So for another year in a row I attended the Music as a Weapon tour put together by Disturbed. This time it was at the US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids and not only that but this time I got to sit down and chat with Munky from Korn! It has been 17 years since the first time I interviewed Korn so it was pretty cool to chat with him after all these years. I’ll get to that interview soon enough but first I need to do a show review and share some pictures with you of the night.
Of course the show never starts on time, but I was. I got to Cedar Rapids at about 10 to 5 and called Korn’s tour manager to confirm the interview and to set up a time and place to meet. That was done quickly and easily and then I headed to the Will Call to get my passes. This was at about 5:00 PM and no passes where in yet. I was a little worried since the show was suppose to start at 6 PM, but no biggie. I headed back to the van to chill out for awhile, well actually warm up, man it was cold. I then texted my buddy SiNDADDY and chatted about music and recording then headed to the venue at about 5:30. Passes acquired and the gear was with me. I got in through the VIP door which was nice since that meant I didn’t have to trudge up stair after stair carrying the camera, tripod and all of my audio equipment.
Found the area that I was suppose to meet Korn’s tour manager at. It was now just shortly before six and Fieldy’s new band Stillwell was suppose to take the stage at 6 PM, that didn’t happen. I was to meet up with the management at 6:50 PM, I caught most of Stillwell’s set while waiting for 6:50 to arrive and also met an interesting and hopeful fellow by the name of Bishop who was hoping to give his demo to the guys in Korn. I gave him some pointers on how the industry works (He was complaining that Road Runner wouldn’t even listen to his demos and I asked him if he know what Solicited versus Unsolicited meant and he didn’t so I explained to him that the label wasn’t being mean, but playing by the rules they set forth). I gave him my email address and told him to keep in touch. It’s always exciting to see that kind of raw energy that drive that we’ve all had. This kid drove all the way from Ohio for this show!
6:50 hit, well about not exactly 6:50 it was a bit closer to 7 and the tour manager and I meet up. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see In This Moment on stage. That was a huge disappointment for me. I had really been hoping to catch Maria and company on stage since I did my interview with her last year. I really wanted to see them and grab some shots of ITM onstage and see what kind of power they posses on the stage and see what their show is all about. But on the flip side, I was on Korn’s tour bus interviewing Munky at the time so I guess I can’t complain too much.
After my interview was done and I got to spend some time telling stories with Munky, met Fieldy again briefly and chatted with Munky’s assistant and Korn’s keyboard player. It was really cool. It was fun to tell those guys stories about my life and how their music was a part of it at different times in my life. I liked my interview with Munky too. I felt like we had a solid interview and seemed to be on the same wav length. It made me feel like things had come full circle in my life a little bit. I did try and show Munky the pic of the first time I met them on my phone but it was taking too long and I didn’t want to hold him up any more. I’ll put the pic here just incase he reads this.
So after the interview is done I run my stuff to the van and put it away and come back to the bus where Munky’s assistant takes me back into the venue and says “Where do you want to be?” I say on the side of the stage and he leaves me there! Me on the side of the stage for Sevendust… YES!
Sevendust’s set was amazing as usual. Full of energy. Lajon and crew were on point. A couple of times I felt like perhaps they weren’t getting the energy back from the crowd that they wanted but they were killing it. Being at the side of the stage the sound was muddy and extremely hard to make out any clear tones but that didn’t really matter because the energy they put on was just amazing. They were having fun and smiling and interacting with everyone. I had a blast watching them. They played a little bit of everything but seemed to really focus on the fan favorites which was alright with me, cause I’m a fan you know. They even through in a little cover of Pantera’s “Walk” which I saw them do last Summer here in Waterloo too. I’ve seen Sevendust probably more times that I can count in all different venues from Shag’s to First Ave. to Target Center and no matter what venue they ALWAYS put on a great show and for me this was no exception. I love the whole night and had a blast watching them, it was even fun to watch them interact with their monitor sound-guy at the side of the stage. The camaraderie and friendship that these guys appear to have seems absolutely genuine and I was impressed.
After Sevendust got done I sat at the side of the stage waiting for Disturbed to take the stage. Soon I was scuttled out of back stage by what I’m guessing was Disturbed’s stage manager being told that I couldn’t be back there and I need to move somewhere up front. I explained that I had a photo pass and he told me to get into the barricade with the other photographers. So I did. HOLY CRAP I was right in front of the stage. Seriously, I could reach out and grab the band by the feet if I wanted to. Check out these pictures.
