Band Concert Review
Korn: See You In Chicago
Allstate Arena - Rosemont, IL - March 30, 2006
Before I could even get the pen out of my pocket, the opening bell hand rung. I was lucky enough to sit about ten feet from the only fist fight of the night at Allstate Arena in Section 103. Beer was flying at police officers and blood was dripping from foreheads before the house lights had even faded away. Mudvayne, who is always the bridesmaid but never the bride, had blasted off their set forty-five minutes earlier with "Determined." A shirtless Jesse Hasek (10 Years) started the night with strong sampling from The Autumn Effect highlighted and finished by a well-delivered version of hit radio single "Wasteland." Now, it was time for KoRn. Now, it was time to rock.
The stage sat quiet. Lit only by a dim red light, the nearly sold-out Allstate Arena multitude of black shirts waited for KoRn to deliver absolute mayhem. Jonathan Davis' now-famous silver female microphone stand danced alone while the "It's On" space shuttle-like intro leaked over the anticipating Chicago crowd. Two layers of maroon curtains hung motionless as to hold back the metal explosion that was soon to erupt.
Together now as just a foursome due to Head's religion inspired departure, the guys from Bakersfield, California snuck on stage from all angles to blast the show off with Dave's drum solo that eventually led into Follow the Leader's "It's On." They then dug deeper into the KoRn catalogue to deliver the seldom played live favorites of "Clown" and "Divine" from their 1995 self-titled release. The stage then opened up like a morning sunrise and the maroon curtains floated away to display the full imaginative concert environment of this spring 2006 See You On The Other Side U.S. tour. The three-tiered stage setup was filled with Head's replacement playing on the upper left side, a keyboardist next to him and a backup vocalist and taiga drum player off to the right. All of these harmonious assistants were masked in animal heads to assimilate the album cover of their current release. With the stadium now wide open, KoRn moved on to play "Love Song." This song is described by Jon as "a song sure to impress all my depressed, goth peeps out there." Little did anyone know that this would be the first of numerous songs to come from the new release.
Feeling that the crowd now needed some of the older dark magic, "Falling Away From Me" was delivered with the same force as it was in 1999 when Issues was first released. "Souvenir of Sadness" off See You On The Other Side was played next to a mixed crowd reaction. Moving on to a classic KoRn opener, 2002's "Here to Stay" seemed to rip everyone's attention right back. Even more so, Munkey then delivered a destructive stage-covering guitar solo. Jamming away with absolutely no remorse, the masses were thriving on every note played while only the keyboard player accompanied his efforts. This maneuver is something not seen at KoRn shows in the mid to late nineties. Head's departure seemed to spur on a new liberation in current band members. And, although KoRn's cover of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall" was recorded with Brian Head' Welch still in the band, it served as the stepping stone to Munkey's independence and ability to run the show as the lone guitar player in a band that has changed music history.
Munkey was rejoined by the rest of his band mates to methodically play 2005's "Liar," Take A Look In The Mirror's "Counting On Me" and "Somebody, Somewhere" from Issues . "Throw Me Away," the sixth track from See You On The Other Side brought out Fieldy's black bandana and images of the internal human body on the three large background screens. While leaning against the left speaker tower, Fieldy showed the lack of enthusiasm and demonstrated pure boredom that could be seen throughout the arena. Needing to bring the intensity back, a freaky silence covered the stage as the huge screens creped upward. When the crowd needed it most, Jon came back out in his all-black kilt toting the bagpipes that make "Shoots and Ladders" the concert staple it has been for so many years running. Drawing the loudest roar of the night, he worked the stage like a true rock veteran. Two huge circle pits could be seen as the floor was in a rowdy uproar. This began a strong medley that included "Need To," "Make Me Bad," "Thoughtless," "A.D.I.D.A.S." and "Twist." A powerful medley of KoRn favorites such as this set the table for more new material. With only 1998's hit "Got the Life" played while the keyboardist's kit was falling apart, four more tracks from the new album were delivered. "Coming Undone," "Tearjerker," "Hypocrites" and hit single "Twisted Transistor" concluded the set. Coming back out to play "Freak On A Leash" from Follow The Leader , KoRn ended the twenty-one-song set with a maddening version of "Blind."Nothing at all like the no-frills radio show at the Congress Theatre (Chicago) back in December, KoRn tooled this set list to be heavy on new material with a spattering of obscure older songs that appealed to the well-versed, die hard fan. Sure, some of the real hits were played but the condensed "classic" medley seemed to be more of what the crowd craved while they were being served a main course of See You On The Other Side . I've seen better KoRn concerts but applaud their effort and creativity in a live show setting. Personally, I would have asked for a redesigned set list. But, their compete commitment to the new album has to be admired. With yet another remarkable presentation of material, the California natives demonstrated once again that they are the same trailblazers that overtook the music world back in the early nineties.