The current Slayer, Testament and Caracass tour includes stops in San Francisco, Las Vegas and… Bakersfield, California. In a puzzling scheduling move, they decided to skip Los Angeles on the first leg of the tour, so I made the trek to the Rabobank Arena on Friday, March 25, 2016.
I have been attending Slayer concerts since the 1980’s and every show is rowdy and the pits are nuts, but the show in Bakersfield let me down in a big way and I think Slayer was also let down by the fans reactions.
Don’t get me wrong, Slayer’s performance was awesome as usual. Their 90 minute set included: ‘South of Heaven’, ‘Repleteness’, ‘Mandatory Suicide’ and ‘Angel of Death’. They sounded excellent and were very loud, but for this show, the stage had no pyro and just one single backdrop that was a giant painting of the ‘Repentless’ album cover with glow in the dark paint.
Unfortunately though, the fans in this small town were just not into the show. In fact, it was so bad that between songs, you could almost hear a pin drop. There was a limited amount of cheering after each song and at one point, singer Tom Araya mentioned that it was a rough crowd and I’m not talking about the pit or the moshing… I’m talking about just being dead… almost like a comedian standing on stage wondering why isn’t anyone laughing.
During the show, someone threw what looked like a rag toward the stage. Araya looked kind of upset and appeared to wonder why anyone would throw anything. He made it a point to the fans that it was not cool to throw anything. From then on, it seemed like they just went through the motions and wanted to get off stage as quick as possible. There was no encore.
Even though I drove 4 hours round trip from Los Angeles to see this show, it was still a great performance by all the bands, but I wish they would have done a show closer to L.A. I dont think Slayer will be returning to Bakersfield anytime soon. -Ralph
Iron Maiden brought ‘The Book of Souls Tour’ to Las Vegas, Nevada at Mandalay Bay Events Center on February 28, 2016, one of the nine U.S. stops on their current trek through North America.
Arriving in Vegas from Los Angeles, we immediately made our way to the airport to catch a glimpse of ‘Ed Force One’. After driving around the entire airport, we were finally able to spot the plane. We stopped the car, but left it running, climbed up a little hill and started taking photos before airport security came and kicked us out.
This is Iron Maiden’s third consecutive tour with lead singer Bruce Dickinson piloting Ed Force One, a 747 airplane that is used to carry the crew, band and production staff.
Next we made it to the venue and it was evident right away that it was going to be a madhouse to get inside. About 5,000 people were standing in five different lines waiting to get in and it was only 5 p.m… doors didn’t open until 7pm.
Since this is not my first concert, my experience told me the best place to hang out and wait for the doors to open was to be upfront. When the doors finally opened, we were able to enter soon after the first large group of fans and then once inside, managed to find a perfect spot right in the middle about 10 to 15 feet away from the stage.
When the lights went down, it was on for Iron Maiden and they blasted through a set that included “Children Of The Damned” (performed for the first time on tour in seven years) and six tracks from the new album ‘The Book of Souls’.
The setlist also included ‘Powerslave’, ‘Fear of the Dark’, ‘Iron Maiden’ and the title track from ‘The Book of Souls’, during which Iron Maiden mascot ‘Eddie’ took to the stage and proceeded to get the fans fired up a little more.
During the show, Dickinson asked how many fans are from Las Vegas, and a nice cheer went up. When he asked how many fans are NOT from Las Vegas, the venue went nuts!
The production of the stage was set up to make it look like a Mayan Temple with pyramids and with the Pyrotechnics and amazing light show, it was a killer spectacle and a great time for all Maiden fans at the sold out show.
Here are a few additional photos and video of Iron Maiden performing ‘Wasted Years’… Enjoy. -Ralph