C O L U M N S
Slipknot / Lamb of God / Bullet For My Valentine / Motionless in White
On August 11th, the metal masses descended on Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, VA for their dose of the Summer's Last Stand Tour. A few metalheads, myself included, were glad to see the show still happened after Slipknot's bassist, "Vman", was hospitalized due to severe dehydration a week prior to the show. After getting the go ahead from the medical staff, the tour resumed and invaded Northern VA.
Motionless in White kicked things off and aside from their
backdrop, which featured the "Halloween" pumpkin, and a few ardent supporters,
the majority of the audience was indeed motionless for their set. Running through a short
seven song set, which featured "Abigail", "Devil's Night" and
"Unstoppable" to name a few, you gotta give credit to the band for really
putting some energy into their set despite the lack of response from most of the crowd.
Lead vocalist Chris Cerulli tried to engage the crowd multiple times, telling fans that
just because they were in the back didn't mean they had to sit still. A valiant effort by
MIW to kick things off but they were put in a tough spot. 3/5
As Van Halen's "Runnin' With the Devil" came on through the PA, the crowd immediately became frenzied and energetic in anticipation of the evening's headliners, Slipknot, hitting the stage. When the curtain drew back, it was almost as though you'd been transported to this eerie circus/fun house setting as 9 men in masks hit the stage. With the opening notes of "Sarcastrophe", the venue erupted into a chorus of cheers and an explosion of sound. As the song carried on, the two drumsets begin to alternately raise and lower and at the height of its short rise, began to rotate. Pyro began to come in as explosions and flame jets went off and Corey Taylor's snarl was at its fiercest. Taylor constantly addressed the crowd throughout the band's set as "My friends...no, no, My Family".
Playing hard hitters "The Heretic Anthem" and "Psychosocial" back to back worked the crowd into a rabid band of metal minions, waiting for the signal from the leader to tear an unsuspecting soul to shreds. While the majority of the band remained fairly stationary, DJ Starscream (aka Sid), was all over the stage, doing acrobatics, dancing, leaping from level to another and riding the rotating drums as they were in the midst of their circular rotation. His antics were entertaining and he really interacted with the crowd quite a bit, giving Taylor a break from time to time.
As far as frontmen go, Taylor was incredibly energetic and very talkative. He told the crowd what he wanted them to do, when he wanted them to do it, and how crazy we all were. The highlight of the night was the final song of the night, "Surfacing". For anyone who has never seen Slipknot, whenever they play this song, all the fans who are what Taylor referred to as "die hards" know to get down when Taylor starts addressing the crowd in the middle of the song. The reason for this is he instructs everyone to crouch down and on his signal, jump up as one. Having done this once before, the energy and excitement were even more intense this time around. Everyone crouched and his shout of "Jump the fuck up!!", 4,000 plus fans leapt to their feet and kept bouncing til the conclusion of the song. Song highlights from the set were "The Heretic Anthem", "Wait and Bleed", "Spit it Out", "Custer" and "Surfacing". The entire set was brilliant, the stage show was brilliant, the sound was brilliant. As far as metal shows go, this is easily in my Top 3 shows of all time and is currently occupying the number 1 slot. 5/5
Despite all the positives, I was a touch disappointed in the turnout at this show. When my compatriot and I arrived to secure our lawn seats, we were greeted by three event staffers at the top of the stairs. They asked where we were sitting and we told them the lawn to which one responded "You don't want to sit on the lawn do you?" We said no but what's the catch? The response we got was "No catch, the venue is concerned about the weather and with it being a low-selling show, we are offering complimentary upgrades to anyone who has lawn seats." While the free upgrade to seats in the covered pavilion was a nice bonus, hearing that the show was low selling was like a kick to the gut. For a tour featuring Lamb of God and Slipknot, two high caliber heavy metal bands, to be deemed "low selling" just totally took me by surprise. I don't know if there wasn't much promotion done for it or if lots of people didn't show because there was a chance for some iffy weather. Who knows what the reason is. I just know that as a metal head, I had really hoped to see more people. Now, mind you, 4,000 plus isn't anything to thumb your nose at. But for a band like Slipknot who typically draw in the 7,000 range, that number was a bit lower than what I had expected. Regardless though, those that did come out to support metal gave everything they had and more during that show. And that is a sight I never get tired of seeing and being a part of.
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