Sunday had the hottest afternoon of the festival. The sun was so intense and the heat made people seek fresh solutions. A rare sight of bigger queues for the sinks than for the toilets could be spotted. People would either drink liters of water or fill their cups and pour water down the head or both. The staff members would go through the venue with hoses to refresh people, including bigger hoses in front of the mainstages. The main attractions of this day must have been the two huge structures that poured water. It was unbelievable the number of people waiting for their time to get completely wet. Contributing to heating up the place a bit more, Clutch were blasting their heavy blues, giving people a reason to dance.
The first farewell of the evening was made by Lynyrd Skynyrd, who said the last goodbye to their French fans, who won’t certainly forget this concert, as some had tears on their faces by the end of the show. They even pranked the fans, going off the stage without playing Free Bird and the staff coming in to start dismantling the stage. Of course they returned, extending the duration of the concert beyond what was supposed.
Seeing Anthrax live is a bliss that fulfills hearts with the purest feeling of happiness. Especially when the concert is nothing but the greatest classics of the band. They freed themselves from the songs of their last release – For all kings – and the result was some crazy shit going on. Joey is a unique entertainer. As always, he messed around with people from the audience. The stage wasn’t big enough for him to run, for many times he went down to some platforms under it. He must have stepped in every square inch of the stage. At every Anthrax show, it’s impossible not to notice and not to get impressed by Frank Bello. This man is a beast. His delivery to the show is indescribable, it feels like he’s possessed by the devil.
And do you know what happens when you don’t do a proper War Dance? Joey stops the show and Scott makes sure everyone, especially people in the back, get the message that it’s mandatory to go fucking nuts. It was sweet to see In the End live, as it represents a tribute to Dio, Dimebag and, more recently, Lemmy as well. The crowd even did a wall of death, and why not? Joey wasn’t particularly happy singing this one, as his voice broke a few times. It happened the same sometimes during the show, but overall he was incredible, it’s unbelievable he’s almost 60.
By the time the show ended, Cannibal Corpse was already playing at the Altar. Due to the Free Bird prank, the two mainstages were delayed so people had to rush. But you know, speed combines well with this concert. It’s remarkable how necks are able to survive this band’s live performances. The extreme music imposes a tremendously aggressive headbanging. It’s incredibly powerful, dirty, unscrupulous. Just a perfect kind of evil.
Slayer is a gift to metal music. Their performance in Clisson on that Sunday night, their last show in France ever, will never be forgotten by the thousands of people who experienced that incredible moment. Everything was perfect. The scenery of the stage had all a metalhead could wish for to please our Lord Satan – tons of fire, inverted pentagrams that burst into flames from time to time and all this extremely violent adorable music that we spent half of our lives, or maybe more, listening to it. Since 2015, when the Repentless album was released, Slayer’s shows have this amazing intro that’s pure poetry followed by a killing Repentless, the single itself, that instantly wakes our heads and force us to start abusing our necks. It's kinda impressive how after all these years Slayer was still able to deliver such a great theme, that was such a success.
During the show people would scream for anything – besides the typical “Slaaayer” between every fucking song, people would scream the last word of every song line for many seconds. It made no sense at all, and yet, it fitted perfectly. It was so crazy during War Emsemble, people kept on screaming “Waaaar” for so much time, what a fucking insanity. It was clear that people were truly enjoying the concert, since many all around had angelical smiles on their faces, or strangers smiling at each other with the complicity that they knew they were living a truly special moment.
Even more special was when it began to rain at the exact moment Raining Blood was starting. That was pure poetry. The crowd welcomed the rain before continuing with the aggressive headbanging. By the time the show ended, the sky was filled with fireworks. Tom Araya was standing on stage thanking the crowd, saying goodbye and admitting he would miss us. At this moment eyes have gone wet and tears started to roll.
This was not only the best concert of the festival. This was a magical farewell of one of the greatest metal bands from all time. Is life even possible after Slayer has gone forever? They make our limited time on Earth totally worth living.
After this killing gig, Tool came too hastily on the stage. Bodies were still covered in an indescribable energy and preposterous smiles wouldn’t abandon the faces. But people slowly entered the atmospheric daze and the previous state of euphoria gave place to a sense of tranquility that brought peace to souls. This was the only concert of the whole festival in which the screens didn’t show the performance, but rather psychedelic images. It was amazing to see Tool live, many for the first time, after a long time of waiting. After 12 years, France had the chance to see the band performing its greatest masterworks and two of the new songs from the upcoming album.
Going back to normal life after such an immersive experience can only lead to a numb feeling of emptiness. In Hellfest we take a break from reality for four days. We are pretty much in our world, where everything is created based on our preferences. But as members of society, we have to get back to our obligations, keeping in our memory and heart the incredible moments we just witnessed.