Slipknot‘s live performances are a brooding heavy metal spectacle that one has see to believe. The rigorous nine-piece unit is currently boasting a stage setup that employs fierce pyrotechnics, manic drummers who soar above the crowd on rotating pillars and, of course, their individualized stage personas.
It was during Slipknot’s recent visit to the Midflorida Credit Union Amphitheater in Tampa that the band put together one hell of an evening’s worth of rigid, anthemic music as part of their ongoing ‘Summer’s Last Stand‘ tour of North America alongside three supporting acts. Each opening group has been classified under the heavy metal banner, yet their distinctive elements and energies allowed for a diverse compilation of metal.
Motionless in White were the preliminary force of the evening, and perhaps were also the most unforeseen because of the level of their prowess. These rising Gothic metalers broke onstage to the adrenalized pace of “Break the Cycle,” a savage riff-rocker from their 2014 studio album ‘Reincarnate.’ The seemingly familiar audience broke into cheers upon the introduction of such seasoned numbers as “Abigail” and “Devil’s Night,” just before the members of Motionless in White concluded their set with the title track off of ‘Reincarnate.’
A readily appreciated force within the thrash metal community followed, and the sea of metalheads standing within the pit briefly set their moshing to halt and rose their fists when the Bullet for My Valentine banner was prominently displayed across the length of the stage. Bullet for My Valentine stood valiantly behind their forthcoming fifth album ‘Venom’ by opening up their portion of the show with the take-no-prisoners “No Way Out.” The band heightened their set with the welcome appearances of “Scream Aim Fire” and “Tears Don’t Fall,” which were both decorated with compelling roars from mainman Matthew “Matt” Tuck and the blistering guitar talents of Michael “Padge” Paget.
The introduction of American heavy metal veterans Lamb of God even received an excited reaction from Paget when the band was mentioned during Bullet’s set, and it wasn’t challenging to understand why. Despite decades of vicious groove metal victories across the world, Lamb of God remained in top form during their appearance in Tampa.
Opening with the deafening “Walk with Me in Hell” off of their celebrated 2006 album ‘Sacrament,’ vocalist Randy Blythe immediately stole the stage through his array of midair acrobatics and compelling stage presence. Chris Adler was a close second in that regard; having just completed a brief tenure with Megadeth, Adler was laying down crashing percussion work throughout such songs as “512” and “Still Echoes,” which are both selections from the new Lamb of God record ‘VII: Sturm und Drang.’
This concrete trio of metal bands have the potential to form their own headlining tour, and yet the anticipation was at it’s highest when the themes of Van Halen‘s “Running with the Devil,” which serves as Slipknot’s curtain call, came racing out of the arena speakers. Just prior the song’s third verse, the lights were cut off and the melancholic overtones of “XIX” off of Slipknot’s 2014 studio effort ‘.5: The Gray Chapter’ soon had the entire place on their feet and singing along to the melodies of lead vocalist Corey Taylor. The red curtains that donned the band’s signature S insignia pulled back to reveal a nightmarish landscape, as each member of Slipknot gradually took their positions on this carnival of souls.
Following the progression of their latest album, Slipknot burst straight into “Sacastrophe” and sent the standing room group at the stage’s front into a complete frenzy. Corey Taylor, complete with his enhanced mask that added another hint of terror to the festivities, stood at the helm while fire lit up the background during “The Heratic Anthem.” The manic Sid Wilson was found throwing himself into the walls of speakers during “Psychosocial,” while Chris Fehn and Shawn “Clown” Crahan were launched into the air on rotating pillars during “The Devil in I.”
Their theatrics were at one of their strongest during “Killpop,” when guitarist Jim Root was found walking down a staircase as fire cascaded on either side of him. It was pure unadulterated hysteria at it’s finest, as all Maggots have come to expect from Slipknot.
Slipknot Set List, Midflorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Tampa, FL 7.26.15
The Heretic Anthem
The Devil in I
Frail Limb Nursery
Wait and Bleed
Before I Forget
The Blister Exists
The Negative One
Spit It Out
People = Shit
Motionless in White
Bullet for My Valentine
Lamb of God