Album Review: Slipknot – Live at MSG
Reviewed by Tim Finch
Slipknot are a band that need to introduction, since they burst onto the scene in the late 90’s they have ripped up the rule book and done things their own way. From the nine nameless, numbered members to the anonymity (whilst it lasted) of the musicians behind the masks the looked at the world differently. Many have followed that path since, but Slipknot were the forefathers.
Their debut UK tour cemented their stature on this side of the pond, from the anarchic shows throughout the spring of 2000 to the now infamous balcony dive in Wolverhampton. Singlehandedly the band brought a new generation of fans through to the more extreme style of music. Indeed ask many an extreme music fan (of a certain age) today where their journey began and Slipknot will be cited.
Today the band release a live album ‘Live at MSG’, recorded at the iconic Madison Square Garden in the heart of New York City. This isn’t taken from a recent tour, instead they’ve picked a show eight months and nine countries into a world tour back in 2009. This is the band at their peak in terms of live performances in the world’s most iconic area. What is not to like?
Opening with ‘(sic)’, as they did for many years, the intensity of this show is evident from the off. The crowd noise is high in the mix, transporting the listener straight into the pit of the iconic arena. ‘Eyeless’ and ‘Wait and Bleed’ follow for an opening salvo that showed why they were (and still are) one of the most aggressive live bands on the scene today.
Throughout the album the atmosphere generated during this live show is ever present, as a mere listener it adds an extra element to the music on show, the fiery intro to ‘Before I Forget’, the crowds reaction and Corey’s interactions adding to the majesty of this live recording.
‘Duality’ and ‘People = Shit’ lead us into the encore, the atmosphere ramping up another notch as the show reaches its crescendo. And whilst the “break” before the encore starts is not on the record, the opening notes of ‘Surfacing’ trigger the listener into a head-banging frenzy as if they were at the show themselves, before ‘Spit It Out’ closes out the show and this live record.
Whilst live albums may not be everyone’s cup of tea, this is a perfect example of a band at their peak. A moment in time captured for all eternity on record. As with all live records you could debate all day about the mix, the crowd levels vs the band levels etc, however Slipknot have managed to capture the intensity of their live show along with its unique atmosphere all in one special package.