MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Despite singer Jonathan Davis still recovering from a bout of COVID-19—and guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer quarantining after having tested positive for the illness mere days ago, rockers Korn brought their unique flavor of metal back to the Bay Area in front of a crowd of thousands on Saturday—without Shaffer.
The band had shared on social media that Shaffer was doing “doing OK,” but it was clear that Davis, who had tested positive in August, was still experiencing the aftereffects. He performed part of the show sitting down in a thrown at the front of the stage. As “The Seduction of Indulgence” played over the P.A., the curtain finally dropped to reveal the band. Korn then blasted off into “Insane,” from 2016 album The Serenity of Suffering. Davis seemed more subdued than his usual rowdy self. Staying close to his throne, he clearly avoided headbanging to the music. At some points, he appeared to slide behind the thrown to get oxygen treatments.
However, Davis’ vocal performance did not suffer, and he was able to belt out his iconic growls with no disruption. Working with a massive lighting rig with multiple TV monitors hung high above the stage, Korn kept the energy high with deep cuts like “Dirty” and “Clown.” Guitarist J.R Bareis, who plays in Love and Death with Brian “Head” Welch, stepped in for Shaffer to shred in his place. Suicidal Tendencies bassist Ra Diaz, who has been filling in for Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, demolished the drums and bass solo right before the band rolled into “Coming Undone.”
Korn finished off the night with an encore of epic proportions, starting off with a medley of “It’s On,” “Trash” and “I Did My Time” and rolling into “Twist” before hitting a partial performance of “A.D.I.D.A.S.” out of the park. A strong rendition of “Blind” concluded the show. It was Korn’s first performance at Shoreline since 2019. Last April, the band staged a streamed performance from Los Angeles.
Saturday’s concert came 11 months after an original co-headlining tour with Faith No More was canceled due to the pandemic. Instead, Korn partnered up with Staind for this occasion.
As the sun set, frontman Aaron Lewis and Staind—which hasn’t toured since 2014—took the stage. In that time Lewis has remade himself as a country artist while the band hasn’t released any new material since 2011. Because of that, the set was jam-packed with the band’s hits.
Starting off with the double feature of “Eyes Wide Open” and “Open Your Eyes,” Lewis woke up the crowd with his signature growls. Attendees were bouncing around in front of their seats. Many also sang along to songs like “Right Here,” “So Far Away” and “It’s Been Awhile.” Lewis has made headlines over the past few months as a controversial conservative, rebelling against pandemic safety restrictions. At Saturday’s show, he remained mostly quiet on the topic until the end.
“I really don’t have much to say that won’t get me in trouble; especially in this beautiful communist state of California,” he said.
Texas rap-metal band Fire From the Gods opened the show as attendees continued to file into the amphitheater. Frontman AJ Channer ripped through a politically charged set and put on his best Zack de la Rocha impression while jumping around the stage.
“Be nice to those guys coming back from Afghanistan; 20 years is a long time, and they deserve our support,” he said.
Follow photographer Derek Tobias at Instagram.com/simmonstobias.