A crowded Motorpoint Arena this past Thursday is so far, highlight of the month. With the released set list to Slipknot’s show packed with Iowa-era tracks, it was a crowd of hyped fans spanning a variety of ages. With the crowd filling up, plastic cups of some kind of overpriced larger and cans of red bull, it’s hard to tell whether the excited chatter and chanting is from the amount of sugar, liquor or just sheer anticipation.
Behemoth opens the show, and it’s a sure kick off. Heavy riffs and deep bass reverberate from the walls, sending waves of movement throughout the crowd. Devil horns in the air, shouting and screaming from those who have come well equipped of the knowledge of the polish satanists, the crowd were clearly pumped for the headlining act. I didn’t get many photos, mostly because I was part of that crowd fangirling over the exquisite microphone stands and spitting pyrotechnics. The fog machine sets off a layer, opening Bartzabel up for a sea of voices to sing back. Download being the first time I caught Behemoth live, they definitely do not let indoor arenas burden their live performances. Kudos, Behemoth, the Wolfpack are certainly proud.
Pointing out the obvious here as what seemed to be the only sober one in the crowd of now swarming fans drenched in tour merch, but the wait for Slipknot was painful. Putting together a different stage set, loading up the Slipknot curtain and putting up percussion drums dangling in the air took a total of 45 minutes of, well, pretty horrible DJing. With everyone trying to push their way to the front, our center staging was at risk of being lost, but we managed to hold our ground and watched the curtain rise into the air, anticipating the opening of the headliners.
The 3 minute something AC/DC song, “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)” felt like another eternity, but alas, the opening for ‘Unsainted’ soon kicked in and so did the crowd energy. It was a full two songs near enough for the crowd to somewhat calm down. Mosh pits trying to take life but forcing the crowd forward and back like some kind of horrific, forceful pressure surge. Barely being able to stand on two feet, it took a total of three songs before two pits finally opened and the crowd around them starting to settle. It was time for the material we had been waiting for. Causing mayhem with Eeyore and Nero Forte, Before I Forget opened up total destruction, and from here on out, I was completely annihilated in mosh pits.
Now, I’m not going to review mosh pits because what can I say? People get thrown around, fall over, picked up and injuries do happen. What I am going to say though, is the entire center crowd was engulfed in them. With two pits only separated by a tiny snake of 4 or 5 people, once you were in the pit it was hard to get out. Slipknot’s crowd did not waiver on their promise to cause mayhem – and the headliners kept giving us the tracks we had been craving. And, as a 25 year old with knees of an 80 something, I’m happy to announce that they did not ask us to get down to the floor to jump up. My knees were saved the aching pain, although the rest of my body suffered. Due to the excitement, the raucousness of the crowd and so on, photos were pretty much unobtainable. Those reasons and the fact that I definitely was not about to pull my phone out from where I was standing after seeing at least 3 of them spread across the pit floor with smashed screens.
The downfall? Slipknot could not get their sound right. With the percussion and drums obviously taking the spotlight, Taylor was nearly obsolete. Maybe I suffered a head injury, but even when the band had stopped playing, there was no way I could even make out what he was saying. His microphone was far too low, and other than following cues from his body language, there was no way for us in the middle of the Motorpoint Arena to actually know when we should be cheering. I’m pretty sure we just started doing it at random intervals. The singalongs were totally following the instruments, which makes me wonder, why did Behemoth get it so right, and Slipknot get it so wrong?