Slipknot’s Clown is swinging a baseball bat with everything he’s got, battering a beer keg in time with the snare drum as Duality reaches its ear-drum splitting crescendo. A local in the audience turns to his pal and says: “We might not play baseball in this city, but I imagine there’s a fairly healthy market for those bats.”
They’re good at making fun of themselves, are Glaswegians. But if one of their heroes is giving them praise, they’re more than happy to accept. “Are you ready to go fucking crazy? Are you ready to go fucking Scottish?,” roars Corey Taylor. And the noise that comes back from the thousands of ‘maggots’ in the packed Hydro puts a smile on his face that not even his mask can hide.
But before the main event, there’s an impressive undercard that kicks off with Flint, Michigan’s angriest band. King 810 (it’s pronounced eight one oh, we’re assured, not eight ten) only get half an hour to impress, but they do enough to warrant at least some of the hype that has surrounded their arrival on the metal scene. Frontman David Gunn and bassist Gene Gill had a brush with the law last year that saw the band miss a scheduled Download appearance. So as far as bad boys go, they are the genuine article. But musically, there’s still work to be done. An often repeated shtick that sees Gunn whispering lyrics while the band remain relatively quiet gets old pretty fast. But at their most interesting – on War Outside and Fat Around The Heart – King 810 show promise.
Next up are Korn. Support acts don’t come much bigger than this and their name on the ticket gives this show real value for money. Jonathan Davis takes to the stage in a fetching kilt and later plays the bagpipes on the intro to Shoots & Ladders. As far as getting the locals onside, he’s ticking all the right boxes. And as the band launches into Good God, it appears they’ve made an arse of it…. but in fact guitarist Munky has snuck away to get a birthday cake which he presents to the frontman with Corey, Chris and Sid from Slipknot before the song gets properly underway. You get the sense Korn are really enjoying the show and they must have been thrilled to hear recent single Hater get the biggest cheer of their set.
By the time Slipknot hit the stage, Glasgow is suitably warmed up and ready for the main event on the Prepare For Hell tour. Judging by the typically evil stage setup, the tour has been appropriately named. A giant devil’s head looms over two ramped walkways that resemble a strip club dreamed up by the mind of David Lynch at his most disturbed. Brilliant, in other words. Add The Heretic Anthem to the mix and the place feels positively possessed.
Flames lick up from the sides of the ramps and shoot into the air from along the drum riser, making life even more treacherous for Clown and Chris Fehn who already have their matching elevated and rotating platforms to contend with. Both are in fine fettle, avoiding the flames and prowling their spaces like demented, caged animals.
The new drummer and bass player – who we shall continue to pretend not to know the identities of – look like they’ve been in the job for ages, so comfortable are they in their roles. But the memory of late bassist Paul Gray is here too, with new album .5: The Gray Chapter well represented.
The Devil In I is a quite perfect live track and will surely go on to be a fans’ favourite for years to come. The audience greets it fiercely, and show almost as much love to The Negative One.
Before I Forget and Duality are presented back-to-back and the arena bounces along with the fans who jump in unison. But of course they save some energy for the now traditional mass ‘sit down’ which Taylor talks the newbies through during a short break in Spit It Out. Seeing thousands of people plant their backsides on the floor before launching into the air as one is quite spectacular.
Few bands can own a venue as massive as this with such ease, but Slipknot come armed with the songs as well as the drama. And baseball bats… those help too.
Setlist Sarcastrophe The Heretic Anthem My Plague The Devil in I Psychosocial The Negative One Opium of the People Dead Memories The Blister Exists Before I Forget Duality Disasterpiece Spit It Out Custer
Encore: (sic) People = Shit Surfacing