Korn unleashed at Xcel

Last updated on February 18th, 2022 at 09:50 pm

That one time Head tried to bum a cigarette from me

My first experience witnessing Korn was when they opened for Metallica in the late 90s in Phoenix. I spent most of the time talking to friends that toured with the headliner, with Korn simply being the background music while we caught up in conversation.

I asked how the tour was going and about the supporting act and was told to watch them. I was assured that they were going to be huge. My friends were not wrong, as Korn soon took over the airwaves with their nu metal style.

I talked to some of them as they came off the stage that night. Guitarist Brian “Head” Welch even tried to bum a cigarette from me. FYI, I didn’t give him one. I was making $18,000 a year flipping burgers at a golf club, he was opening for Metallica. He could afford his own.

Bones UK

London’s Bones UK opened the night. The London three-piece, consisting of guitarists Rosie Bones, Carmen Vandenberg, and drummer Heavy, initially played to a half-packed arena. Their sound is hard, heavy, and edgy, reminding me of a cross between early British punk and 90’s style crunch metal.

The arena filled by the end of their set, with the audience really getting into their sound and “fuck you if you don’t like us” message. Their hard-hitting style and Rosie’s scratchy voice were addictive, making me wonder if Buzz Osborne of the Melvins had a daughter overseas that he never knew existed.

Breaking Benjamin

Breaking Benjamin followed. Their sound is hard to explain but combines hard-hitting drums, angst-filled lyrics, clear vocals with a few metal scrawls, and loud guitars with extraordinary technical ability. 

From the moment they hit the stage it was clear that they were not an opener. They were obviously a co-headliner, as they could have easily sold out the show alone. 

The way the stage lights synched with the music transformed their set from a simple concert into a hard-hitting experience. Their thirteen song setlist, which the crowd consistently sang along with, made for headliner material. 

  1. The Diary of Jane
  2. Until the End
  3. Believe
  4. Failure
  5. Torn in Two
  6. Red Cold River
  7. Breath
  8. Polyamorous
  9. Shallow Bay
  10. Blow Me Away
  11. Sooner or Later
  12. So Cold
  13. I Will Not Bow


Korn has had its ups and down, both musically and personally. To find out more, check out Loud Crazy Love, the Showtime documentary of guitarist Head.

Despite that fact, they returned to the stage last night tighter than ever. Their big, heavy sound completely owned the stage. They engulfed the audience’s consciences as they moved to every beat.

The setlist was varied, touching on all the high points of their thirteen album history. They also threw in a few surprises, such as Metallica’s “One” and Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”

Throughout the night, Korn sucker punched the crowd with every hard-hitting moment. Singer Jonathan Davis was the ringleader of an electric circus that took over the Xcel. Not a single person left the show without feeling exhausted.

Hopefully Head had his own cigarettes this time.

  1. Here to Stay
  2. Blink
  3. Clown
  4. Cold
  5. You’ll Never Find Me
  6. Can You Hear Me
  7. Shoots and Ladders (with “One” by Metallica snippet)
  8. Got the Life
  9. Faget
  10. Somebody Someone
  11. Make Me Bad
  12. Freak on a Leash
  13. 4 U (encore begins)
  14. Twist
  15. Coming Undone
  16. Falling Away From Me

Written by Richard Dollarhide

Photographer, Photojournalist, Executive Chef and Full Time Artist


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