Words by Kevin Silva
The stale stench of cigarette smoke acting almost as part of the building itself fills the air as we make our way through the MGM Grand casino floor. Every walk of life represented but most importantly, the Maggots are in full effect. As we pass the food court, it’s clear that we’re no longer in Las Vegas, Nevada. Masks and full classic Slipknot jumpsuits poking out throughout the arena. We’re in Iowa tonight.
The anxious energy is spiking as the anticipation grows for Slipknot to take the stage after Cypress Hill finished their set of legendary bangers. Then it happens. The lights drop. The opening chords of “Disasterpiece” off of their sophomore release Iowa act as a warning of setting the tone as they rip into “Wait and Bleed” off of their 1999 debut self-titled record. Yeah. I agree. “Wait and Bleed” second on the setlist? Yeah. We’re about to get our asses handed to us.
There are fireballs, explosions, flames. If you weren’t already hot from being out in the Vegas desert heat already, your foreword was surely sweating from fire coming off that stage. There’s no experience like it.
In the direct center of the floor, what looks like a wormhole of violence is actually a non-stop circle pit. You may have read “a circle pit that went around and tired out here and there as most do”. No. That said non-stop because Maggots are a different breed of fan and they bring it just as hard Slipknot brings it on the stage.
The pummel doesn’t ease as the ‘Knot rips into “All Out Life”, “Sulfur”, “Before I Forget”, and the latest taste of their upcoming album in the form of the single “The Chapeltown Rag” that was first performed last November. Corey lets the crowd know that a new album is coming but can’t say exactly when, but we should be hearing something new within the next month which left the Maggots salivating.
Corey speaks with command among his community - emphasizing a sense of urgency to care for one another regardless of our differences as the crowd erupts in with the declaration of unity.
With a discography as rich and brutal as Slipknot has, it’s hard to expect what you’ll get on a tour like this and how deep into the catalog they’ll go. But this set is career spanning, and the crowd is verbally and visually grateful. From “Dead Memories” to “Unsainted” to “Psychosocial” to “Snuff” which the band, until this tour, hadn’t played since 2012. I look around and I see people hugging and crying. That look on their faces that conveys, “I never thought I’d see them play this live”. And if you’ve ever been in that same situation then you know exactly how beautiful that moment can be.
Masterful ebb and flow of energy aside, the band resumes to wreak havoc with the one-two wallop from 2004’s Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses with “Vermillion” and my personal favorite, “Duality”. Here is where I black out and get whisked away to that house in Iowa from the music video - crumbling around us all as one of the best melodic metal songs of the 2000’s is played to perfection with both Shawn Crahan and Michael Pfaff cracking the hell out of their steel kegs.
The set comes to an end with their self-titled album’s “Spit It Out” but not without a bit more insanity as Taylor has us take a seat. Of course, everyone in the pit has already been seated before he could call it out. Corey then let’s ya know that at the end of the countdown that he needs us all to “Jump the fuck up!” to which the arena follows suit.
Slipknot leaves the stage, and the MGM Grand Arena is in pitch black. The chants for more ring out. “(515)” plays throughout the venue as the nine masked members return to the stage and rip into the national anthem of the United States of Slipknot, “People = Shit”.
The show comes to an end with 1999’s “Surfacing” as sparks shoot across the stage above the band.
As the Maggots leave the arena and enter back onto the casino floor, we all pass a bar where a band is playing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” (as a bar band does) and we all sing along overpowering the band itself and that’s the pure memory I’ll take with me after we were all reveled in the afterglow of the assault we all just endured together.
Setlist // Slipknot // Las Vegas, NV Knotfest Roadshow
- Wait and Bleed
- All Out Life
- Before I Forget
- The Chapeltown Rag
- Dead Memories
- The Heretic Anthem
- The Devil in I
- Spit It Out
- People = Shit