Flashback: Pantera Play Their Final Show in 2001 at Yokohama’s Beast Fest
Fans may not have known it at the time, but those who were on hand at the Beast Fest in Yokohama, Japan on Aug. 26, 2001 were catching Pantera's final performance. Tensions were mounting toward the end of the Reinventing the Steel tour cycle and the horrific events of 9/11 a few months later would curtail their touring and pave the path for an extended hiatus.
As has been well documented, singer Philip Anselmo had a degenerative back condition that had only gotten worse while touring and his self-medicating had gotten out of control. Bassist Rex Brown recalled in his memoir Official Truth, 101 Proof, "The financial offers were great, but because we felt like we were in a marriage that was going south, that just didn't matter anymore. Something had to give sooner rather than later." While Anselmo eventually began to address his issues, the band had already begun to splinter.
As far as final shows go, it wasn't what you might expect. The band was playing a festival, which meant their stage time was limited compared to what they would normally perform at one of their traditional shows, but fans still got a memorable 11-song set that included a few surprise guests joining the band. After the intro, the band launched into a blistering performance of "5 Minutes Alone," which can be seen in the video footage above.
The audience was also treated to such Pantera standards as "Goddamn Electric," "Mouth for War," "Becoming" and "Revolution Is My Name." Slayer's Kerry King came out to join them for "Fucking Hostile," and after rounding out the body of their set with "This Love" and "Cowboys From Hell," Biohazard's Evan Seinfeld joined them for the encore "Walk."
Beast Fest was never meant to be their final date. The band actually made it to Europe in September of 2011, but the events of 9/11 wiped out much of the touring industry that month, with Pantera deciding to cancel their shows before ever hitting the stage to start the run. Sadly, the death of Dimebag Darrell in 2004 meant that the formidable four-piece had played their final gig.
In our 2013 interview with Anselmo, the singer stated, "It took all of us to break the band up. I was doing terribly and I realized that Pantera was dissolving and they had moved on and they were doing Damageplan. The first thing I did was call Vince and he was like, 'Well, man, this is what we're doing.' And he was actually pretty cool about it, but I was like, 'What do you think? I wanna talk to Darrell.' And he was like, 'I don't know, he's pretty upset with you.' And I called him. He was short and he was to the point and said, 'We're sick of waiting for you and we're going to go ahead and do Damageplan.' And that day I knew Pantera was over."
Take a listen to audio from the full Beast Fest set in the player below.
Hear Audio From Pantera's Final Performance at the 2001 Beast Fest in Yokohama, Japan
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