August 4, 2016
Gexa Energy Pavilion
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Mike DiQuinzio
Photos by Lewis Leveridge
Rob Zombie - Rob Zombie, KORN
Night Of The Living Dreads
Back in 1998, Korn and Rob Zombie delivered a classic co-headlining bill. If you were there, it was the perfect time to see both-Korn was already huge, but they were riding the wave of their legendary "Follow the Leader" album that made them superstars, while Rob Zombie was supporting "Hellbilly Deluxe," his first album without White Zombie. It was an amazing time, and Dallas got the chance to relive it when the Return of the Dreads tour came to the Gexa Energy Pavilion last night.
Beginning with "Right Now" from 2003's Take a Look in the Mirror album, it was immediately apparent that Korn came to party. The band is 20 years older than when they burst onto the scene, but you'd never know it by watching them, although they have definitely grown musically with the addition of drummer Ray Luzier almost a decade ago. His machine-like drumming and powerful attack has the band playing significantly tighter and heavier than ever.
Vocalist Jonathan Davis greeted the crowd briefly to comment on the Texas heat-something we are all too familiar with-before introducing "Rotting in Vain," the first single from their upcoming album The Serenity of Suffering. After two albums of great experimentation, "Rotting in Vain" is the return to form that Korn's fanbase has been praying for. With its clicking bassline and signature scat breakdown, it fit perfectly with the rest of Korn's heavy-as-fuck catalog.
The rest of their set was focused on the hits and better-known album tracks like "Somebody Someone" and "Twist," although they surprised everyone by revisiting the criminally underrated Take a Look in the Mirror album twice more with "Did My Time" and "Y'all Want a Single," making this the first time since that album's release that they have highlighted it so heavily-and they sounded absolutely phenomenal.
For a band that emerged in spite of the mainstream, it's impressive to consider how many hits Korn actually has. From the ride cymbal intro of "Blind" and the infamous bagpipe drone of "Shoots and Ladders" to the fuzzed-out guitar of "Here to Stay" and everything in between and beyond, Korn delighted their now 30-something fans by perfectly recreating the soundtrack to their youth, hitting nearly every major hit in their catalog. It's ironic to think that this band became popular playing for angsty teens only to have them return as parents themselves, many with their kids in tow.
Rob Zombie closed out the evening with a show that only he can deliver, complete with monsters, aliens, horror movies... you name it. His set touched on almost every album in his catalog, beginning with the recent "Dead City Radio," which was followed by the classic "Superbeast." Zombie and his band were in top form all night, especially guitarist John 5, who was given a solo spotlight while Zombie walked among the living in the crowd midway through the set.
The best part of the show occurred after a short story from Rob, saying that he was visited backstage by none other than John Tempesta, drummer for White Zombie. He then said that he was going to do a song that he hasn't done in 20 years, which made the old schoolers (myself included) giddy with anticipation: "Electric Head, pt. 2," from White Zombie's classic Astro Creep album. Rob was right-I haven't heard him play that song since the tour for that very album way back in the mid-90s. It was interesting to see how many people remembered the song, as Rob observed when it was over: "I see all the parents going crazy… but the kids are like ‘what the fuck is this'?”
Zombie's new material from the recently released The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser fit seamlessly with the classics, as evidenced by the singles "In The Age Of The Consecrated Vampire We All Get High" and "Well, Everybody's Fucking In A U.F.O.," each accompanied by their respective attention-grabbing videos.
No Zombie show would be complete without the hits, though, and his amazing set was brought to a close with two of his biggest: the classics "Thunder Kiss '65," which was preceded by a plea for the crowd to put their phones away for three minutes and enjoy the moment, and "Dragula," which was performed from atop a staircase adorned in monster regalia. At the song's conclusion, Rob took over J5's guitar as the rest of the band traded instruments for a fun and noisy ending.
Having seen both these bands hundreds of times over the years, this show stands tall as one of the best. Each band is playing and sounding better than ever, continuing to give their fans their money's worth and then some-just like they did way back in 1998.