Tapped as one of the opening acts on SLAYER's "The Final Campaign", the seventh and final leg of the thrash legends farewell world tour, Philip Anselmo and his band THE ILLEGALS will perform a special set of PANTERA classics only. Since the June 2018 death of drummer Vinnie Paul, Anselmo and THE ILLEGALS have been working in various PANTERA songs into their live set.
In a recent interview with the "Talk Toomey" podcast, Anselmo discussed the reasoning and timing behind the PANTERA sets, and what the band's songs mean to those who missed out on seeing the band when they were active.
"It seemed like after Vince died — Vinnie Paul died — there was a big, big, big contingency, I'll say, of people that were, like, 'Man, you should really play some PANTERA songs in tribute. You should really do it. Fuck what everybody else says. Don't worry about what the critics are gonna say about it. Just do it in total tribute,'" he said. "And that's what we've done.
"Gosh, it's like when you do that stuff and you tour — when we're out there, it's either we're gonna do an ILLEGALS set or we're gonna mix it up a little bit, do some ILLEGALS, do some PANTERA, or it's just a straight-up PANTERA set. And it seems like — heck, case in point, would be Warsaw, Poland. We had never played there — PANTERA, I mean. [We] never had a chance to freaking play there. And there's been more than a couple of handful of shows like that where PANTERA had never played these particular cities. So, I guess for the people that live in these cities like Warsaw, it's a chance to see something, at least similar, that they've never seen before. Of course, it's not the classic Dimebag [Darrell, guitar], Vinnie Paul, Rex [Brown, bass] PANTERA. It's not that, and we, of course, we all know that.
"It amazes me — it amazes me, the energy that I see from these audiences," he continued. "And I've gotta touch on the fact that we're playing a lot of these gigs for the younger crowd that grew up listening to PANTERA through their freaking parents. So that's an awesome influx of people, man. It's crazy, man — it really is.
"I never thought I'd do this. I never thought it would come to this. The fact that we've done it I have zero regrets about.
"I look into that audience and see the love people have for these songs, man. And it's sobering. It'll shake you to the core sometimes, but honestly, what gets me through is just seeing how much of a good time people are having, really."
Up until his death in June 2018, Vinnie remained on non-speaking terms with Anselmo, whom the drummer indirectly blamed for the death of "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, who was his brother.
Vinnie Paul and Dimebag co-founded PANTERA. When PANTERA broke up in 2003, they formed DAMAGEPLAN. On December 8, 2004, while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, Dimebag was shot and killed onstage by a troubled schizophrenic who believed that the members of PANTERA were stealing his thoughts.
Vinnie Paul died of dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, as well as severe coronary artery disease. His death was the result of chronic weakening of the heart muscle — basically meaning his heart couldn't pump blood as well as a healthy heart.
Vinnie was buried on June 30, 2018 next to his brother and their mother, Carolyn, at Moore Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Arlington, Texas.