slayer came out not only having to fill the big shoes left behind by Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies, but also to show the fans that no matter what negativity has surrounded the band over the past few years, first with drummer Dave Lombardo’s exit then with Jeff Hanneman’s death, they could still play with perfection.
They did not disappoint. From their entrance to their final song, the band played as if they had been together since time immemorial. Of course, the return of Paul Bostaph on drums didn’t hurt, but the connection between original guitarist Kerry King and newcomer Gary Holt (who is playing with both Exodus and Slayer right now) was beyond electric. It was mesmerizing. The two switched between playing leads and rhythm seamlessly, and unless you were watching, it was impossible to tell who was playing which part. To top it off, Tom Araya not only thundered through his bass lines, but also his vocals… including his signature scream during Angel of Death. Adding another layer of perfection was Paul Bostaph on drums–it was if he’d never left and the chemistry among the four was amazing and impeccable.
Suicidal Tendencies had the second slot, giving Gary Holt a break between bands. Although the only original member is Mike Muir (vocals), the rest of his band mates were flawless in their performances, even with early songs War Inside My Head and I Saw Your Mommy, for example and later releases.
Their set was an example of a band owning the stage, coming out strong and playing a non-stop, heavy hitting show. Mike Muir hasn’t slowed down any since the band first emerged in 1981. The stage was his own personal mini-marathon course and he ran over nearly every square inch of open space, the crowd chanting “S-T” during the few breaks between songs. The energy Exodus brought at the beginning of the show was not just continued, but increased with Suicidal Tendencies’ set.
Exodus played a fierce, but quick set, opening with Bonded by Blood. The brief set was necessary due to guitarist Gary Holt pulling double duty as he is the newest member of Slayer and would be playing a full set with them later in the evening. That being said, Holt and the rest, Rob Dukes (vocals), Jack Gibson (bass), Lee Altus (guitar), and Tom Hunting (drums) came out, played loud and fast, got the fans moving (circle pit!) and headbanging early, and left them wanting more. I could tell that many had never seen Exodus live before, and were extremely impressed with the band’s performance.
Overall, the show proved that all three bands, even after 30+ years, are still at the top of their games. No matter the line up changes, controversies, and intervening years, Exodus. Suicidal Tendencies, and Slayer are iconic bands who seem incapable of being anything other than near-perfection.