CONCERT REVIEW: Nu-Metal Heavyweights Korn Open Tour in West Palm Beach
Hardcore metal fans of two-time Grammy Award-winning nu-metal California-bred rockers Korn packed the house Thursday (August 5) for the tour opener of their 28-date run of the Summer Tour 2021 at iTHINK Financial Amphitheater in West Palm Beach.
There was plenty of speculation and anticipation about this concert as fans of the longtime Kern County rockers showed up pumped and primed, having waited nearly two years for their return to South Florida; their last show here was in 2019.
Aficionados of the band showed up on a typical South Florida shirt-soaking humid night, wearing Korn tee shirts and black everything else to support the band on a picture-perfect night in West Palm Beach. The tour opener didn’t come off perfectly; there seemed to be a slight technical delay as the show didn’t start at the 9:15 announced time. instead the curtain dropped at 9:45 which resulted in a shortened performance. After waiting two years to see their band, the crowd became restless, perhaps due to the alcohol kicking in or knowing the impending Palm Beach County 11 p.m. noise curfew. Finally, it was show time. The house lights dimmed, and the crowd noise grew to deafening tones as the curtain dropped, and Korn’s five-man setup took their respective spots.
With Jonathan Davis on lead vocals, Ray Luzier on drums, Brian Welch and James Shaffer on guitars, and Ra Diaz on bass, Korn wasted no time and quickly got into “Insane,” a cut from 2016’s The Serenity of Suffering. The crowd was now fully engaged with devil’s horns held high. Korn kicked things into overdrive with a head-banging version of “Falling Away From Me” that had lead vocalist and frontman Jonathan Davis in his traditional kilt pacing the stage like a lion who has been released from his cage while belting out his unfiltered emotions through his sinister voice.
It was drummer Ray Luzier who had the spotlight on him most of the set, as he sat up high on a riser behind his massive drum kit while pounding out the beat in a relentless manner that kept the energy up the entire night. We know Luzier for his work with with David Lee Roth, Steel Panther, and Stone Temple Pilots, but clearly he has become an integral part of Korn, having become a permanent member of the band in 2008.
With drums and bass as the foundation of every band, longtime fans didn’t get to see Korn founding bassist Reginald ‘Fieldy’ Arvizu perform; it was announced before the tour that he would be taking an extended leave from the band to deal with personal issues. Stepping in to fill the roll was Suicidal Tendencies five-stringer Ra Diaz, who held his own playing a solid set while fingerpicking his Spector bass. The sound was great, the band was tight, and Davis voice hasn’t sounded better; perhaps the pandemic-forced break did the band well. The band gave the crowd what they paid for: a non-stop rock show that kept everyone standing during the entire set. Korn’s stage lighting was superb and filled every corner of the stage, and the screen behind the band played a steady stream of lyrics to the songs being performed.
As with every Korn show, the energy was electric, the crowd fist-pumping, mosh-pitting, and crowd-surfing. Something we’ve also become used to seeing: dreadlock-sporting rocker and guitar maven Brian Welch’s magnificent locks flying in sync while shredding on his guitar.
Korn continued through with “Here to Stay,” “Victimized,” “Got the Life,” and “Cold” before multi-talented Jonathan Davis took the spotlight, bringing out his bagpipes, paying homage to his English, Irish, and Scottish roots before transitioning into “Shoots and Ladders,” then carrying on with “You’ll Never Find Me,” “Coming Undone” “Freak on a Leash,” “Can You Hear Me,” “Good God,” and “Dirty.” What was missing were two of Korn’s biggest tunes, number one and two chart toppers “Never Never” off 2013’s The Paradigm Shift and “Take Me” (The Serenity of Suffering); this was perhaps due to the shortened set list/time restraint. Regardless, as the band closed out the set with “Dirty,” the lights dropped, and the fans demanded more.
Running short on time, Korn obliged and quickly returned to the stage, satisfying the crowd’s overzealous hunger. Korn played condensed versions of “It’s On,” “Trash,” “Did My Time,” and “Twist.” Then Davis stated, “We’ve saved the best for last ya’ll and haven’t played this M.F.er in 15 years” before rocking out to “A.D.I.D.A.S.” The night couldn’t end without Korn going out in grand fashion; they closed the show as a massive explosions of streamers covered the crowd, guitars squealed, and drums pounded, leading into fan-favorite “Blind” from the band’s 1994 debut album Korn.
It was clear they were glad to be playing before a live audience at the opening of their tour. Korn didn’t disappoint and gave everyone an injection of the band’s very best. What will happen with the pandemic in the near future is uncertain, but what is clear is that Korn hasn’t lost a step, some of the best rock performers to grace the stage. This is a must see concert.
Support for the tour was from alternative rock band Staind, who performed a killer set that primed the crowd for Korn.
Korn Summer Tour
Aug. 08 – Alpharetta, Ga. @ Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
Aug. 10 – Raleigh, N.C. @ Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek
Aug. 11 – Bristow, Va. @ Jiffy Lube Live
Aug. 13 – Camden, N.J. @ BB&T Pavilion
Aug. 14 – Scranton, Pa. @ The Pavilion at Montage Mountain
Aug. 17 – Wantagh, N.Y. @ Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
Aug. 18 – Holmdel, N.J. @ PNC Bank Arts Center
Aug. 20 – Hartford, Conn. @ Xfinity Theatre
Aug. 21 – Mansfield, Mass. @ Xfinity Center
Aug. 24 – Darien Center, N.Y. @ Darien Lake Amphitheater
Aug. 25 – Syracuse, N.Y. @ St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview
Aug. 27 – Tinley Park, Ill. @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Aug. 28 – Noblesville, Ind. @ Ruoff Music Center
Aug. 31 – Detroit, Mich. @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
Sept. 02 – Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio @ Blossom Music Center
Sept. 03 – Burgettstown, Pa. @ The Pavilion at Star Lake
Sept. 05 – St. Louis, Mo. @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Sept. 06 – Bonner Springs, Kan. @ Azura Amphitheater
Sept. 09 – Salt Lake City, Utah @ USANA Amphitheatre
Sept. 11 – Mountain View, Calif. @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
Sept. 12 – Irvine, Calif. @ FivePoint Amphitheatre
Sept. 14 – Phoenix, Ariz. @ Ak-Chin Pavilion
Sept. 15 – Albuquerque, N.M. @ Isleta Amphitheater
Sept. 18 – Austin, Texas @ Germania Insurance Amphitheater
Sept. 19 – Houston, Texas @ The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion presented by Huntsman
Sept. 21 – Dallas, Texas @ Dos Equis Pavilion
Sept. 23 – Louisville, Ky. @ Louder Than Life Festival