The V.I.P (Gold) passes included a pre-show, stripped down, acoustic song performance.
Sunday, October 18 was going to be the night that I would get to see a band I have been listening to since high school. Senior year, I remember sitting in the back of a friend’s car, cruising and listening to “Falling Away From Me”. I knew every word and would sing along even when the lyrics became indecipherable and faded off into monkey-like sounds (I can’t think of any other way to describe it). Though some of my friends did not understand why I would ever like such a band, I don’t remember giving a damn. I loved their unique sound and could easily identify them within a couple of seconds into a song – still can. To this day, Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu’s bass thumps are like no other I have ever heard. In the world of rock, I have found that a lot of bands start to sound the same. It’s always, “Well, if _(band)__ and __(band)__ had a baby, this is what it would sound like”. With Korn, this has never been an issue.
The day had finally come and we set out on our journey to New Orleans. At 5:15 p.m., my partner and I changed into some comfy shoes and set out on the short walk to the venue. I noticed a couple of guys ahead of us. A regular concert goer knows a fellow fan when she sees one so I decided to follow them since we weren’t exactly sure where to go. The men led us straight to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome where we would soon be watching Korn perform at Champion’s Square. We got in line to pick up our V.I.P. passes and then migrated into another line that was to let us in 30 minutes before the rest of the General Admission ticket buyers. At 6:30 p.m., security opened the gates for us. I made a B-line straight to the front and center of the stage because I wanted to get the best view of Jonathan possible. Behind us, the Superdome lit up light a giant space craft with color changing lights circling the structure. The weather was absolutely perfect. The breeze was blowing in my hair and the people around me weren’t blowing smoke in my face. Instead, I smelled grape scented vape. Before we knew what hit us, James “Munky” Shaffer came out on stage. I looked at my partner, wide-eyed and thought, “Holy shit. This is really about to happen.” Next to the stage was Jonathan fucking Davis. I watched him for a few moments while he walked around stage talking to crew members. The rest of the band walked out and sat in a row of chairs with their instruments. They then began to play the first few notes of “Alone I Break”. I think I may have been in shock or disbelief – who knows. I stood there listening while holding up my phone to record the moment. I knew there was no way that I was going to able to believe it was real until I played back the video later. Jonathan sounded exactly as I imagined and just as good as he does in studio. He was dressed in a comfy sweater and the setting felt intimate. After the song was done, he gave a small smile, waved, then went back stage. He looked tired or maybe he was cold. I’m not sure, but he sounded fantastic none the less. At 7:00, the opening band, Islander, took the stage. I’d heard their music on Sirius XM’s Octane. “New Wave” was my favorite song of the ones that I’d heard. The band had great energy and if I wasn’t mistaken, the lead singer Mikey Carvajal and I made eye contact quite a few times. I could be fooling myself – who’s ta know? He soon began to come closer to me then climbed up on the barricade. He was standing right over me and singing downward. At me? I am not sure, but it felt good! He stepped over me, crotch in my face, and headed behind me to finish his song with the crowd holding his feet. I enjoyed the hell out of it. Next up was the band Suicidal Silence. I can’t lie…. I didn’t enjoy them. The lyrics were indecipherable and unpleasant. I like heavy metal to an extent but, this band was just too much, even for me. I will say that one of the guitarists had fantastic hair. It was blonde, straight, and looked like silk in the night breeze. If I had to guess, I’d say that his hair probably touches his rear end. He had a pretty impressive beard as well. The lights that flickered during the show were a little much. They eventually caused the two people in front of me leaning on the gate to put their heads down. I really can’t think of anything else to say about them…. The crowd parted at some point to, I assume, start a mosh pit. Down the middle came a grey haired man and his small son. The little boy had a mohawk that was colored blue on one side and red on the other. He got all of the good rock shwag! He got drum sticks, water bottles, guitar picks, a high-five, and a set list. I have to admit, I was a bit jealous. He was dressed in a vest with a ton of tiny buttons that I couldn’t read. I assume he collects them. Throughout the show, he was wide-eyed and looked a bit in shock over the band members paying so much attention to him. Suicidal Silence seemed to be on stage for an eternity. When each new song began to play, I wished that it was the last.
After they were finally finished, we watched as stage crew put together Korn’s props. There were flameless candles everywhere and a huge banner was lowered that displayed the swing set from Korn’s first album. I was a bit confused when the crew displayed a seemingly plain mic stand in front of me. I knew Jonathan’s mic, “The Bitch” designed by HR Giger well, and this was not it. The stand is a fine art piece that I would hate to be responsible for if broken. I’m sure Jonathan would break someone’s face for damaging it.
At 9:00 p.m., Korn hit the stage. Ray Luzier, the drummer, began tapping his cymbal. Next, a guitar off stage began it’s staccato like riff. Fieldy walked out and stood before us with his bass, ready to deliver. He stood for a moment…then he played the familiar bass line to “Blind” and the crowd began to cheer. Seconds before it was Jonathan’s time to sing, he appeared on stage with Munky and Brian “Head” Welch. He belted out, “Arrreeee you readyy?!?!?”. The crowd, including myself, went crazy. The band members’ hair thrashed around as they banged their heads to their music. It was surreal. I could not believe that I was actually standing in front of them. Nothing but smiles and head banging surrounded me.
Korn played their entire self titled album released 20 years ago for about an hour. This was their anniversary show and damn, was I proud to be a part of it. Jonathan took breaks in between each song to huff an oxygen line. After singing my heart out, I too was out of breath. Once we’d heard all of the songs from the album, the lights dimmed. The crew members removed the plain mic stand and replaced it with “The Bitch”!! We knew that something great was about to happen . We all cheered and screamed out throats out. “Falling Away From Me” began to play. The crowd was pumped! We all sang, raised our horns, and banged our heads for another 30 minutes. Every song put us into a trance. I’d needed this happy moment so bad.
When the show was over, Jonathan gave us a big smile and waved his hands. Munky and Head threw out candy (I think it was), guitar picks, drum sticks, etc. for the crowd to enjoy. I caught a pick from Munky for my collection. Even though he threw it, it has Head’s signature on the back. I don’t mind. As long as I get something that Munky touched, that is enough for me. He is one good looking man. I didn’t get trampled, pushed, shoved, or breathed on by hot alcohol breath the entire show. The fear of the crowd being too crazy almost kept me from buying tickets….almost.
Everything about the night went perfectly with a light, cool breeze to boot. I couldn’t have asked for it to go any better…well, maybe if I’d gotten the Meet and Greet V.I.P. passes. 😉 This trip and this show go into my folder of great experiences. Korn is now on the list of top 10 rock shows that I have ever seen. A small, blue, super mario notepad has a record of the approximately 200 concerts I’ve been to. I listened to a Korn playlist all day today and have a better appreciation for the band. Much love goes out to the guys that put a big, shit eating grin on this face.