Let’s Fix Your Setlist: Slayer’s Final Tour

LEFT TO RIGHT: Paul Bostaph, Tom Araya, Gary Holt, Kerry King

Decibel reader Dwight Olson is a pretty big Slayer fan, having seen them over two dozen times throughout their career. As the thrash gods tour the world saying their goodbyes to the stage, Olson considers how Slayer could alter their setlist to cover each of their albums and pull out a few deeper cuts.

As a person that’s seen Slayer several times (around 25), their setlist doesn’t change much over time. When touring for a new studio release, they play a handful of songs off that album, but they have a list of core songs that they rarely stray from. It’s nice to hear these classics from time to time, but I was hoping they would have switched it up a bit more for their farewell tour. I would have killed to see them play some of their deeper cuts they haven’t played live in decades, if ever. While sticking with the spirit of their current setlist, I have changed a few of these songs around, and provided the reasoning behind it. I am confident these changes will help quench the thirst of their diehard fans.

  1. Repentless – I would keep this song the same. It’s a good opener with high energy. It’s also new enough that it’s not played out.
  2. Blood Red – Not my favorite song off the Seasons album, but I’ll stick with their choice because they haven’t played it live in years.
  3. Disciple / Altar of Sacrifice – They’ve played “Disciple” live probably nonstop since God Hates Us All was released. I would change it to “Altar of Sacrifice.” It’s an evil classic that sets the mood for the rest of their early material.
  4. Mandatory Suicide / Live Undead – I love “Mandatory Suicide” as much as the next person, but I would change this heavy-rotation hit with a song off the same album that I can’t remember ever seeing them play live.  
  5. Hate Worldwide / Evil Has No Boundaries – From the World Painted Blood album, the two songs they usually rotate through are the title track and “Hate Worldwide.” I will replace this album representative later in their set, but for now, I’m completely captivated by watching them play the opening track off their debut album.
  6. War Ensemble – This is one of their bread and butter songs I think I’ve seen them play every time since Seasons was released. What better way to stick to the spirit of their set than to leave this song exactly where it is?
  7. Jihad – This is the only appearance from the Christ Illusion album. I would rather it be “Cult,” but this song has good energy as well.
  8. When the Stillness Comes / Playing with Dolls – This is the representative from the World Painted Blood album that I mentioned earlier. I swapped these two songs out because “Playing with Dolls” has more of a mellow tempo that replaces “Stillness” perfectly.
  9. Postmortem – Great classic! They added to this song to their rotation a few years back, so it’s still pretty fresh.
  10. Black Magic – I would never complain about hearing any song off their first album.
  11. Payback – With the loss of “Disciple,” this is their only song from the God Hates Us All gem. It’s pissed off, they say “fuck” a lot. They haven’t played it live for many years. Good choice, guys!
  12. Seasons in the Abyss / Captor of Sin – No offense “Seasons,” but I would go complete apeshit watching them play “Captor of Sin.”
  13. DittoheadDivine Intervention never gets the credit it deserves. “Dittohead” is a solid cut that takes me back whenever I hear it.
  14. Dead Skin Mask / Kill Again – I know I’m going to piss off a lot of people by saying this, but I’m sick of seeing them play “Dead Skin Mask” at every show. I think “Kill Again” is the perfect replacement. It’s been probably 30 years since they’ve played it live, so this is the perfect gift to any Slayer fan.
  15. Hell Awaits / At Dawn They Sleep – I know it’s blasphemy to replace “Hell Awaits,” but “Dawn” is a lesser-played, brutal fucking track off the same album. I also strategically placed the two Hell Awaits songs together to drive the crowd fucking nuts.
  16. South of Heaven – I would keep “South of Heaven” where it is. It’s a classic, everyone knows it and it gives Tom’s voice a chance to rest when the crowd sings along.
  17. Raining Blood / Can’t Stand You – How can a person go to a Slayer show without seeing them play “Raining Blood”? It’s a good anthem song, but I would start my tribute to Jeff by playing “Can’t Stand You” off the Undisputed Attitude album. It may be a song from a mostly punk cover album, but it’s from Jeff’s punk band Pap Smear.
  18. Chemical Warfare – There’s no way in hell I’m getting rid of this one!
  19. Angel of Death – Slayer’s ultimate tribute to Jeff, an anthem, a crowd favorite, a masterpiece!

If you can hear me, Slayer, I know you’re busy with your final tour and all, but would you please take this constructive feedback into consideration? I would be at complete peace with myself after witnessing such a divine event.