“Take care of yourselves. And take care of each other”. Yep, those were the last words spoken from the stage by Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor after rocking a near capacity crowd for an extremely solid two hours. I’m opening this review with that little factoid not because it was so unexpected from the frontman of a bunch of “satanists”; no I’m opening with this information because it just completely summarises what Slipknot are all about and what those who do not take the time to learn do not realise about them. This band is there for their fans in a way not other band is.
Going through the rundown of the gig first of all, we arrived at the 3Arena a few songs into the set from support act KoRn. I’ll admit, this was initially the highlight of the night for me. Growing up as a metal head I was hugely into KoRn. Their show in the RDS way back in 2002 was one of the first concerts I ever attended. I was here for the nostalgia trip more than anything else. Not by choice, we were sat in one of the higher tiers in the 3Arena. I’ll be honest, I think the body can’t hack the pit at gigs like this anymore; I started feeling sore just looking at the lunatics in the pit moshing themselves into oblivion. I have to give the 3Arena credit where it is due though, it lives up to the name. Never have I found seated events a more pleasant experience than in this venue from the perspective of a good view and perfect sound. So, where was I? Yes, KoRn were on the home stretch of their nine song set as if it needed to be stated, there was no better preparation for Iowa’s finest than KoRn, getting the place absolutely throbbing via their live staples like “Got The Life” and “Freak On A Leash” (also their segway at the end of “Shoots And Ladders” into Metallica’s “One” was just fantastic and nearly had me throwing myself over the seats to join the moshers). Wrapping up with their eponymous breakthrough single “Blind” they brought part one of the madness to a close. But so much was yet to come.
When I was a teen metal head (back in the noughties, dear Lord) there seemed to be an Oasis/Blur type of situation regarding Slipknot/KoRn. I don’t know why and there’s a chance we all fabricated it through assumption. What I do remember is that thanks to some Parents Councils it was next to impossible to get your hands on Slipknot’s music whereas KoRn littered the shelves of every record store in the country with just an Explicit Content label to trouble you. So I was a KoRn fan, and I knew nothing about Slipknot except for what friends could tell me they read online (at 56 kilobytes per second…maybe impatience was the root of all the fabrications?). So until I saw them live ten years ago, supporting Metallica in the RDS, I knew absolutely nothing about them. I have always championed the cause of the rockers, that the kind of behaviour you regrettably see at dance events anywhere in this country are generally a million miles away from what you get at rock gigs. These guys mosh their way through the night, hurtling into each other in ways you could get arrested for on the street. You knock someone down, maybe a bloody nose arises, they get back up and shake your hand (or mosh you right back, it varies). Looking down on what I saw from the nosebleeds as Slipknot did their thing on stage, you could think quite negatively about the mobs below and maybe it would be a little understandable. But to me, I was seeing a crowd react in such a way as I have never seen before. The passion these fans are showing towards their idols is unprecedented. And Corey Taylor makes sure to voice the band’s affections for their fans in equal measure from the stage. Many may think of metal as immature and somehow inferior to other genres, I have been guilty of it on occasion, but don’t do it. You miss out on a connection between artist and fans that you will not find anywhere else.
The band themselves well, they did what they do and did so with aplomb. Bands like Slipknot stand for the freaks and the geeks. When you’re growing up and can’t seem to find acceptance anywhere, bands like this are there. It is the greatest irony that so many think these guys and their peers are anarchists of some form. When they stand on stage and sing “People = Shit” they’re relating, not berating. Stand out tracks of the night included the always impactful “Wait + Bleed” and the downright anthemic “Psychosocial” but most certainly “Spit It Out”, as it was back in the RDS in 2004, took the biscuit. From up in the Gods the madness was clear to see, as Corey Taylor runs through the live ritual of demanding the crowd get “down on the f**king ground” for the breakdown, only to rise again in a flurry of insane energy at the command to “jump the f**k up”. Pure chaotic energy in motion, and worth the admission alone. It may be very much against the type of music the 3Arena/O2 has played host to in the past but damn it would be good if this stuff could get “mainstream” again. I was nothing short of stunned at how well the venue held these artists and it was an exceptional night’s entertainment from start to finish. Please, for the love of God, don’t let it be another ten years before we see the like of this again.
Image courtesy of irishmetalarchive.com