Photos and Intro by Out With Ambler
Errant thoughts and interview with Joey “Blue” Gonzalez By Scotty J
Opening these last evenings of Slayer’s final campaign is the legendary Philip H. Anselmo and his band The Illegals. With a setlist referred to as “A Vulgar Display Of Pantera” you know it’s going to be a power-packed show. Pantera fans, from back in the day, were grooving on these classics as well as younger fans. Seeing so many fans, who weren’t even born when these songs were first released, was a fulfilling sight to see. Time is very limited! Tour ends at the end of November so make certain you don’t miss this history in the making!
Errant thoughts by Scotty J…
Once again I find myself envious of Ambler’s experience. But, it’s a required sacrifice to assure her magic captured on camera. While I’m unlikely to ever see Slayer live again (the last time was Chicago Open Air 2018), hopefully Phil Anselmo has many years left in the tank.
It was back in 2018, during the promotion of ‘Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue’, when I first caught up with The Illegals. Phil had been dealing with his chronic back issues, but was hard at work getting back to full health. According to conversations with Joey Gonzalez and Mike DeLeon (featured below), Anselmo had done exactly that! Looking and feeling better than he had in years, Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals were ready to rock out in support of their sophomore album.
Bringing us up to date, Anselmo and his Illegals have gone the nostalgic route on this final leg of Slayer’s tour. Rather than play any songs from their first two albums, Phil and company have opted to rock out some of Pantera’s greatest hits. This was not a decision that came lightly and in fact was given Slayer’s full blessing.
One can only imagine the emotion this must stir. The Abbott brothers are gone. Gone far too soon. Both Dimebag and Vinnie’s deaths came in both sudden and shocking ways. The drama and bad blood that existed between Anselmo and the Abbott’s is well documented. While time is said to heal all wounds, it’s got to be hard when full closure can’t be attained without all participants involved. However, Phil mustered the power to put on a vulgar display, as only he can to a passionate, loyal, and endearing fanbase.
The consistent setlist on this most legendary tour has been:
Mouth for War
Yesterday Don’t Mean Shit
Strength Beyond Strength
There’s at least a few of those songs that must express the exact sentiment Anselmo has been feeling for some time now. The heart and soul of Pantera may be gone, but the braun, hard core, front man like no other remains. Here’s hoping that Phil continues to rock out for many years to come and is at peace with the future that lay ahead.
Photos by Ambler
Joey Blue Gonzalez on Phil Anselmo and The Illegals
Phil Anselmo and The Illegals share health status
- Note: Walter Howard is no longer with the band and has since been replaced by Derek Engemann