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What a show! You’ll be kicking yourself if you missed this one! It’s a wicked advantage for us Kiwis that New Zealand often seems to be the last port of call for tours. We get to see all the thank yous and hugs and all the general nice stuff that bands do when a tour gets wrapped up. With this current KORN tour (which actually started back in September 2007!) ending at Auckland’s Vector Arena it was a great example of the of the above and it became pretty apparent that the bands were giving their all for the final show. You couldn’t pick the bands were tired because the energy output was huge. The fans were of course feeding off this and giving it back as well!

Aucklanders JUST ONE FIX were the first band to kick off the show. Fronted by Riccardo Ball (from The RockFM radio station) these guys always put on a great show. The first time I ever caught this band was back at the St James MEGADETH gig in Auckland back in 2001 and they totally slayed, this time was no different at the Vector Arena.

US Metalcore act CHIMAIRA was second to take the stage. They’ve been around for 10 years now and are widely recognised as being part of what’s called the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal. Without sounding too biased (I totally dig KORN and BIOHAZARD) CHIMAIRA was the band I’d been hanging out to see at the Vector on this night. I was blown away when I heard ‘The Impossibility Of Reason’ album and when I heard they were going to be coming to NZ I couldnt believe it! So what were they like? Well after the first couple of seconds it was very apparent the band’s live set was equally brutal in comparison with their recordings. They had the crowd going for it!

Frontman vocalist Mark Hunter stopped during the set to explain who the band were but I think he worked out pretty quick that they didn’t really need introduction. The crowd really went off after he asked them to ignore the signs saying “No Crowd Surfing Or Moshing Permitted” (that’d make a great Tui “Yeah Right” advert!) and to give everything they had for CHIMARIA’s final two songs since it was the end of the tour. This band gave an awesome set ending with ‘Resurrection’, the title track from the band’s latest album. My only dissapointment with regards to this bands set – not being able to headbang after getting whiplash at the SINATE gig in Hamilton the weekend before!

Brooklyn Hardcore Metallers BIOHAZARD were up after CHIMAIRA. This was the band’s first tour with the original line-up in over 20 years! You can really pick the band’s who’ve been doing the Metal thing for a long time. They had the crowd jumping around like they were on pogos! It got even better when BIOHAZARD stopped their set to split the crowd down the middle and start a giant whirlpool moshpit led by “the girl in the green top”. D.F.L (Down For Life) played straight after had the crowd going crazy. I wonder how many people in the audience were lucky enough to catch this band when they came to New Zealand with Slayer back in the 90s. That’s how long it’d been since they last played here! After BIOHAZARD’s performance on stage the other cool thing I noticed with this band was the way they mingled with the crowd meeting a ton of fans on the way – awesome guys!

And that brings us to the main band of the night, the legendary KORN! Two things struck me when the guys came on stage. The first was Munky and Fieldy. I had to do a double take when they stepped out looking similar to Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates Of The Carribean. Either one of those guys would make great Johnny Depp impersonators, perhaps they could make some extra coin being stunt doubles on the next Pirates movie? Very hard case! The other thing I saw was Johnathan Davis’ impressive leather kilt.

Johnathan Davis, Fieldy and Munky are the three core KORN members, now that David Silvera (check) and Brian ‘Head’ Welch are no longer in the band. On the posters promoting this gig those guys were the only three pictured on the band and that’s the way it appeared from the crowd as well. Everyone else in the band was distanced towards the back of the stage and none of them were introduced to us although everone on that stage went hard out.

Having attended KORN’s previous New Zealand concert at the Mt Smart Supertop in 2006 I’ve got to say this Vector Arena blew the other show out of the water. Jonathan Davis was looking 100 times better and on stage was 100 times more energetic – fair enough considering at the previous gig he could barely speak in the interview I gave him and he was also recovering for a serious illness. Not surprisingly this time he also had a lot more vocal interaction with the crowd.

Everyone at Vector Arena was treated to a fine assortment of KORN songs including some classic back catalogue with the songs ‘Blind’ and ‘Faggit’ from the band’s 1994 titled debut album. I think a lot of people guessed right when ‘Got The Life’ was pulled out for the final encore. This had everyone in even the furtherest seated areas up and dancing. The aftermath was your typical post concert carnage – tired looking fans hanging onto side rails and a people lying down to recover on the concrete. Great times!

My only criticism of the event is that there seemed to be some miscommunication as to who was actually opening for this show. First of all BLOODSIMPLE and THROWDOWN were on the bill, then they werent, then the RockFM was announcing that yes they were, along with Aucklanders JUST ONE FIX. Then finally at the show CHIMAIRA’s frontman announced during the band’s set that BLOODSIMPLE and THROWDOWN couldn’t make it for the NZ leg of the tour. But hey, with such epic performances from CHIMAIRA, BIOHAZARD and KORN I’m certainly not complaining – Respect to those three bands, the whole thing just kicked ass!

Review by David Borgioli-Jones