Slipknot: Summer’s Last Stand Tour 2015
Concord Pavilion in Concord, CA
August 26, 2015
w/ Lamb of God, Bullet For My Valentine, Motionless In White
Unless Metallica suddenly decides to do a tour with The Big 4 (themselves, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax), Slipknot’s “Summer’s Last Stand Tour” will be dubbed the Metal Tour of the Year by fans. Bottom line: this was the metal show of the year. If you missed it, I feel very sorry for you.
The bill for this show was by far one of the most immaculately created lineups I’ve seen for a metal show in recent years. I’ve felt that a lot of tours had been phoning it in, but Slipknot have set a new standard for the masses: bring out a newer band that’s on the brink of breaking out (Motionless In White), add a more established and that’s got the spotlight on them and fantastic musical chops (Bullet For My Valentine), and then give some of your good friends, who know how to kill it every night, the main opening spot on the bill (Lamb of God). All of this, combined with a Slipknot headlining performance, makes for one hell of a night.
To start, let’s talk about Motionless In White. The band are FINALLY in their element. I’ve seen them play Warped Tour to massive crowds, and while they’re very good and have drawn me in there among the pop-punk masses, this is the world that they thrive in. They are a metal band, whether you like it or not. Metalcore may establish the genetic make up of their songs, but it’s their own signature style of it that draws everyone in. I love seeing a show where the fans that are there know the words to not only the headliner, but the openers as well.
Bullet For My Valentine took the stage following MIW. These guys have been playing for several years, and are five albums deep into their career (their most recent effort, Venom, being their best release yet). They powered through their set like it was nothing. Bullet have never been a very theatrically-heavy band. They rely on their musicianship, and it makes it that much more entertaining to watch. They’re splendid musicians across the board. New songs from Venom were present, while set-list stapes like “Tears Don’t Fall” and “Waking The Demon” blew the roof off the pavilion.
Easily the second most anticipated act of the night was Lamb of God, by a landslide. This is the point where fifteen thousand seat amphitheater was almost completely full, so the energy was brought up a considerable amount. It’s metal music though, so when the energy level is kicked up, it goes up by a factor of ten. I think that’s how you say it. I don’t know. I was never good at math. My point is: Lamb of God AND their fan base were in full force. Their set didn’t slow down for a moment. The band played songs that spanned their entire seven album career, closing with “Laid to Rest” and “Redneck”.
A red curtain adorns the front of the stage, with the signature “S” beckoning fans to the floor. “Runnin’ With The Devil” by Van Halen plays over the speakers, signaling the start of the show will soon be upon us.
The lights go out. The curtain stays in place, while “XIX”, the intro track from Slipknot’s most recent album .5: The Gray Chapter , permeates through the audience. The curtain finally opens, and holy shit. Their mammoth of a stage production is finally visible. The skeletal presence from their album cover is laid against both sides of the stage, while a demonic looking goad head (about as metal as it can get) levitates above the drum kit, center stage. Then….they’re here.
All nine members of Slipknot gradually take their place on the stage, one by one, with their respective instruments. Guitarists Mick Thompson and Jim Root, percussionists Shawn “Clown” Crahan and Chris Fehn, DJ Sid Wilson, sampler Craig Jones, and newcomers Alessandro Venturella (bass) and Jay Weinberg (drums, formerly of punk band Against Me!) take their places. Vocalist Corey Taylor walks out. All members are in full costume, covered in heavy jumpsuits and their signature, gruesome looking masks. Without any mercy, hell is unleashed as the band launch straight into “Sarcastrophe”. With no break in between, the countdown to Iowa’s well-known “The Heretic Anthem”. Fire burns through the stage as the band chants “if you’re 555, then I’m 666”, with the fans screaming just as loud as Taylor and Fehn. “Psychosocial” keeps the intensity going.
Two more well-constructed tracks from The Gray Chapter keep things going with “The Devil In I” and “AOV”. The former really showcases Taylor’s singing ability, proving that’s not just a screamer; he really has a remarkable singing voice.
A really nice surprise to me was that the set list contained a lot of songs from the new album. Not many bands do that, and to me, that shows confidence in their new material. It demonstrates to their fans that they have confidence in their ability to make new music, music that can become as timeless as their elder works.
“Vermillion” and “Wait and Bleed” bring it back to Volume 3: The Subliminal Verses and Slipknot, their self-titled monster of a debut album. “Killpop” is the second to last track from The Gray Chapter that is performed until the blistering (and my favorite track from that album) “Custer” closes out the first act.
Thompson plays the opening riff to “Before I Forget”, and the crowd loses their shit. I’ve never seen anything like it. Not even the first time I saw them play it years ago. “Sulfur” is the only track from All Hope Is Gone that makes its way into the set. Fan favorites “Duality”, “Disasterpiece” (which opens with a haunting guitar riff that still gets me to this day), and “Spit It Out” supported the course of the show, with that ever-popular “not until I say ‘jump the fuck up’ moment” that takes place in every Slipknot show, a rite of passage for any attendee.
Side note: “Disasterpiece”’s opening line is still one of the most brutal lyrics I’ve ever heard in my life, even when you pit it against some of the more intense death metal lyrics that are out there today (“I wanna slit your throat and fuck the wound”). Damn.
The band return to the stage for three encore tracks, all going back to their first and second albums: “(sic)”, “People = Shit”, and “Surfacing”, bringing a hair-raising end to a roller coaster of a metal show.
I said it once and I’ll say it again: if you didn’t go this show, you done messed up. If the tour still has yet to come to your city, there’s still time. Don’t regret it.
This has been another Shameless Promotion.