Saturday, January 24, 2009

Review: Slipknot Concert in Saint Paul

On January 23rd, 2009, Slipknot began their All Hope is Gone World Tour in the great city of St. Paul, Minnesota. If you were there, you know it. If you weren’t, you missed a spectacular show, thick on the spectacle.

Being that the streets are icy and our journey to the Xcel Energy Center was in the middle of rush hour on a Friday, my date and I didn’t quite make it on time, so I didn’t get to hear much of the very first band that played, Trivium. What I heard as I was finding my seat sounded decent. The people in the section around us seemed to think they were pretty good.

I can’t say the same for the second band that played, Coheed and Cambria. I had heard of them before, listened to some of their music in the past, and sang “Welcome Home” while playing Rock Band. I can’t say that any of them were a good experience. I’m going to take the stance that I can’t say anything nice here, so I won’t say anything at all about their “musical performance” last night. I would like to point out, though, that unlike Trivium, no one in our section seemed to like Coheed and Cambria either.

After the red velvet curtain was finally pulled for Slipknot’s show, the nine members of the band launched immediately from zero to full speed like a rocket taking flight. With a drummer and two percussionists banging on beer kegs to drive the beat, how could they not? This review isn’t about a set-list, you can find that here, but they played many of their best songs, including “Wait and Bleed”, “Duality”, and “Before I Forget”. They also played “Psychosocial”, “Dead Memories”, and “All Hope is Gone” from their new album of the same name.

This is a band that has done their homework regarding the theatrics and entertainment of concert experiences. Their drum sets were on hydraulic lifts that raised about ten feet off of the ground and spun in a circle! At one point during the encore, the full drum kit was raised and then tilted forward to a 90 degree angle until a still-seated Joey Jordison had a great view of the floor. All the while, he played on and the rhythmic pace continued. Heavy guitar riffs and mind bending samples combined for a high octane soundtrack to what proved to be not only an amazing music concert but a great piece of theater.

The ringmaster of this show was lead singer Corey Taylor. Being a corn-fed Midwesterner by birth, you could tell that he really enjoyed performing for a crowd close to his roots. And this audience was enraptured with absolutely everything he did. Spitting out lyrics while perched on a bank of lights at the front of the stage, his presence commanded the attention of every person at the Xcel. He was like a magician, as with a wave of his hand and a few words, the crowd was spellbound, ready to do his bidding. Clap, shout, jump, sing: We listened. Like the pied piper, if he would have lead us out into the streets, 18,000 people probably would have followed. It’s a good thing that he uses his powers for good instead of evil.

This concert was an incredible experience. I’ve always liked Slipknot from the first time I heard “Wait and Bleed”, but this was my first time seeing them live. From running around the stage like controlled wildfire to dangling from a hydraulically lifted drum-set, these guys were always doing something interesting on top of playing great music. I would highly recommend a Slipknot concert to people with a love for rock, heavy metal, or at least a good tolerance for loudness because even if the music isn’t your cup of tea, these guys are entertaining to watch.

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