By Jason Fullerton
The whole thing I think is sick, the whole thing I think is sick, the whole thing I think is sick…
I can vividly recall the first time I heard this high pitched repetitive screech proclaimed by this unknown woman. I was young, I was rebellious, you know the stage. I was looking for something to relate to, something I could grab onto with both hands and call my own. This arrived in the form of a cassette tape gifted by a close friend during the summer of 2001, simply labelled “Slipknot.” I didn’t think much of it at the time but when I arrived home that evening and shoved this cassette in to my older brother’s sound system, something special happened.
This mystery woman in question, for those of you who are not aware, is the introduction to Slipknot’s self-titled debut LP. The low-fi, white noise, assisted with this woman’s vocals introduced me to what I can only describe as madness personified. I was captivated. I wanted more. This was before I had instant access to the internet and I needed to know more about this band. This materialized in the form of a video tape, distributed by a widely known metal magazine. Beyond the howling vocals, floor-rumbling bass, and machine-gun drums, visually the band’s chief calling card was their disturbing look, consisting of nightmarish masks and bright red boiler suits. As a young kid, when I seen this for the first time I was mesmerized.
Not long after, news broke that these nine new idols of mine were coming to town. I had never been to or seen live music at this point but I had to be there. After some nonsensical negotiating my dad agreed to get me a ticket so I could attend the show with the same friend who gifted me the cassette. Throughout the following weeks, Slipknot consumed my life. Their second full length LP Iowa had just arrived and it did not leave my stereo until the night of the show. I was ready. I was finally going to get to see my favorite band live. Well, at least I thought I was ready.
February 2002, I made my way to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, or SECC for short, with a head full of romanticized thoughts. Upon arrival, I got fairly close to the front of the stage and I was quite proud of that fact considering the numerous Neanderthals I had to negotiate myself around. The support act, who for the life of me I cannot recall, came out and did their thing to great effect; the crowd was pumped.
A short while after the warm up act retreated to make way for the main event, the lights went down, the crowd erupted and the intro, “(515),” from their new LP Iowa resonated around the arena. The curtain fell and these nine near mythical beings commenced with their track “People = Shit.” Being young and naive I could not fathom how crazy the crowd would get. Within seconds I lost my friend and struggled to keep a steady footing all the while the band gave it their all. I also got my first taste of a mosh pit that night, unbeknown they had existed. Sid Wilson opened “Eyeless” with an impressive DJ set and midway through this Slipknot anthem I caught one right on the chin. My spectacles flew off and I managed to find them, climb to my feet and if anything, it spurred me on. Towards the end of the show I experienced something that has been unparalleled in my many live music experiences since. With absolute authority, at the penultimate section of “Spit it Out,” Corey Taylor ordered the thousands of fans to get down on the floor and upon his command unleashed hell, causing every single person to surge to their feet simultaneously as the band finished the remainder of the song.
That night I fell in love with live music. This show took place on Valentine’s Day 2002.