Friday night’s concert at the Darien Lake Amphitheater in Darien, New York almost felt like it was bathed in 90’s nostalgia. Alice In Chains and Korn both held significant prominence during the 90’s, and it was almost like they themselves chose to reflect on their past that evening, remembering bandmates who had passed and celebrating milestones.
Although Alice in Chains was formed in the late 80’s, it wasn’t until the 90’s that this Seattle band truly hit its stride and became one of the biggest groups of the decade. When they hit the stage on Friday night, they hit it running, playing song after song in a 15-song set. Alice In Chains’ show was full of visual treats and flashing lights as they filled the night with a variety of songs from the group’s lengthy repertoire such as “Man In The Box,” “No Excuses,” and “Rooster”. Jerry Cantrell, the founder of Alice In Chains as well as the group’s lead guitarist, co-lead singer and main songwriter, made a point to remember his former co-lead singer, Layne Staley. Staley, who died from a drug overdose in 2002, left a giant hole in the group with his untimely passing. Before playing “We Die Young”, Cantrell bowed his head and quietly sighed into the microphone, “This is for you Layne.
For many years after Staley’s death, Alice In Chains refuse to play, out of respect for their former bandmate. It wasn’t until 2005 that the band reunited to play in a benefit concert for the victims of the 2004 South Asia Tsunami Disaster. William DuVall joined the band as co-lead vocalist in 2006. DuVall definitely brings his own dynamic to Alice In Chains, without trying to fill Layne Staley’s shoes. His voice harmonizes with Cantrell’s perfectly, creating that patented Alice In Chains sound. Their mellow sound makes them a great touring companion to Korn, giving the audience a little bit of everything as well as a nostalgic trip down memory lane. They are an ideal warm-up for Korn to follow, as they get the audience revved up but not tired out.
If there is a band that can draw a crowd and fill a venue, it is without a doubt, Korn. The Darien Lake Show was no exception. In a nearly sold-out show, there was little to no room in the sizable pit, packed elbow to elbow. The seats behind the pit were filled to capacity, leaving only minimal room in the lawn area. Korn, who is universally credited for being the creators of Nu Rock, has had their share of trials and tribulations and yet here they are 25 years later, still making incredible music and packing music venues. Lead singer, Jonathan Davis, during one of the few times he spoke to the crowd, proudly announced that this fall marked the band’s 25th anniversary. Between the drug addiction, band members leaving and then returning again, their road to fame and fortune has never been smooth, but they have rolled with the punches throughout the years demonstrating exactly why they are considered rock and roll royalty.
Opening with “Here to Stay”, Korn played 11 songs before their encore including “Blind”, “Got the Life” and “Rotting in Vain”. The band also played their newest single “You’ll Never Find Me” off their upcoming album, The Nothing, due to be released on September 13. Of course, a Korn concert isn’t complete without Jonathan Davis, dressed in his kilt, and playing his bagpipes to the beginning of the song “Shoots and Ladders”. The song was almost like a signal to the crowd in the pit, which is usually fairly calm at most shows hosted by this venue. The pit erupted into a huge circle mosh, with beers and cups flying in every direction, leaving more than a few people soaked. The moshing, although stopping and starting intermittently, lasted through at least 3 songs.
Korn left the stage after performing “Freak on a Leash” as if for the night, only to be called back out onto the stage for a 4-song encore. Jonathan Davis knows how to pull the crowd into his show and make it memorable. While playing “Come Undone” during the encore, the band mixed in a little bit of Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” To which absolute pandemonium broke out with fans singing and clapping and every single person on their feet, screaming and cheering for more. One of the things that makes a Korn concert so engaging, is that the members of the band truly seem like they are enjoying the concert as much as their fans. They dance around the stage to the music as much as any fan watching. No one walks away from a Korn concert without feeling like they had a great time and they more than definitely got their money’s worth.