Korn and Rob Zombie have toured together several times. The first time
they went out with the "Rock is Dead Tour" where Korn was touring
"Follow the Leader" and Zombie was touring "Hellbilly Deluxe." At that
time both Korn and Rob Zombie were at the peak of their popularity.
They joined forces a few years back on the Mayhem tour and they just
finished up their run together on the "Night of the Living Dreads"
Think of all the bands that were alive and well back in 1999, now think of who’s still around and who’s still relevant. Korn recently welcome d Brian "Head" Welch back to the band and sound tighter than ever. "The Paradigm Shift" is the new album and while it’s not favorite Korn album (largely due to the fact that I’ve had ten years to get attached to several of their albums) it is far and away the tightest album they’ve ever released.
Live, Korn has never sounded better. It’s a difficult thing to play before or after Rob Zombie, few bands can keep up with him, but I’d argue Korn did that and more in Cedar Rapids. I can pin point what it was that made Korn so great that night. The set was a pretty standard set mixed in with a few new songs like "Never, Never" and "Love and Meth." For the last several years "Blind" has been the bands closing number, well this tour it was the opener. There is no better set opening song in hard rock. Every two bars another instrument is added to the mix and finally Jonathan Davis comes out and screams "Are You Ready?"
The set list included three songs from the non Head era, two of the dub step songs off of "The Path of Totality" and "Come Undone." It was refreshing to see Head back in the group. The highlight of the show for me was the "Shoots & Ladders/Somebody Someone" medley. Who doesn’t love the bagpipes? The fan favorite was "Dead Bodies Everywhere." While I was waiting in the photo pit for the show to start I could hear people all through out the floor praying that Korn was going to bust out "Dead Bodies" and when they did Cedar Rapids lost it.
Korn finished off their set with "Y’all Wanna Single," "Got the Life" and "Freak of a Leash." I’ve seen Korn ten plus times. They’ve always put on a great show, but there was something about their stop in Cedar Rapids that was special.
Why would anybody want to play with Rob Zombie? The age old debate is who’s the better live theatrical act, Kiss or Alice Cooper? My generation asks about Rob Zombie vs Marilyn Manson. Rob Zombie is far and away the most relevant shock rocker out their right now. I honestly believe that the question should be Kiss, Alice Cooper or Rob Zombie. He’s earned to be mentioned in the same sentence as those two.
The guy is such a perfectionist yet such a rock star. When you seen Rob’s movies or see him do interviews and what not, there’s nothing rock star about him, but as soon as he hits the stage he performs as if he’s as big a rock star as a satanic Alice Cooper, Steven Tyler or David Lee Roth. Nobody owns the stage like Rob Zombie.
They opened the show with the first single off of the new album "Dead City Radio" then quickly ripped into his best live song "Superbeast." It was hit after hit with Zombie: "Living Dead Girl," "We’re an American Band," "More Human than Human," "Sick Bubblegum," and "Thunder Kiss ‘65" among many others.
John 5 was the best musician to take the stage that night. If there is anybody out there that can pull attention away from Rob Zombie its John 5. He runs around like a chicken with his head cut off during "Superbeast," he played the national anthem before going into "We’re an American Band" and he even had a solo moment on stage where he impressed not only every member of the audience but every guitar player in the building.
During "Thunder Kiss ‘65" the band transitioned into Alice Cooper’s "Schools Out." The most disappointing part of the entire night I blame on blabbermouth.net. Night after night Munky, Head and Fieldy (or some combinations of the three) join Rob Zombie on stage for a cover of Diamond Head’s "Am I Evil?" Korn did not join Rob Zombie in Cedar Rapids, which I’m sure there are plenty of reasonable reasons why they didn’t, but it was still a slight let down, but "Am I Evil?" is such an amazing song that I wasn’t let down for too long and then he closed the show with "Dragula" so I left the show happy.
The highlight of the night was when Rob Zombie brought a 5 to 7 years old kid up on stage and had the crowd start chanting his name, "Phillip." For everybody out there that think Rob Zombie needs mental help after seeing some of his movies I can honestly tell you that had you saw what I saw you’d know Rob Zombie is a perfectly sane human being. Once again Korn and Rob Zombie knock it out of the park. Who was better? Who cares, both bands held their own and it’s a shame that the tour couldn’t have lasted longer…I wanna see it again.
BYLINE: Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at email@example.com.