Noblesville, IN – It was another hot August evening but that didn’t discourage fans of all ages from making the trek out to Ruoff Music Center for a night with nu-metal powerhouse KORN, making their return to the stage after having to reschedule several dates due to lead singer Jonathan Davis testing positive for COVID-19. Korn brought along the 68, a sharply dressed punk duo out of Atlanta, GA to kick the evening off, along with alt-rock favorites Staind whom they’ve been sharing the stage with since the tour kicked off in early August.
My initial intent was to review both Staind and Korn for tonight’s performance, after covering both bands over a month ago at Upheaval Festival in Grand Rapids, MI (click for that review), however I decided to focus solely on Korn’s performance due to it being only the second night back on tour after the cancelation or postponement of multiple shows resulting from Jonathan’s positive COVID diagnosis. Pending Davis’ status, the band was slotted to return August 27th to Tinley Park in Illinois and then roll into Ruoff Music Center on the 28th. Thankfully, Jonathan was on the road to recovery and upon getting a negative COVID test result, was ready to get back to what he loves – performing for their adoring fans!
But this wasn’t the show I saw a month ago in Grand Rapids. There were noticeable differences to the set and performance; first being the big “throne” in the middle of the stage. Jonathan was very upfront about his recovery and how much it was (and is) taking out of him. While he was happy and grateful to be back he apologized for not being able to give his 100% and throughout the night would ask the crowd to send him energy; often having to rest in his chair or hit oxygen in between songs to catch his breath. There was no head banging. There were no bagpipes. You could hear, at times, the weakness in his voice. There was, however, a love for the music that pushed everyone on stage to give everything they had and bring to the table what Korn fans have come to appreciate – A KICK ASS SHOW!
Korn was back! After having to cancel their summer tour in 2020 due to the pandemic, band members Jonathan Davis (vocals), James “Munky” Shaffer (guitar, backing vocals), Brian “Head” Welch (guitar, backing vocals), Ray Luzier (drums) and Ra Diaz (bass- currently sitting in for Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu) took the stage and got right down to business. Having thirteen studio albums to choose from, Korn gave the fans a good mash up of fan favorites like “Falling Away from Me”, “Coming Undone” and “Freak on a Leash” while still digging deep into their 2019 album, The Nothing, with tracks like “Cold”, “Can You Hear Me” and “You’ll Never Find Me”.
Overall, it was a very strong performance despite Jonathan’s struggles, not to mention the brutal heat and humidity! As Jonathan left the stage to a standing ovation, again thanking the crowd for a wonderful night, the fellow band members lingered on stage to throw picks and show the crowd a little extra love. And speaking of love, keep sending Jonathan love and healing energy as he continues to recover from any lingering side effects of COVID!
Korn is currently out touring through October 2021 with Staind and the 68 (*Fire from the Gods in select cities.) If you’re a rocker, this is definitely one to catch on the summer tour line-ups. You can check here for dates and a venue in your area.
Setlist: Ruoff Music Center – Noblesville, IN
- The Seduction of Indulgence (tape playing while curtain up)
- Falling Away From Me
- Here to Stay
- You’ll Never Find Me
- Coming Undone (“We Will Rock You” by Queen snippet)
- Can You Hear Me
- Freak On A Lease
- It’s On/Trash/Did My Time
Show Date: 08/28/2021