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