This was my second time seeing Disturbed, while I’ve never been a huge fan of the band, I dig a lot of their singles they’ve released. It was fun to watch them from this close up for the first three songs. They really seemed to be enjoying what they were doing too. Again because of where I was at in the venue the sound was crap and at times I couldn’t tell what was going on, but I must say, it was really weird to hear David clapping and actually be close enough to hear him clapping… It was also fun to be up that close as well and have a bit of interaction with the band while they were on stage. It was nice to get some horns in my direction and a few smiles as well. Lots of energy and the visuals behind the drummer were amazing. Crystal clear and cool to watch. I’m sure they meant a lot more to the rabid fans of the band than myself. My biggest problem with Disturbed live is that David doesn’t do much. He kind of walks around the stage throwing his hands in the air and singing his hear out but he doesn’t seem to have a lot of energy in it. Perhaps I’m reading too much into it but he seems tired some times or like he’s just going through the motions. The rest of the guys didn’t look that way to me at all though and the drummer has the biggest drum kit I have ever seen in my entire life.
After the third song I kind of go off to the side of the stage to get out of the way. I’m only allowed to take pictures for the first three songs and no flash can be used. So I follow the other photographer’s lead and get out of dodge. Then suddenly I’m being rushed out of the back stage area by security despite my press credentials. OK, fine I’ll just wait on the other side of the curtain. Nope I’m moved to the other side of the barricade. I plead my case but am told to just wait until Disturbed are done and then talk to the next stage manager. So I watch Disturbed play and also watch hordes of people get taken out of the pit. I watch about four different people get kicked out for smoking inside and I see paramedics and police doing what they do best. You know concerts are more than just a place to listen to music and meet up with other fans. There are so many people that are their doing a job it’s amazing. People who may not even like the music are there to do a job. It was cool. It gave me a new appreciation for the job that every one has at a venue for these type of things.
So Disturbed wind up their set and Korn gets set up. I see the other photographers start heading up front to get pictures and I go to go by security and they stop me. WHAT? I have a press pass, I was just up there… I ask the security guard why I’m not allowed to go up and he says he’ll get somebody to help me. I give them my credentials and off he goes. Next thing you know another security guard comes up to me after about 15 minutes of waiting and tells me that I don’t have the right laminate to be up front and only those with the proper laminates can be up there so I’ll just have to get my pictures from the crowd. Yuck. If you guys don’t know this I’m a short dude. The security guard apologizes and tells me it’s not them but the bands management and I don’t fault them or the management. There are always hoops to jump through, figuring out which are the right hoops are part of the learning process. So I didn’t get to be up front for Korn this time, next time I’ll know better and get my passes taken care of earlier and be more specific in my requests to make sure I’m where I need to be.
Any who, Korn take the stage and start the night off with perhaps my most favorite song by them “Blind”. What a way to open a set still. It has a great intense build and just explodes. But wait… something doesn’t feel right to me. I’m not sure what it is, but Jonathan just doesn’t seem that into it any more. Or maybe I’ve seen the show so many times that I’m just not believing that they can bring the same intensity 17 years later from the first time I saw them. Munky and Fieldy are doing a great job. Tons of energy great stage presence but Jonathan looks angry and like he’s going through the motions. I’ve now been moved to the front of the house so I can hear the sound a lot better. The band sounds great. I just wish I could have been closer.
Korn played a great set though again of fan favorites and a couple of brief covers, one of Metallica’s “One” and “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen. The new stuff sounded great and had a lot of power behind it, and the fan really seemed to be into the whole set. I ended up chatting with a corrections officer named Jared who’s shooting a hunting show with HD cameras and is just starting to work with premier and after effects! Funny how you run into people isn’t it?
It was a good time though, all the bands did great. I learned a lot again and I had a good time. I also got a free Monster Energy drink after the show which was flipping sweet. Thanks to Warner Brothers, Century Media, Amanda Cagan, Amy at RoadRunner and the staff at the US Cellular Center for all of your hard work. Also thank you to Munky’s assistant and Korn’s Tour Manager for making things run so smoothly.
This post was written by Gabe Wilkinson on March 28, 2011