The Return of the Dreads tour is one of the hottest events of the summer. The tour, which features Korn, Rob Zombie, and In This Moment, kicked off at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre in Colorado last week with an ominous start. The threat of severe thunderstorms caused concern about fan safety and the show started late, causing In This Moment to sit the tour opener out. Since opening night, the tour has been threading through some of the hottest spots on the West Coast, literally, with hundred-plus degree temperatures at most dates, including Boise, where the tour pulled into town on July 26.
Thousands of fans packed into the Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater for an unforgettable experience that kicked off with a short, but explosive performance by In This Moment. The band performed for 45-minutes, playing six songs from their two most recent albums, Blood and Black Widow, including the title track from each. The quintet opened the set with “Sick.” Vocalist Maria Brink stood on a riser, clad in black, book-ended by her two faceless acolytes. After each of the band’s songs, Brink and her servile assistants would disappear into a little tent for costume changes. Other songs ion the set included “Sex Metal Barbie,” “Whore,” and “Burn.” The band delivered a set both energetic and theatrical. Over the course over the last few years, Brink has become masterful as the band’s focal point. Her confidence on stage has blossomed. The only thing that could have made the set better, as one fan pointed out, was 2-3 more songs and less costume changes. In This Moment will return to the studio after this tour to record its sixth album due out next year.
With the co-headliners switching slots each night, Korn took the stage next a midst a wall of square LED lights and a projection screen backdrop. The band is always visually dynamic in concert putting on a show that keeps fans fully engaged, from the scope of the set, to the band’s individual performances, to the song selections. This show was no different. Not surprisingly the set was heavily weighted with hits that span the band’s career beginning with the show openers, “Right Now” and “Here to Stay.” Korn then treated the fans to a new track, “Rotting in Vain” from their forthcoming twelfth studio album, The Serenity of Suffering, due out October 21. Some of the highlight performances included tracks from their first three records including; “Twist,” “Blind,” “Got the Life,” show closer “Freak on a Leash,” and “Shoots and Ladders” which featured a snippet from Metallica’s “One.” Other tracks performed included: “Make Me Bad,” “Somebody, Someone,” “Y’all Want a Single,” “Coming Undone,” and “Narcissistic Cannibal.”
By the time Rob Zombie took the stage, the singer seemed a bit surprised that the sun had yet to fully set despite the late hour. Zombie remarked on this, likening Idaho to Alaska. The showman’s set was a theatrical wonderland not unlike similar rock heroes like Alice Cooper and Kiss. Despite the imagery, make-up, costumes, and wild lighting displays, Zombie keeps the focus on the music and the performances. The setlist for the Return of the Dreads tour was an eclectic mix of new songs, some classics, a couple of White Zombie hits, and a few covers. Like his wild stage shows, Zombie has a propensity of late for long and wild album and song titles. He opened the show with “Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown” from his 2013 album Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor, before dropping back to his debut album, Hellbilly Deluxe for the hit, “Superbeast.”
The band followed this with a track from the new album The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser and the song, “In the Age of the Consecrated Vampire We All Get High.” Zombie and company then tackled a cover of Tone Lōc’s “Wild Thing” before delighting the crowd with the classic, “Living Dead Girl.” From his White Zombie catalog, Rob performed “More Human than Human” and “Thunder Kiss ‘65.” From the new record the band also performed; “The Hideous Exhibitions of a Dedicated Gore Whore,” and “Well, Everybody’s Fucking in a U.F.O.” Guitarist John 5 served up an electrifying solo following “House of a 1000 Corpses.” The band closed out the set with covers of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band.” A preview of Rob Zombie’s new movie, “31” played on the big screen before the band returned for an encore with Zombie’s 1998 debut single, “Dragula” to end the show.
The entire event showcased a spectacular canvass of how heavy metal has evolved over the last quarter century. Each band delivered an exceptional and tight performance leaving the crowd in a raucous and exuberant state. Even the excessive heat could not sap the energy of the crowd. As the fans headed through the gates, animated discussions about each band filled the air. No one seemed remotely disappointed with the show.