Written By: Michael and Terri Gonzales
The “Prepare For Hell Tour” brought its wrath and fury to the Allstate Arena this past Friday evening, November 28, 2014. The tour brought together heavy metal veterans Slipknot and Korn for their first ever tour together along with Flint, Michigan’s King 810 for support. This year just so happened to be the 15th anniversary for the release of Slipknot’s debut album, and also the 20th anniversary for the release of Korn’s debut album. The anniversaries also reflected the shift in age of the original fans which lead to a large amount of different generations fans and families in attendance as many parental fans were thrilled to bring their kids out. The venue was jam packed in every direction as throngs of patrons young and old poured inside. It was certainly a wild crowd ready for an intense night of music as the “Prepare For Hell Tour” was underway.
The Flint, Michigan natives King 810 were first to take the stage. As the lights went dark and the audio montage of news clips that make up the intro to the band’s hit “Kill’em All‘ began to play King 810 came out to a thunderous applause from the crowd. Front man David Gunn grabbed the mic and wasted no time before screaming into a frenzy. The pit opened up within the crowd immediately, but this was only the tip of the iceberg for what was to become the pit later in the evening. King 810 put on a brutal set with an intense performance to match their raw lyrical content in regards to daily life and violence in Flint, Michigan. These guys have built a solid underground following over the years and it is constantly growing. Be ready to for big things from King 810 in the future as they have only begun to break through and show the world what they have to offer.
Next on stage was the notorious rockers Korn who have graced the stage of the Allstate Arena many times over the past 20 years. Starting things off drummer Ray Luzier jumped on the drums and unleashed his fury to the crowds delight as the stage lights flashed wildly and the rest of Korn made their way out. Lead vocalist Jonathan Davis hyped up the crowd, and then every member froze still as the drums and ambient music all went silent for a brief moment. Korn then furiously burst into “Twist” with every member thrashing and headbanging about the stage. The entire venue went absolutely nuts as Korn’s thunderous rhythms rattled the arena. Korn’s intense intro merely set the pace for the rest of their performance.
Shortly into their set, Korn front man Jonathan Davis acknowledged the band’s history with the venue. Back in 1998 Korn organized the first ever “Family Values Tour” infusing metal, hip hop, and other genres into one wild tour. The Allstate Arena, then known as the Rosemont Horizon, was host to every Family Values Tour that came through Chicago as well multiple Korn tours over the years. Davis spoke of the venue in great regards and then told the crowd “Lets bring this place back to 1994” as Korn broke into a barrage of their classic hits from their debut album. Davis even pulled out his bagpipes for “Chutes And Ladders” as fans screamed at ear piercing levels. Korn finished the song off by going straight into the end verse of Metallica’s “One” with fans going wild. Korn played a diverse set list including a handful of tracks from their latest release “The Paradigm Shift” as well as a wide variety of older fan favorites. It was great to see Jonathan Davis, Munky, Head, and Fieldy jamming just as hard and heavy as they did 20 years ago. Drummer Ray Luzier was an absolute madman on the drums as well with a devilish look about him as he pounded away on the drums. Korn wrapped up their set with their original hit “Blind” that had the pit open up into complete chaos.
Soon after Korn left the stage a lavish blue curtain was dropped in front of everything blocking the majority of the venue’s view of what was transpiring on the stage. Eventually the lights went dark and “XIX” the intro track off of Slipknot’s recently released “.5: The Gray Chapter” began to play. Many fans sang along in unison as a multitude of cellphone flashlights and lighters illuminated the darkened arena. As the track finished, the curtain rose, and the lights kicked on to reveal a massive stage setup that had been erected for nine masked madmen. A monstrous goat head with light up eyes lined the top center of the stage with the cover art for “.5: The Gray Chapter” adorning both sides of the head. Sid Wilson and Craig Jones were located on opposite sides of the drummer constantly thrashing about. On the front corners of the stage were the keg and drum setups of percussionists and backup vocalists Chris Fehn and Shawn “Clown” Crahan. The drum and keg setups were attached to large hydraulic lifts. The lifts rose easily twelve or more feet into the air while constantly rotating 360 degrees around. Fehn and Clown had an eagle’s eye view of the crowd and fans loved every moment of their vertical antics.
Front man Corey Taylor screamed out “Chicago” to a monstrous applause once the curtain had lifted as Slipknot burst immediately into “Sarcastrophe” and the venue went wild as every fan in general admission rushed towards the stage. The pit opened up far larger than it had at any other point of the night, and this was just the first song into Slipknot‘s set. Taylor’s screams echoed throughout the building as the band followed up with “Heretic Anthem” sending the entire building into utter chaos. Guitarists Jim Root and Mick Thomson were headbanging wildly about the stage while continually cranking out their signature heavy riffs note for note. The recently appointed “unknown” bassist and drummer held their own with the rest of the band as well. There will never be another Paul Gray and Joey Jordison to complete the dynamic of the nine in its original form, but regardless the two new recruits did a fantastic job at the filling the massive roles that have been given to them while not missing a beat throughout the entire performance.
As Slipknot’s set progressed the intensity levels continued to escalate as both the band and crowd got rowdier every song. DJ Sid Wilson found himself hanging and then jumping off of Clown’s elevated drum and keg rack at one point sending him rolling across the stage floor when he landed, yet walking away unscathed. Just a few songs into their set Slipknot unveiled a barrage of onstage pyrotechnics that spewed fireballs and created a wall of flames lining the back of the stage. Corey Taylor openly professed his undying love for Chicago as it was the city where Slipknot was first discovered many years ago with this also marking the 15th anniversary of their debut album. In their early days Slipknot would regularly make the trek out from Iowa to perform at Chicago venues. Once again the arena was whisked back to the 90’s, specifically 1999, for a brief moment in time as Slipknot performed a slew of their original hits including “Wait And Bleed“, and “Spit It Out“. During “Spit It Out” percussionist and backup vocalist Shawn “Clown” Crahan made his way out into the seats of the arena wandering about with a wireless microphone and security close behind until he chose a spot in the stands to his liking. He then proceeded to scream the song’s final chorus while surrounded by fans in the crowd before making his way back onstage. Throughout this montage of original album hits the pit seemingly engulfed the entire general admission floor as bodies, clothing, and personal belongings were all flung wildly throughout the air.
Slipknot’s intense performance included a solid mix off all five of the band’s studio albums with a good amount of material from their recently released “.5: The Gray Chapter” meshing quite well with their prior hits. The set initially wrapped up with the newer track “Custer“, but the crowd was restless in demanding an encore. It did not take long before the audio intro to Slipknot’s self-titled debut album poured through the speakers, and slowly but surely the band members were back onstage. Fans were scrambling back into the arena as Slipknot then burst into “(sic)“, “People = Sh*t“, and closed out their incredible encore with “Surfacing” as the venue went utterly berserk.
The “Prepare For Hell Tour” was well worth every penny spent to be there. King 810, Korn, and Slipknot all put on incredible performances. The intensity and raw energy illuminated from each band and surged throughout the venue putting on a concert tour like no other. With Slipknot and Korn on their first ever headlining tour together, along with both band’s debut album anniversaries this year, fans were guaranteed a one of a kind performance and that is certainly what they received. Korn and Slipknot have endured a lot over the years that would have broken and ended many other bands. In the end both bands proved that they will do whatever it takes to overcome adversity both in their lives and music while continuing to push forward. Together they put on one hell of a performance that brought many different generations of fans together for a night of pure heavy metal. The “Prepare For Hell Tour” was without a doubt a night of incredible music and should not be missed.