With the end of an era approaching, Irvine Meadows Amphitheater (formerly Verizon Wireless) has been holding its most exciting summer concerts to date. This past Sunday, The Return Of The Dreads tour made its way through the knowingly conservative city of Irvine, CA as metal favorites Rob Zombie and Korn played to a packed house proving once again how beloved metal music is to Orange County and Southern California fans alike.
Rob Zombie’s set was everything that fans were hoping for. Multiple screens and classic monster memorabilia as far as the eye could see left no question as to who was about to take the stage. Starting off with The Last Of The Demons Defeated, the opening track to his newly released album The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration ringing throughout the amphitheater built up the anticipation as John 5 (lead guitar), Piggy D (bass guitar), Ginger Fish (drums) and Zombie came out onto the stage with an explosion of applause. As the screens began to show the official music video for Dead City Radio And The New Gods Of Supertown, it was immediately noticeable that Zombie’s voice wasn’t as strong as it normally is and he apologized to the crowd asking everyone to please join in and sing along with him. Playing his timeless song Superbeast, fires were ablaze on the screens behind the band and everyone was on their feet with horns up and iPhones in the air taping every moment.
Before going into the next song, Zombie took a moment to get sentimental saying “This is the last time we will play here again, isn’t that horrible. As Zombie yelled out “let’s get high” it could only mean that the next song from his new album In The Age Of The Consecrated Vampire We All Get High was up next. As the intro to Living Dead Girl, the band started playing a cover of the 90’s Tone-Loc classic Wild Thing which may have caught some people by surprise as Zombie began rapping the chorus and asking all of the girls in the audience to scream. “I don’t judge the crowd, so don’t judge me” Zombie joked.
Well, Everybody’s F***ing In A UFO was next and as Zombie sang the chorus, the crowd started jumping up and down to the music and continued on through White Zombie’s More Human Than Human and other Zombie favorites like Never Gonna Stop. Overall, it was a great mix of old and new songs and he certainly played a lot more from the new album than the intimate show we reviewed this past April which hadn’t been released yet. One of the highlights was John 5’s guitar solo segment as it is always a pleasure to watch him grind on the guitar and tear through a series of notes in the most effortless manner. Ending with Thunder Kiss ’65, a cover of The Star Spangled Banner and We’re An American Band, Zombie’s set seemed to be over until the big screen began to show a trailer of his upcoming movie 31 which is due out in September. Lastly, Zombie and his band came back out for one more song that started out with clips from The Munsters that played along with the music video for Zombie’s mega hit Dragula.
Alas, it was the moment that everyone was waiting for as Korn took the stage with an electrifying and power filled set of rows of LED lights screens that made for a spectacular show. Fans immediately stood up and came back to life from the short intermission when they saw Jonathan Davis (vocals), James Shaffer (rhythm guitar), Brian “Head Welch (lead guitar), Reginald Arvizu (bass guitar )and Ray Luzier (drums) grace the stage with their presence and the entire amphitheater remained on their feet the whole way through Korn’s set. Kicking things off with a song from their 2003 album Take A Look In The Mirror called Right Now, Davis’s voice was an impeccable powerhouse along with Welch’s melodic and stunning riffs. Clearly, Korn was there to rock and there wasn’t a fan in the house who wasn’t rockin’ along with them. Award winning song Here To Stay from their 2002 album Untouchables only continued to escalate as the LED lights created patterns and blockbuster strobe effects throughout the stage and the amphitheater. Korn’s genuine knack for playing up to the crowd is one of the best things about their shows. While there is so much going on up there, the band members are fully engaged and aware of the goings on in the audience in which Davis made a few comments in between songs.
Korn’s 14 song set included their new song Rotting In Vain in which the music video was recently released and will be on their upcoming album The Serenity Of Suffering which is due out on October 21st of this year. With open arms, fans embraced the new track and for those who may have not been huge fans of Korn prior to this show, they certainly were turned into superfans from this point on. The new song appears to be heavier than songs from their previous albums but doesn’t sacrifice the melodic appeal that Korn is known for. Unfortunately, this was the only song they played from the new record and sparks major anticipation for the other tracks which will hopefully be just as heavy as this one. From their 1999 album Issues, Somebody Someone, Make Me Bad and Falling Away From Me took everyone back to old school Korn. Like Zombie, Korn played a very colorful set that included music they have put out over the years from various albums which is always a plus at a concert. Shoots And Ladders, Korn’s Grammy winning song from their self-titled album released in 1994 along with their hit song Blind brought that nostalgia to surface and despite all of the years some of these songs have been out, they are still fresh and Korn performs them with out of this world chemistry and passion as if it were their first time playing them.
Finishing off with Got The Life, Falling Away From Me and finally Freak On A leash, the mood went from high power to dead silent as 11:00pm approached and Irvine’s noise ordinance came into effect. It was disappointing that Korn was unable to finish the entire song but they played their heart out that night and thus another incredible night of rock n’ roll has gone down in history.
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