UK leg began at Motorpoint Arena last night (January 16)
Masked heavy metal icons Slipknot promised to “make up for lost time” as they launched their first full UK tour for more than six years in Sheffield last night.
The nine band members started the show behind an elegant white curtain which shot up as opening track ‘Sarcastrophe’ kicked in, revealing a giant model of a goat’s skull looming over the crowd. Thousands of fans surged forwards as percussionists Shawn Crahan and Chris Fehn were thrust upwards on their trademark pneumatic drum platforms.
Flames began to erupt on stage and the goat’s eyes began to flash menacingly during ‘The Heretic Anthem’, while gas mask-wearing turntablist Sid Wilson dangled from his DJ booth and leapt repeatedly from the raised gangway surrounding the band.
Vocalist Corey Taylor told the crowd: “It has been far, far, far too fucking long but Slipknot is back with all of you tonight. We’re going to make up for lost time.”
Last night’s show at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield was the first UK date of Slipknot’s Prepare For Hell Tour, which features nu-metal architects Korn as the main support.
Korn delved deep into their archive for their performance, opening with ‘Twist’ from 1996 album ‘Life Is Peachy’ and closing with a powerful version of debut single ‘Blind’. Their set also had tracks from the band’s late ’90s and early ’00s heydey, including ‘Here To Stay’ and ‘Freak On A Leash’, as well as a version of ‘Shoots And Ladders’ that started with frontman Jonathan Davis on bagpipes and ended with the band covering a section of Metallica’s ‘One’.
Slipknot’s set also spanned their back catalogue, with tracks from their 1999 self-titled debut sitting in the setlist alongside cuts from their latest record. ‘.5: The Gray Chapter’, released last year, was Slipknot’s first album since the death of bassist Paul Gray in 2010.
The Prepare For Hell Tour is their first run of UK dates with their new touring bass player, British musician Alessandro Venturella. Drummer Joey Jordison, who left Slipknot in 2013, is replaced by Jay Weinberg, son of Max Weinberg, the long-serving drummer in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.
This year marks 20 years since Crahan and Gray formed Slipknot in Des Moines, Iowa. Introducing the band’s 2001 single ‘Left Behind’, taken from the album the band named after their home state, Taylor asked the crowd: “How would you like to go back to Iowa tonight?”
During ‘Spit It Out’, security staff could be seen side of stage, dealing with what appeared to be a fan attempting to reach the band. In the centre, Taylor commanded the 13,000-strong crowd to sit on the floor, ready to spring into action when the song kicked back in.
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“I’ve seen a million fucking bands emulate this but they never, ever imitate it the way we put it on,” he said. “On my signal, unleash hell.”
The UK leg of the Prepare For Hell Tour, which also has Michigan metal band King 180 on the bill, concludes in Birmingham on Tuesday 27 January. Slipknot will return to the UK to headline Download Festival at Donington Park, 12-14 June.
‘The Heretic Anthem’
‘The Devil In I’
‘The Negative One’
‘Frail Limb Nursery’
‘Before I Forget’
‘Spit It Out’
‘People = Shit’