Slayer say goodbye to German festival fans at Wacken 2019

Photo: Athanasios Kouklas / Festileaks

Slayer played their final European festival show at Wacken Open Air 2019 on Friday night. At the same time this was also their last German festival appearance as the European leg of their farewell tour concluded on Saturday in Stuttgart. Here we gathered all of highlights that happened during the performance.

Slayer announced in 2018, that they will embark on their final world tour, which will last till the end of 2019. This summer, the trash metal legends toured across Europe and performed at several festivals. After their appearance at Hellfest, Download and Graspop, Slayer returned to Wacken Open Air for the last time. This was the fourth time that the band appeared to the festival, while their first show was in 2003.

Evil Had No Boundaries

Photo: Athanasios Kouklas / Festileaks

Slayer started the show with upside down crosses and the logo of the band being projected into the stage. After the quick intro, the band unleashed their thrash power onto the Wacken crowd. Mosh-pits were forming constantly and people were crowd surfing throughout the whole show. After nearly four decades of heavy performaces and successful tours, Slayer were playing probably more focused than ever. The band may not be as young as they were back in the 80s as one of the pioneers of the thrash metal scene, but during their show they have proven once again to the German festival crowd why they are considered thrash legends.

The set

The setlist of the performance did not include any susprises but it was packed with hits from their whole career. They started the show with “Repentless” from their last album and ended with “Angel of Death” from Reign in Blood.

Pyro Warfare

Photo: Athanasios Kouklas / Festileaks

Throughtout the show, Slayer used a unique combination of light and pyro effects. However, apart from the mezmerizing effects, the band also proved from the beginning of their set that what followed was a celebration, which resulted in a performance to remember. The impressive pyrotechnics were combined with a collection of songs from across their discography, while Slayer seemed to refuse to alter any of their tempos or to play in a different key. The band wanted to have a nonstop, unapologetic thrash metal show and so it happened.

Moreover, the double bass and thrash beats from drummer Paul Bostaph shook the Wacken crowd to its core. On the one side of the stage, Kerry King embodied the true essence of Slayer’s signature sound, while Gary Holt showed once more that he has filled his respective role perfectly. As for Tom Araya, lead vocalist and bassist of the band, he showed that he can still scream longer and harder than anybody else. 

Final remarks

Photo: Athanasios Kouklas / Festileaks

And then it was over. After nearly 90 minutes of hellish riffs and heavy vocals, Slayer said thank you to the Wacken crowd for the last time. Tom Araya ​stood then in front of the microphone in the center of the stage spotlighted and gave the most heartbreaking farewell. For most of the fans it was emotional seeing Tom Araya slowly acknowledge the whole crowd for every side of the stage, even as the rest of the band departed. He took the mic to say thank you one last time. “Thank you very much,” he told the fans. “I’m gonna miss you guys.”

Who knows what the future holds for any of these gentlemen? In this bittersweet thrash metal celebration we have to thank also Slayer for nearly four decades of relentless and extreme metal. It may not be how every family says goodbye but it worked for the ones who love Slayer.

Slayer will start their final US tour this fall with their final bow being scheduled at the Los Angeles Forum on Saturday, 30.

How did you enjoy Wacken 2019?

Were you at Wacken 2019 too? We would like to know how you experienced the festival. Below, you can rate the festival in seven different categories. In September, we conclude which festivals were the best during the Festileaks Festival Awards. Participation is voluntary and anonymous.

[awards poll=”festileaks-festival-awards-2019″ festival=”wacken-open-air”]


Photo: Martin Hausler

Slayer are an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California. The band was formed in 1981 by vocalist and bassist Tom Araya and guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. Slayer’s fast and aggressive musical style made them one of the founding “big four” bands of thrash metal. Four of the band’s twelve studio albums have received gold certification in the United States. They have received five Grammy Award nominations, winning one in 2007 for the song ‘Eyes of the Insane’ and one in 2008 for the song ‘Final Six’, both of which were from the album Christ Illusion (2006). Between 1991 and 2013, the band sold five million albums in the United States. After 37 years of recording and performing, Slayer announced in January 2018 that they would embark on their final world tour, which will reportedly come to an end in 2019.

Wacken Open Air 2019

Wacken Open Air is one of the major metal festivals in Europe. It takes place in the village of Wacken in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Wacken first started as a small festival in 1990, but its popularity over the years increased so much that it is now considered the biggest metal festival in the world. It attracts around 80,000 metalheads every year and is always sold out. In 2016, Wacken launched its own brewery.

For more information, see our festival page or the official website

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Wacken Open Air 2024

Wacken, Duitsland
Datum 31 juli - 3 augustus 2024
Cradle of Filth
Tickets Kopen