I caught the Unholy Alliance tour (SLAYER, LAMB OF GOD, MASTODON, CHILDREN OF BODOM, and THINE EYES BLEED), at "The Theater" at Continental Airlines Arena last Friday night. It was one of the most intense, memorable experiences of my old-ass life. First, hats off to the arena staff for the most comforting, caring, and professional attitude I have ever witnessed at a large scale show. There were signs that read "Crowd Surfing and Moshing Not Recommended" posted all over the place. My friend asked our ticket taker (a gent in his late fifties) if this was a "rule" which could result in expusion if broken, and the guy just laughed and said "Nahh, it's just a suggestion, but you know, it's like telling someone they can't drink and then taking him to a bar." The arena oval was split in half, and since we had general admission floor tickets, it gave the illusion of being at a large club show, which was very cool (as was the air conditioning). We missed Thine Eyes Bleed. Children of Bodom went on at 6:15PM, and were better than I hoped. I LOVE this band. Melodic thrash/speed metal dripping with keyboards. They're the best! They packed a LOT of songs into their 30-minute set, and since there were only about 200 people on the floor at the time, I was able to get the close to the stage without much risk of injury. Naturally, a small mosh pit opened up right in front of me. I've never been a "pit dude," but i've seen hundreds of "pits" over the years, but they're not the same as they were "back in the day." You used to see guys running around in a circle with their arms flailing away, while the more hardcore/skinhead guys would "mosh in place." Nowadays, these guys just run into each other at full speed, and it seems to me the ultimate goal is to hurt THEMSELVES as possible. Needless to say, there were a LOT of dudes being escorted to first aid that night. I realized during Mastodon's excellent set that, in all the years I've attended metal shows (and there have been HUNDREDS), this was the loudest show I have ever been to in my life. I think they used the volume as if they were in a FULL arena show. There were several times the bass made my hair blow, and it was definitely NOT from the a.c. (which kept the place cool all night). The sound was crystal clear, just WAY too loud! Lamb of God are probably the heirs to the Slayer throne. As my friend Adam said, this tour is like a "passing-the-torch" ritual, with L.O.G. primed to be the Next Big Thing. After witnessing their set, I couldn't agree more. Slayer have never disappointed me live, and this was definitely no exception. Opening with the one-two punch of "South of Heaven" and "Silent Scream," they blasted through a 75-minute set which ignored the Paul Bostaph years (except for "Disciple"), and included one new song "Cult," which you can hear on Slayer's web page. It's great live. The stage set mesmerized me: two 30-foot-high Marshall stacks (in the shape of upside-down crosses) flanked a white sheet "video screen," which flashed the Slayer logo in all its incarnations superimposed over scenes of war, violence, and othersuch hatred (Ed Gein and Josef Mengele make appearances). If you're a metalhead and this tour is coming to your area, I strongly suggest you go. Friday's show wasn't entirely sold out, so I'm sure tix are still available near you as well. Trust me. See this tour. And bring earplugs (that's the first time I've ever said it and meant it).