Review by Billy Geary
The short walk from Richmond Station to Rod Laver Arena saw a sea of fans heading to the arena, suggesting we were in for a near full house. However, upon arrival, it was slightly disappointing to find much of the upper sections of the arena possessing empty seats covered by curtains.
Opening up proceedings were Florida natives Trivium, given an entire hour to warm up punters before the main act. There was an obvious portion of the crowd that were every bit as big a fans of Trivium as they were of Slipknot, with plenty up close singing and screaming along word for word. As a band that has been around for quite a while now, it has been great to see Trivium develop into a really tight live act. Front man Matt Heafy was brilliant throughout, encouraging circle pits and roaming the stage, ensuring every single section of Rod Laver Arena was engaged with the music. As Trivium finish off their set, it it obvious that their brand of metalcore has quite successfully warmed up the hordes of already rabid fans.
After a short changeover, Slipknot literally threw themselves into the first few songs with an intensity matched by very few bands these days. ‘Wait and Bleed’ and ‘Sulphur’ both get an early airing, delighting fans of both their older and newer material. Their impressive combination of pyrotechnics and stage props works incredibly well with the chaotic nature of their music, particularly with their heavier numbers like ‘Psychosocial’ and ‘Duality.’
Aside from their obvious musical talent, the thing most impressive with Slipknot’s live show is its almost theatrical nature. From the band’s orange psych ward jumpsuits and array of masks to their stage setup and props and even their individual performances, there is literally always something else happening aside from the music. For some bands this would work against them in that it distracts from the music, however in Slipknot’s case it just adds to the excitement and insanity of their live experience. This was particularly the case when multiple members entered the crowd during cuts like ‘Pulse of the Maggots’ and ‘The Heretic Anthem,’ the latter featuring chaotic amounts of stage diving.
At the other end of the spectrum, there were some more sombre moments in the set, none more so than vocalist Corey Taylor’s tribute to their late bassist Paul Gray. The result was the loudest punters had been all night, typifying the respect they have for the band. Leaving the stage for the first time after searing through ‘Spit It Out’ and ‘Only One,’ the band return for an unexpected rendition of the mellower ‘Snuff,’ before exiting the stage again.
Finally, as the band return for the one two punch of ‘People = Shit’ and ‘Surfacing,’ fans and band are put through one more onslaught, with what seemed like the entire arena screaming their hearts out. Then, as is tradition, Joey Jeordison’s drum kit is lifted onto its side via hydraulic jacks and he performs an outstanding drum solo as his kit is rotated around at right angles to the stage. It brings about the end of a typically outstanding set from one of the world’s most consistently excellent bands.
Forgetting the relatively small showing from fans, Slipknot made sure every single person in attendance got their moneys worth, showing exactly why they’re co-headlining the biggest heavy music festival Australia has seen. They truly are world-class performers, in terms of both music and stage presence.
Review by Billy Geary