Thousands of fans of SLAYER fans witnessed the band's last-ever concert at The Forum in Inglewood, California on Saturday night (November 30) during the second of two last tour dates dubbed "The Final Campaign".
At the conclusion of SLAYER's set, bassist/vocalist Tom Araya addressed the crowd, thanking the group's fans for supporting him and his bandmates for nearly four decades.
"Thank you. Thank you very much," he said. "I want to thank you for sharing your time with us. Time is precious. So I thank you for sharing that time with us. Thank you. I'm gonna miss you guys. But the most important thing I want to thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you. Good night. You guys be safe."
The setlist for the show was as follows:
01. South Of Heaven
04. World Painted Blood
05. Hate Worldwide
06. War Ensemble
07. Stain Of Mind
09. When The Stillness Comes
10. Born Of Fire
12. Seasons In The Abyss
13. Jesus Saves
14. Chemical Warfare
15. Hell Awaits
16. Dead Skin Mask
17. Show No Mercy
18. Raining Blood
19. Mandatory Suicide
20. Angel Of Death
SLAYER's final world tour began on May 10, 2018 with the band's intention to play as many places as possible, to make it easy for the fans to see one last SLAYER show and say goodbye. By the time the 18-month trek wrapped at the Forum, the band had completed seven tour legs plus a series of one-off major summer festivals, performing more than 140 shows in 30 countries and 40 U.S. states.
SLAYER's final world tour has been a wild ride. Three bus drivers, four truck drivers, and a crew of 32 have traveled all over the world to set the stage for this farewell. At most shows, SLAYER's pyro expert set off 160 pounds of propane and 10 liters of 99% isopropyl alcohol, prompting the Phoenix New Times reviewer to comment on the "eyebrow-singeing pyrotechnics that could be felt even 10 rows behind the pit." In Toronto, one diehard fan was ejected from the concert before SLAYER took the stage, so jumped into Lake Ontario (that surrounds the Budweiser Arena) and swam back to the venue. The Tampa Bay Times' Jay Cridlin wrote, "Beginning with the throttling opener 'Repentless', SLAYER tore through their set like a flaming cigarette boat across the river Styx, charring up a vicious circle pit by the stage," and Detroit's Gary Graff noted in his Oakland Press review the "10,000 headbangers who skipped the 'Game Of Thrones' finale to pay homage to the pioneering quartet." "The sheer physicality of their show was something to behold and was yet another indication that while the band may be calling it a career, they are going out on top, playing at their absolute best," wrote Andy Lindquist for the SF Sonic.
Araya talked about his possible retirement in a 2016 interview with Loudwire. He said: "At 35 years, it's time to collect my pension. [Laughs] This is a career move." He continued: "I'm grateful that we've been around for 35 years; that's a really long time. So, yeah, to me, it is. Because when we started off, everything was great, because you're young and invincible. And then there came a time where I became a family man, and I had a tough time flying back and forth. And now, at this stage, at the level we're at now, I can do that; I can fly home when I want to, on days off, and spend some time with my family, which is something I wasn't able to do when [my kids] were growing up. Now they're both older and mature. So now I take advantage of that." Araya added: "Yeah, it just gets harder and harder to come back out on the road. 35 years is a long time."
Tom also revealed another reason for his diminished enjoyment of the touring life. He said: "There's things that have gone on in my life that have made me change how I play as a bass player. I had neck surgery, so I can't headbang anymore. And that was a big part of what I enjoyed doing what I do — singing and headbanging. I liked knowing that I was one of the fucking badass headbangers. That played a big part. Now I just groove with the music, which is cool, because I'm grooving with the music and the feel of the songs, so that's changed a little for me."
SLAYER has been touring in support of its latest album, "Repentless", which was released in September 2015 via Nuclear Blast. That effort marked the band's first release since the death of SLAYER's co-founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman.
Hanneman contracted necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating disease, in January 2011 from a spider bite in his backyard. The infection ravaged the flesh and tissues of Hanneman's arm, leading to numerous surgeries, skin grafts and intense periods of rehab that forced him into semi-retirement and left him near death at several points.
Hanneman eventually died in May 2013 from alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. He is credited for writing many of SLAYER's classic songs, including "Angel Of Death" and "South Of Heaven".
Original SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo was effectively fired from the band after sitting out the group's Australian tour in February/March 2013 due to a contract dispute with the other members of SLAYER. He has since been replaced by Paul Bostaph, who was previously SLAYER's drummer from 1992 until 2001 and recorded four albums with the band.