Korn, RDS Simmonscourt Pavilion, Dublin, 10th September 2002.
You've got two types of Korn fan. There are the ones who want to see the band play the debut album, "Peachy" and the good songs off of "Follow the leader". The others want to see them play "Issues" and "Untouchables". However, either faction was going to miss this gig for the world though, regardless of what they played. Korn are an important band you see. Their dark, often deeply disturbing lyrics and bleak, harsh music means something to their fans.
Korn are, at times, a band that you can see yourself reflected in, no matter how much it pains you to see that reflection. Apart from that they not only kicked off the nu-metal revolution, but basically invented the entire scene on their debut album and then fully reinvented it on 'Follow the leader' a few years later. Their self-titled debut has become an essential tool for hundreds of bands since its release and is one of the most important hard rock albums of this generation.
The last time Korn played Ireland was for the 'Life is peachy' album, which is another reason why tonight is so important. An Irish Korn gig is about as rare as a Metallica one. At nine o'clock, the lights inside the Simmons court Pavilion went dead and the three huge screens behind the stage lit up to show film of a young boy running through a house, while being chased by something. Then the slow burning, fuzzed up guitars of 'Here to stay' kicked in over the PA and the RDS erupted.
Jon Davis was in fine form, connecting instantly with the crowd, while Munky and Head, crouched low over their guitars, bobbed up and down on either side of him. Davis is charismatic and a superb frontman. His vocal sound may have changed dramatically over the last two albums, but he still has that raw, unnerving touch. It's the sort of sound that grabs you by the arm and says "Something is seriously fucked with this guy", while attempting to pull you towards the nearest exit. It's best evidenced on the older material like the pounding, rage anthem 'Faget' and the bizarre, fucked up 'Twist'.
The set dipped into every Korn album, but tended to favour 'Issues' and 'Untouchables' more so than 'Korn' and 'Life is peachy'. 'Falling away from me' was excellent as was 'Bottled up inside', an instant mosh-pit favourite. 'ADIDAS' had everyone roaring about 'fucking' at the top of their lungs but the best reception of the night was for the all too familiar bell-cymbal ringing that leads into 'Blind'. The clicking bass, the call and response guitar work and finally the explosive call to arms issued by Davis. 'Are you READY?'. You've never seen a mosh-pit blow up like this before. Absolute madness. Korn at their best.
I wasn't Korn at their best throughout though. Minor sound problems dogged the PA for the duration. Fieldy's bass was often too low, while the drums, especially for the older material could be too loud. Munky and Head's bizarre and eccentric guitar work sometimes got lost in the mix, being drenched by the drums, especially on the abysmal 'Trash'. 'Make me bad' helped lift the tempo and the aggression level in the RDS again for a spectacular middle section, which also featured a snippet of 'BBK' and a resounding 'Freak on a leash'. 'Freaků' received one of the best responses from the now tiring crowd, proving that Korn are at their live best when playing up-tempo songs with explosive, catchy choruses. New single 'Thoughtless' was well received by the younger fractions of the crowd, but passed harmlessly over everybody else. 'No ones there' got the band bogged down yet again; it was at this point that people found the time to get a drink/ piss/ have a smoke.
When Jonathan returned to the stage armed with his bagpipes what else but 'Shoots and ladders' could follow. A bastardised mix of nursery rhymes twisted into barbed wire and fed through a blender. 'Got the life' finished the night's proceedings off nicely with its driving, high-octane hi-hat rhythm and pulsing bass line. The heavens opened and we were covered in silver, snow-like tinsel, while the stage became lost in a haze of smoke. Nobody left without a smile.