It was the night when one towering band said their farewells, while another re-emerged after a long hibernation, as Download 2019 drew to a close. With Slayer giving their final UK performance, Tool closed the main stage at the festival on Sunday night (16th June 2019), which took place from 14th – 16th June, at Donington Park.
The final night followed on from Slipknot’s horror spectacular the previous evening, and day one, which saw Def Leppard make an emotional return to the historic Donington site.
Announcing their intention to say a last goodbye, Slayer’s final UK date followed on from their Winter 2018 run, which saw them bring hell to Dublin, and saw them turn the Zippo Encore stage into a hellish inferno, complete with pyro, props, and some of the most demonic anthems ever recorded.
Bookending both ends of their career by kicking off with final album title-track ‘Repentless’, before going into ‘Evil Has No Boundaries’ from their 1983 debut ‘Show No Mercy’, Slayer’s set covered their entire output. With highlights including an explosive ‘War Ensemble’, a frenzy-inducing ‘Hell Awaits’, and the show-stopping back-to-back of ‘South of Heaven’ and ‘Raining Blood’, it was a fitting farewell from the Big Four titans.
Signing off, front man Tom Araya told the huge crowd; “I want to thank you very much for hanging out today, and most of all for being here with us”, before adding; “It’s been a wild ride”.
It was Tool however, who brought Download Festival 2019 to a close. Led by the enigmatic Maynard James Keenan, the prophetic ‘Ænema’ opened a set which featured fan-favourites such as ‘Parabola’, as well as brand new additions ‘Invincible’ and ‘Descending’ from the band’s long-awaited, as yet untitled studio album.
A truly transcendent experience of intricate visualisations accompanied by the atmospheric guitar riffs of Adam Jones and hypnotic rhythm from Danny Carey and Justin Chancellor throughout, the set closed with a mind-blowing ‘Vicarious’, before the band bowed out to a dizzying ‘Stinkfist’.
Earlier in the day, attendees had been treated to an eclectic set by alt-rock supremoes Smashing Pumpkins, whose surprising Black Sabbath cover – a spirited take on the classic ‘Snowblind’ featured gust vocalist Amalie Bruun of Mytkur – saw the band pay tribute to the midlands’ metal heroes on their home turf.
Other highlights Anthrax, who paid tribute to Ronnie James Dio, reminiscing about their performance as special guests to Dio at the 1987 Monsters of Rock festival, and on their track ‘In the End’.
Download Festival is expected to return form 12th – 14th June 2020. For the most up-to-date information, visit downloadfestival.co.uk
Like this story? Like us on FaceBook and follow us on Twitter for regular updates & more of the same.
Check out our gallery from the Download 2019 below. All photos by Enda Madden.