By Andrew Bansal
Nov. 14th 2011, House of Blues, Anaheim CA: To be completely honest, I’m not the biggest Slipknot or Stone Sour fan by any means, but when I heard about Corey Taylor’s first ever solo tour and got a chance to check it out, my curiosity took over and I went to the first show of the tour at the Anaheim House of Blues. I arrived at around 7.30, with half an hour to go until the scheduled start of the show. The line was long, and there was a huge number of people already inside. I wasn’t sure what kind of turnout this show would draw, but it was good to see the Slipknot and Stone Sour faithful showing their support for Taylor. As expected, the stage set-up was very minimal, with two microphone stands, two acoustic guitars, and a backdrop with the letters “CMFT” on it. The scene was set for an interesting evening.
Taylor appeared on stage at around 8.15 to a standing ovation and started off the evening by giving an introductory speech about what he was going to do during the evening. After a brief stand-up comedy bit, he read chapter 41 from his book “Seven Deadly Sins”. I haven’t read the book myself, and even though I’m sure all of his fans have a copy of the book, I don’t think many would have actually read the book because the way things are with books these days, people often buy them merely to get access to a signing session/meet-n-greet with the author. So, everyone seemed entertained during the reading, and I would say Corey picked the perfect chapter to read, the one that describes his frustrations at being discriminated against based on his long hair in an earlier period in his life.
Next up was a Q&A session, wherein anyone in the audience was allowed to ask Corey anything they wanted to. It started off with the question, “What the fuck is going on with you and Velvet Revolver?”And Corey answered it in great detail. In fact, this story was the highlight of the entire spoken word set in my opinion. He came across as just another fan of Slash and co., and seemed proud to have jammed with those guys. He also talked about future plans for Stone Sour and Slipknot, much to everyone’s delight. He said that a new Stone Sour album will be recorded in March 2012, and Slipknot will do a summer tour in the United States, but there will not be a new Slipknot album for at least another two years. In the other music-related question, he talked about his thoughts during the making of the “Snuff” video.
Aside from these, there were questions about life and politics ranging from the NBA lockout to the Occupy movement, and honestly I would have liked people to stick to questions about music. I would rather hear a musician talk about music-related topics, but may be that’s just me. And then there were certain questions that were more like requests rather than questions, such as asking for a guitar pick or an autograph. Nonetheless, it was great to see Corey answer each and every question that was asked. This brought the spoken word segment to an end, and it lasted for a total of 45 minutes. Going into the show, I was a little apprehensive about how this part would go, but it went really well and he managed to entertain the crowd for the most part. He left the stage for a short break.
After a 5-minute wait, Corey reappeared, and donned one of the acoustic guitars to start off the musical part of the show. The set included Stone Sour hits like “Bother”, “Hesitate”, “Snuff” and “Through Glass”, while there was also an acoustic version of the Slipknot song “Spit It Out”, which turned out to be quite funny. This makes me want to see him do more acoustic versions of Slipknot songs, hopefully in the near future.
Seven songs into the set, Corey changed guitars, and started playing cover tunes. Before he did so, he invited his acoustic partner Jason onto the stage to play the second guitar and contribute backing vocals. The selection of tunes was quite interesting and diverse to begin with, including Nine Inch Nails’ “Something I Can Never Have”, Alice In Chains’ “Down In Hole” and U2’s “With Or Without You”. I can’t say I’m a fan of any of these songs, or any of these bands for that matter, but the crowd was loving it. I did enjoy Cat Stevens’ “Father And Son” though, which was played before the U2 song.
Next up, Billy Morrison of The Cult, Billy Idol and Camp Freddy fame joined Corey and Jason on stage, and took over guitar duties from Corey who just did vocals for the two songs that followed, Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers” and Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead Or Alive”. If you are reading this and don’t know by now, I love early Bon Jovi, and this cover alone was worth my trip to Anaheim. And yes, I am being dead serious. How can you not love that song? Billy did a great job playing the guitar parts of this tune, and Corey did justice to not only the vocals but also mimicked JBJ’s stage antics for good measure. I was having a great time during this covers segment, and the best was still to come.
Billy Morrison left the stage and it was back to the two-piece for the remainder of the night. Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” was next, a song that suited Corey’s vocals perfectly. His rendition of the guitar solo was excellent as well. After this he announced that they had come to the last song of the night, Ramones’ “Outsider”, another great selection. They promptly left the stage after that, only to return for an encore which seemed mandatory by all means, judging from the crowd’s response throughout the night. They did Foo Fighers’ “Everlong”, and ended it with the Christmas single “X-M@$”, a thoroughly enjoyable tune, and the perfect way to end the show. Corey thanked the crowd for their support and said his final goodbye for the night.
I have to admit, the show definitely exceeded my expectations, and I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. Corey’s vocals were good for the most part, barring a few momentary cracks here and there, which is understandable because he did the spoken word first. It was a good thing he did the spoken word first and the music later, because it gave people something to look forward to, and through the spoken word, he succeeded in building anticipation and excitement for the musical part. On the guitar, he did a great job and proved himself as a seasoned pro all over again. As for the first part of the show, it was really entertaining, and it would have been even better if there were more questions about music and less about life and politics. Nonetheless, Corey’s on-stage personality came across as very likable, and his direct interaction with the fans made it completely worth the time and money they invested towards this show.
All in all, it was a delightful two-and-a-half hours with Corey Taylor. The tour has just started, and I recommend this show not only to fans of Slipknot and/or Stone Sour, but also to fans of rock music in general, because there’s something in it for all of you. A terrific performance indeed.
Check out the tour dates here.
Related: Picture Gallery
Spit It Out
Something I Can Never Have (Nine Inch Nails cover)
Down In Hole (Alice In Chains cover)
Father And Son (Cat Stevens cover)
With Or Without You (U2 cover)
Dead Flowers (Rolling Stones cover, with Billy Morrison)
Wanted Dead or Alive (Bon Jovi cover, with Billy Morrison)
Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd cover)
Outsider (Ramones cover)
Everlong (Foo Fighers cover)