Laaaaaadies and gentlemennnnn! In this corner, hailing from Iowa, a nine-member sonic and visual attack…the one…the only…SLIPKNOT!! And in this corner, the almost 20,000 concertgoers all geared up and ready for tonight’s main event! I’d say, “Let’s get ready to…” but I’d rather not get sued by Michael Buffer. Anyway, here we were for the final band of the evening, headliners and festival creators SLIPKNOT. The lawn section had filled up quickly, and the sudden influx of people made Mini-Amps a tad nervous as he clutched my left arm for dear life at first. Jimmy the Beer Man was ready, as was dear Kelly. I was truly most excited for her as this would be the first time she saw the band live. Welp, none of us would leave disappointed, that’s for sure!
Over a 17-song setlist the guys delivered on every front. Opening with “People = Shit” then diving into “(sic)” from their first two albums, they turned the lawn into a sea of moving, swirling, and moshing bodies. This only intensified with “Get This” before the first new song of the evening appeared in “Unsainted” from latest album We Are Not Your Kind. Admittedly this wasn’t a favorite of mine on record, but live it had a little more ooomph to it. “Before I Forget” followed, one of the greatest tunes off of Vol 3: (The Subliminal Verses), and the crowd was eating it up like candy. It’s around this time that Mini-Amps seemed to feel more at ease and before long there was The Corey Dance in full swing.
It was very cool too, that both Kelly and Jimmy both stopped to ask me, “He’s doing okay?” I have the most awesome concert family, I tell ya. Another new track was up next in “Solway Firth”, one I loved as soon as it was released and was very pumped for. Guitarists Mick Thompson and Jim Root brought the menacing riffs while vocalist Corey Taylor attacked his mic with a vengeance. He then asked the crowd for some help. “If you’re 5, 5, 5, then I’m…” “6! 6! 6!” we enthusiastically yelled in return as the group unloaded “The Heretic Anthem” on our faces. The groove of “Psychosocial” also had Mini-Amps going off, and rightfully so. It was so much fun watching him!
“The Devil In I” was made even heavier by Jay Weinberg’s drumming and don’t look now but here comes vintage tune “Prosthetics,” one our Miss Kelly was not-so-patiently looking for all night. As it began she looked over at me and flashed a smile that could have lit up a whole city block. Another killer Vol. 3 track was next with “Vermilion” before my numero uno all-time favorite SLIPKNOT song “Wait and Bleed” washed over me. I was so fucking happy I thought my skull might split wide open. They dropped this one from the 2014 tour the day before my Dallas show that year and I would NOT be denied this time, goddammit!! Mini-Amps was cheesing hard as he watched Dad scream along to the verses and hook. Gotta love that kid.
We were in the home stretch now and all nine guys were gearing up to make sure these last five songs were gonna crack open the sternums of everyone in attendance. “Sulfur”, standalone 2018 track “All Out Life” (Mini-Amps’ favorite), and “Duality” closed out the regular set with great vengeance and furious anger, Jules Winnfield-style, to everyone’s delight. But make no mistake, we weren’t done yet! The encore was a one-two punch of “Spit It Out” and “Surfacing” from the eponymous 1999 debut. During the former, Taylor had us all get down on our knees and not “Jump the fuck up!” till he gave the command. My knees are too old for this! For “Surfacing” I don’t know anyone that was screaming the refrain louder than Kelly and me, side by side.
And with that, it was all over. SLIPKNOT went off into the night and we the masses were left behind. We were very happy, though. The set was damn near perfect, all the members brought the thunder, and put on a Hellacious show for a packed house. Never underestimate the power of a great Heavy Metal tour. This was one of THE highlights of this summer concert season, and I truly hope KnotFest Roadshow becomes an annual thing. Because if it does, you best believe Kelly, Jimmy, Mini-Amps and I will be there every time. To the staff at BB&T Pavilion, thank you for being so accommodating. BEHEMOTH, GOJIRA, VOLBEAT, and SLIPKNOT…thank you for an incredible day and night of metal. Now let’s do it again!!
LIVE IMAGES: ROCKVIEW LIVE
LIVE WORDS: THE MAESTRO