Rob Zombie crawled through Detroit Rock City again with the Hell On Earth tour. This time he brought along heavy hitters Slayer & Exodus. They performed at the DTE Energy Music Amphitheater to a nearly sold out crowd on Friday Night. It was another stormy, hot, 90 degree day in Detroit, but that didn’t stop fans from showing up early and tailgating.
Exodus opened the show, hitting the stage at 7pm. These guys have been around 30+ years, and have had numerous line up changes. The only original member of this band is lead guitarist Gary Holt, who is also touring with SLAYER (as Jeff Hennemans temporary replacement, due to health issues). Exodus played an intense 30 minute set, followed by what was suppose to be a 30 minute set change. It turned into a 60 minute waiting game for Slayer. Was it that Holt needed more time to cool off before coming back out? Or was it the intense golden sunset lighting that was flooding the stage? Who could imagine Slayer playing in that?! The venue was almost full at this point, and once that sun set behind the huge g.a. lawn, the metal heads began stirring and chanting “SLAYYYYYYER!!”
Slayer performed 15 songs in their 70 minute set. These thrashers never disappoint, and the circle pits were forming on the lawn with the first song. Slayer fans were happy & impressed, and most stayed for the Zombie set. Of course there were those die hard fans, that left immediately after the set, complaining about Slayer not headlining. Come to find out, they take turns headlining, with Zombie headlining the outdoor venues, and Slayer headlining the indoor venues.
After shooting the first 3 songs of Slayer, I was quickly escorted backstage and graced with Zombie Laminates! Thanks to the wonderful Piggy D! He was in his dressing room, styling his hair with overpriced Big Sexy Hair hairspray, and baby powdering up his zombie body. He was wearing his new black skeleton bone print spandex! I was in awe of his huge cheetah luggage trunk, filled with leather & fur, bones & spikes. These Zombies do multiple outfit changes during the show, and come up with new fashions for every tour. Piggy D informed me that he makes most of his own killer costumes for the stage, and showed off a recently studded vest he made. He posed for some shots, and let me rummage thru his creations. Piggy D is not only musically talented, but a fashion zombie diva at its best!
The new Zombie drummer Gingerfish (former Marilyn Manson drummer) was touching up his upside down cross face paint in the room, and I made sure to introduce myself. Even though he was kinda scary to took at, he was really mellow and soft spoken. He complained how no one can ever get good shots of him on stage, and I offered to help, but he didn’t seem to care. I then ran into Detroit born guitarist John 5 backstage. He posed for some photos with Piggy D, and we chatted about photography and his solo stuff, but we soon had to part ways. They were about to rock, and I was about to shoot photos and had to get down to the pit. I asked Piggy D for some tips in getting some good shots of him during the first 3 songs. Rob Zombie uses mostly red lights on the first few songs, and they move so fast on stage, making it very difficult to shoot. They also have so many things going on, with high rise video screens, dancing zombies & drumming monsters, crazy skeleton mic stands, and lots of pyro, making it hard to get a clear shots. He recommended I shoot the 2nd song on his side, when he has a moment to break away and come to the edge. His advise was good, yet those 3 songs flew by so fast, it was not long enough!
The Zombie set was pushed so far behind due to Slayer’s lateness. This venue has a curfew of 11pm, with fines for every minute over. The set change was done pretty quickly, and we were eagerly awaiting! Rob announced to the crowd, that he would still perform his entire set, and even though the fine here is $1000 a minute past 11pm, he said “Detroit is worth it!!”
After shooting three songs and ditching the camera gear, I was bound for my front row center seat! I have seen Rob Zombie a dozen times over the years, but not with seats like this! Rob Zombie puts on a theatrical monstrous performance unlike any other! Flamboyant and explosive, its shock rock horror at its best! He performed all his big hits from the White Zombie days & his solo days, adding an extra song to the setlist as the 2nd final encore, “1000 Corpses.”
Check out the tour dates & get the band merch here:
SLAYER SET LIST
@ DTE ENERGY DETROIT 7.22.11
WORLD PAINTED BLOOD
DEAD SKIN MASK
SPIRIT IN BLACK
SEASONS IN THE ABYSS
SOUTH OF HEAVEN
ANGEL OF DEATH
ROB ZOMBIE SET LIST
@ DTE ENERGY DETROIT 7.22.11
SCUM OF THE EARTH
LIVING DEAD GIRL
SICK BUBBLE GUM
NEVER GONNA STOP
MARS NEEDS WOMEN
1000 CORPSES (not listed on setlist)