San Manuel Amphitheater - San Bernardino, CA
Photo Review by: Corey Harrington

The 2012 ROCKSTAR MAYHEM FESTIVAL kicked off it's first stop on the tour in San Bernardino, CA. Despite 90 degree heat, over 25,000 fans showed up; the largest crowd in the festival's 5 year history. With over 10 hours of music from 12 bands: ASKING ALEXANDRIA, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, and AS I LAY DYING... This "Mt. Rushmore of Metal" was topped off by veteran monsters of the stage - ANTHRAX, MOTORHEAD, SLAYER, and SLIPKNOT!

Headlining the Jagermeister Stage and playing their first summer music festival in the United States, ANTHRAX didn't waste any time, delivering 40 minutes of in-your-face Thrash! A diverse crowd of metalheads began kicking up dust for the pit-classic, "Caught in a Mosh." The energy didn't stop as ANTHRAX, (with Shadows Fall drummer Jason Bittner sitting in for the injured Charlie Benante) played headbanging favorites - "Fight 'Em Till You Can't," "Indians," and "Madhouse."

Over on the main stage, playing their No Bullshit brand of music, MOTORHEAD proved that Rock-N-Roll will never grow old! Ripping through a set that featured: "Damage Case," "I Know How To Die," "Killed By Death," (with Lemmy's son, Paul Inder joining on guitar) and closing their show with "Ace Of Spades" and "Overkill."

After the sun went down and bon fires began to light up, the crowd roared as the mighty SLAYER took to the stage and proclaimed, "God Hates Us All!" Joined on stage by Exodus guitarist Gary Holt, (filling in for Jeff Hanneman - who's recovering from Necrotizing Fasciitis) SLAYER reigned down a hard-hitting set of sinister songs: "War Ensemble," "Seasons in the Abyss," "Angel of Death," "South of Heaven," and "Raining Blood."

Closing out the show and headlining this Heavy Metal circus, (for the first time since the festival's inaugural run in 2008) SLIPKNOT unleashed a bulldozing performance, playing songs that span across their 15+ year career: "Eyeless," "The Blister Exist," "Psychosocial," and "Duality," (paying tribute to their fallen friend, Paul Grey). Also missing from the stage was guitarist Jim Root, who was sidelined due a burst appendix; While emotionally difficult, the remaining 7 masked members of SLIPKNOT gave their fans an aggressive and entertaining live show - Closing the night with "People = Shit" and the anthematic audio middle finger, "Surfacing."

If this day was any sign of the upcoming shows on the tour, Rock & Metal fans will definitely be getting their money's worth... along with a cherry red sunburn or a bitchin' tan!

Photos by: C. Harrington *

* additional stock photos courtesy of Mayhemfest/Adrenaline PR






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