My love for Coheed and Cambria put my brother and me in a predicament we always told ourselves we would never put ourselves in. That predicament is being at a Slipknot concert, not because we necessarily disdain the music they have created in the past ten years, but because of the fact that we were scared immensely of the Slipknot fan base and what would happen to us at the shows. Needless to say our love for Coheed and Cambria landed us in a sea of Slipknot fans Feb. 9.
After the long drive of four hours to the Greensboro Coliseum Complex I entered the venue and the aroma of Axe body spray and broken dreams dwelled in the room. Trivium opened the show at 7:30. Coheed and Cambria just started their portion of the show by the time I entered and to my surprise they were only on stage for thirty minutes. This show was obviously all about Slipknot, however my earlier detective work lead me otherwise. I found myself in a sea of people waiting for one of the most energetic shows to come my way in some time. The crowd was restless. Jackets, shoes, hats, bottles and cigarettes were being fashioned into projectiles. After a few sound checks the curtain rose and masked men appeared on the stage. The crowd roared.
I’m not accusing anyone of anything, but as soon as Slipknot began their set the smell of marijuana filled the air. While they were playing, for the majority of the show, a mosh pit formed right behind me and another formed five feet in front of me, making a figure-eight from the ceiling’s perspective. Bodies were being passed, surprisingly not as much as I anticipated. Crowd surfing was at a minimum. I could probably count all the people on my hands and feet.
The stage life was great. There was never a dull moment with what was happening with the band members. In every song Shawn “Clown” Crahan, otherwise known simply as “number six,” and Chris Fehn, “number three,” were always entertaining. They reminded me of a British puppet show. In some songs they choreographically fought over their drum pits, hitting barrels at the correct time the correlated with the songs. Crahan’s drum pit was an amazing apparatus in itself, a scissor lift with a 360 degree rotation that he could manipulate at any given time with controls. At one point during the night Sid Wilson, “number zero,” jumped onto the contraption as it rose, swinging about, and achieved 12 consecutive pull-ups. He then hung by one arm as the machine rotated. Fehn’s drum pit had an impressive arc capability, almost flinging him into the ground. The widely known drummer Joey Jordison, “number one,” with an insanely large drum set was lifted on the encore of the encore of the encore, etc, etc to the point that he was almost playing the drums upside-down, a feat I had seen before on the internet, but never thought I would see with my own eyes.
“Wait and Bleed” was the first song I recognized that they played and it was great. They played other widely known songs such as “Psychosocial,” “Before I Forget,” “Duality” and “Spit It Out.” Speaking of the song “Spit It Out” I was able to partake in a phenomenon that occurs at Slipknot concerts during said song called “Zero Bullsh!t.” Corey Taylor, “number eight,” asks the audience to all sit down on the ground during the last verse of the song. When everyone is sitting they continue the verse and when the bridge of the song comes Taylor screams, “Jump the [expletive] up!” and the audience does so which was amazing to me. I had heard of this happening before, off of their live album, and I pondered to myself, “How were all of these people able to sit down when they are all crowded together?” I had enough room to lay down completely on the ground if I felt dastardly enough to lay in a beer and who knows what else spilt floor.
I have never dreamed of going to watch Slipknot live, but leaving that experience I was glad I did. If there is ever a thought of fear in your mind that holds you back from going to watch a band, break it and go. I’m not saying that you’ll make it out unharmed, I did come out with a bruised forehead and a couple of scratches, but I felt better than ever on my way out. Thank you Claudio Sanchez for making me watch Slipknot live.