Nine-member heavy metal group Slipknot lit up the Air Canada Centre last Sunday when they stopped by Toronto, ON, for their Prepare For Hell Tour featuring sole support from nu-metal pioneers Korn. Michigan metal band King 810 were set to open as well, but unfortunately, they were unable to get over the border.
Jonathan Davis‘ signature bio-mechanical microphone stood at the centre of the stage, polished and shining beneath the stage lights. With all the extra time they had to get loose and guzzle down some drinks, concert-goers were already buzzing before the start of the show. Two big names on the bill that night meant that the crowd was excited as ever to get a jump-start into Korn’s buoyant set as the band started with “Twist,” transitioning into “Here to Stay.”
The lights shut off dramatically between songs like “Love & Meth,” “Hater,” “Freak on a Leash,” leaving only Korn’s LED-panelled boxes to entrance the crowd for a moment before they jumped back into the performance. Davis danced all over the stage, flanked by head-banging dreadlocked guitarists James ‘Munky’ Shaffer, Brian ‘Head’ Welch, and bassist Reginald ‘Fieldy’ Arvizu. Sitting behind the decorated drums, Ray Luzier, was not to be forgotten, sending the crowd wicked drum faces throughout the show before they ended their set with”Blind.”
“XIX” began to play as light blue curtains slowly pulled away to reveal the masked members in front of a giant Baphomet head. On either side of the stage, percussionists Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan and Chris Fehn stood atop spinning risers, surrounded by their drums in a grand display. The crowd chanted along with vocalist Corey Taylor, “Walk with me, walk with me,” before the stage exploded in a show of pyrotechnics for “Sarcastrophe.”
The band played some past favourites like “The Heretic Anthem” and “Disasterpiece,” as well as new singles from .5: The Gray Chapter such as “The Devil in I” and “The Negative One.” In the middle of their set, Taylor went side stage and came back with a Canadian Gold Certification plaque, their first distinction awarded for the new album. He said, “We will never fucking forget that, you have no fucking idea what this means to us.” This appreciation for the fans was re-affirmed throughout the night as Taylor took time to talk with the crowd, thanking them and hyping them up before the next song.
Before starting on “Spit It Out,” a group of fans had already started sitting down as per maggot ritual. Corey Taylor acknowledged them, “They know what time it is. Give it up to the guys in the middle, man, I love it.” He controlled the crowd with conviction, as he requested “Everybody on the fucking floor.” Everyone in the arena sat down for the first time since their set began and on his cue, the audience bounded with devil horns in the air, shaking the floor as Taylor roared into the mic.
Slipknot ended the show with a three-song encore, playing “(sic),” “People = Shit,” and dialling up the fireworks for “Surfacing.” They were played out by “‘Til We Die,” and as each member took their turn walking off stage. Some fans caught the attention of Corey Taylor, handing him a white home-made sign with the words “Never Forget,” with the number two in the ‘O’ – a tribute to remember #2, Paul Gray. He held up the sign to show the room, and though his mic was off, the emotion that radiated off his body was enough to give the whole room chills.
(All photos by Ashley Emma Ng)