Slipknot at 3Arena, Dublin – Review
It’s cold and bitter outside, but that doesn’t stop the army of dedicated Slipknot fans queueing for all hours to get up and close to the masked men. Unsurprisingly, this show sold out horrendously quickly. There’s a unique dynamic of fans in the crowd, just showing how Slipknot have made their way into every type of metal head’s music collection. Now the main question I had was ‘will Slipknot’s live performance live up to the hype?’
King 810 is up first tonight. From reading a lot of interviews and articles on this band, I was expecting something mind blowing. Unfortunately, it was all talk and no walk. I was pretty disappointed with the sound quality, with the instruments being somewhat overpowering and drowning out their frontman quite a bit. Up until their performance, I had no idea being over-passionate could be a flaw in a performance, but tonight’s performance seemed like they were trying too hard to be passionate and in that lost the natural passion that comes with music performances. I can’t speak for everyone, as I saw numerous people who were thoroughly enjoying King 810’s performance, but it was definitely a disappointing performance for me, and they’re not a band I would go to see again.
After the lacking performance from King 810, it was time for Korn to absolutely blow the 3Arena away; they did just that and more. It was their first show in Ireland since 2012, and their return was greeted with a lot of screaming and sweating.. oh, and open arms. It was definitely a set list for every level of Korn fan, with tonight’s opener taking the form of ‘Twist’, followed by the likes of ‘Right Now’, ‘Good God’, ‘Got the Life’ and ‘Freak on a Leash’. Unlike King 810, Korn’s performance was unique and passionate in all the right ways, and even included a performance of ‘Shoots and Ladders’ with a snippet of ‘One’ by Metallica thrown into it. They finished their performance on the highest of highs with mega-hit ‘Blind’. It’s a performance I can’t fault in any way, and I couldn’t and still can’t think of a better opening band for Slipknot than Korn. Flawless.
A curtain is dropped to prepare the stage for tonight’s headliner, but from where I am, I can see everything going on and they definitely pulled all the stops for tonight: goat heads, pyro, a giant demon/devil head, rotating drum kits; everything that makes Slipknot shows stand out as much as they do. They come on a bit late, but ‘XIX’ makes for an amazing chant before they take to the stage and break into ‘Sarcastrophe’. From the very beginning, 80% of the 3Arena standing area is a war zone, and you’re lucky not to get an elbow here or fist there, but who ever said Slipknot shows were tame? Vocally, Corey Taylor is absolutely phenomenal, that is when you can hear him over everyone else! He admits that the crowd is one of the loudest he’s ever heard, and he was even struggling to hear the rest of the band; surely he can’t be surprised seeing as it’s been 10 years since they last made an appearance here. That’s 10 years of energy being thrown into one night. As emotional as tonight is (this is Slipknot’s first show in Ireland without deceased bassist Paul Gray), I’d like to give a big shout out to Slipknot’s latest touring members Jay Weinberg (on drums) and Alessandro ‘Vmam’ Venturella (on bass). They fit in so well that I totally forgot that they weren’t in the original lineup. Both have some serious talent and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.
The set list was definitely not too focused on the new album, which is something I really loved about the show. New tracks can go one of two ways, and luckily Slipknot’s new tracks go down a storm, with ‘The Devil in I’ and ‘The Negative One’ causing absolute chaos. One problem some bands have with new material is that it often doesn’t fit in well with their older material. In this case, older tracks like ‘Psychosocial’, ‘Wait and Bleed’, ‘Before I Forget’, ‘Vermillion’ and ‘Duality’ are right at home with the new material, and vice versa. ‘Spit it Out’ is not just a highlight, it’s a song everyone waits for. This is the song when Corey Taylor instructs everyone to get down on the ground and to “Jump the F**k Up” on his cue: and that is exactly what the entire standing section did; bodies jumping and flying in every direction. Slipknot finished the show with ‘Custer’, before returning for an absolutely brutal encore of ‘7426’, ‘(sic)’, ‘People = S**t’ and “our new national anthem” ‘Surfacing’ (brutal here being used in the best way possible).
Slipknot shows are many things. There is not one word to describe it, and I think that’s what makes Slipknot shows so fantastic: they leave you speechless. From the pyro to the energy and everything in between, Slipknot is probably the best live band I have ever seen. At the end of the show, Corey Taylor promised they would return a lot sooner than 10 years, and that the show was a priority for them to play. Our priority is to definitely have them back here sooner rather than later. Believe the hype.
Review by Shauna Collins