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…was incredible. I scored two tickets, and gave the second one to my dad – who also had a great time. He’s been trying to see Disturbed with me for like a year and a half now, so I was glad to take him. We got there a bit on the early side; the main stage bands weren’t playing yet, so we wandered around for a while, grabbed a few things off the “free stuff” table, each picked up a T-shirt, etc. Then, when the doors finally opened to the main stage, we went in and grabbed our seats – eighth row, dead center. Fucking awesome.
The first guys up were Mastodon. When I say first, I mean first on the main stage – we didn’t really bother going around and watching anybody on the other stages, although what we could hear from a distance sounded pretty good. Anyway, Mastodon. They were pretty good – I’ve listened to some of their recorded stuff, and while it’s not really my box of candy, they are definitely a group of skilled musicians, and I have to respect that. The drummer was really good – incredibly fast feet. The guitarists were very good; and, while the lyrics weren’t really comprehensible, they tell a story – each album is basically an epic journey of some sort.
Then, up came DragonForce. I’d heard varying things about them – but all evidence leads to the idea that they’re basically a joke band; they like heavy music, and they decided to make a band just for kicks, and they ended up hitting it big. They’re a six-piece outfit; two guitarists (both lead, mind you), the drummer, the bassist, the keyboardist, and the lead singer. They came out toting a goofy sense of humor, incredibly fast instrumentals (upstaged Mastodon, for sure), a funny intro, and a very busy stage presence. They keyboardist, for example, didn’t really do a lot of playing – rather, he did a lot of jumping around and putting on a ridiculous visual show; such as rocking the keyboard from side to side. They were definitely good, and I’d say see them at least once just so you get a chance to witness the spectacle.
Enter Disturbed – the main reason we were there. There was an hour break after DragonForce, so the crowd was getting a bit restless – then the lights went down and Disturbed’s signature haunting pre-song melody started playing. A guy dressed as a sanitarium orderly wheels something out on a hand truck – and we quickly realize that it’s frontman David Draiman, in a muzzle and straightjacket. The orderly unties him and runs – David pulls off the muzzle and throws it aside, then Dan and John start wailing into Perfect Insanity as they and Mike come out onto the stage.
Disturbed put on an absolutely incredible show – my dad was completely wowed. Not that I expected them to be bad; this was the fourth time I’ve seen them and I swear they get better with every show. They put a bit more variation on Down With the Sickness (the last song of the set, naturally, since it’s their biggest hit) with each show – between pausing with the lights down right before the intro gets heavy, going snare only toward the end of the song, etc. The effect is pretty cool. Anyway, as always, kudos to the guys at Disturbed on a great show – I look forward to seeing them again
Finally, time for Slipknot. Their first tour in roughly two and a half years – since Corey Taylor and Jim Root released Come What(ever) May with Stone Sour. Quite a few people left after Disturbed, which was a bit disappointing for me – must have been a bit more disappointing for Slipknot. However, the people who left missed out. They put on one hell of a show – between all the fire, the masks, the incredibly heavy music…the list goes on.
For those who don’t know them very well, here’s a bit of background for Slipknot. There are nine of them. They all wear masks (see the stock photo above), never showing their faces on stage. Their drummer, Joey Jordison, is the centerpiece of the band – sitting parallel to Corey Taylor’s vocals rather than underneath as rhythm. They also have two other percussionists – Chris Fehn and Shawn Crahan – who each have a set of gigantic toms and (yes, this really is true) empty beer kegs. They also have two guitarists, James Root and Mick Thomson. Then, finally, they have Paul Gray on bass; Craig Jones on samples; and Sid Wilson on turntables.
Now, on with the show. After playing a few incredibly heavy songs, including The Blister Exists (the same song they opened with on their 9.0: Live tour), we hear from Corey a bit. As it turns out, Sid Wilson had to be brought out in a wheelchair because he jumped off the stack of speakers behind the band on the first show of the tour and broke both his feet – he showed the crowd the boots. In addition, Joey (their incredible drummer) was playing with one broken ankle – he had to be helped up the steps to his kit. Slipknot has a history of on-stage injuries, including a couple times where band members lit themselves on fire before being told by authorities that, if they did that again, they would be incarcerated for attempted suicide.
We left a couple songs before the end – they were just starting to play People = Shit when we got out of the amphitheater – because it was late and my dad wanted to bail before the major parts of the crowd to avoid traffic. I would’ve loved to stay for the whole thing though – that really was an amazing show.
Anyway, that’s about the size of it. If the lineup for next year’s Rockstar Mayhem festival is as sweet as this year’s was, I’ll be going again. Fuck Ozzfest – this blew it away. Especially since Sharon’s blowing Ozzfest all to hell with her hardcore cockhattery.