System of a Down, Korn,
Faith No More, Helmet, Russian Circles
‘Rona may have killed the mood for a while, but rock and roll will never die! Way back in 2020, pre-Covid and still working at my last job before being laid off due to the pandemic, I had purchased two tickets. I hadn’t seen one of my favorite bands, Faith No More, in decades. The last time I saw Faith No More, they opened up for Metallica and Guns N’ Roses and somewhat stole the show…for me anyways. I was really looking forward to seeing them after so many years. I believe the concert was originally supposed to take place in May 2020. Headlining the bill is System of a Down and Korn. Additional bands opening the show are Russian Circles and Helmet (“Unsung.”)
No More, Faith No More
Like the rest of the world, I’m not tapped into things I normally would be. So, a few weeks away from the show, I see an advertisement with no mention of Faith No More. I find out that the band dropped out last year due to lead singer, Mike Patton, having mental issues.
“Sorry to report that due to mental health reasons, I cannot continue with the currently scheduled Faith No More and Mr. Bungle dates,” said lead singer Mike Patton. “I have issues that were exacerbated by the pandemic that are challenging me right now. I don’t feel I can give what I should at this point and I am not going to give anything less than 100 percent. I am sorry to our fans and hope to make it up to you soon.”
The Show Must Go On
Although FNM was the reason I got tickets, there were still great bands playing this show. I’m familiar with both System and Korn. I even know the one hit song by Helmet. In these times in lockdown, it is rare to get the chance to see live music. Early on in 2020, I watched a few concerts live online, but it’s not the same as seeing and hearing a show in person. There’s a whole experience of a concert that includes traveling, parking and walking. For this show I would have the company of my close friend, Sean Kinney.
Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles
The venue is fairly new, Downtown, next to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. I look on their website and check out the parking lots. I click on the nearby lots and find them sold out. So, I purchase a $40 reserved spot. That’s right. Forty dollars to park my car a few hours. I paid for these tickets so long ago that it’s not a big deal to secure a parking spot.
Saturday, February 5th, 2022
You park your car and walk to the stadium. You secure your mask. You show your vaccination from your Apple Wallet. Then you slide the QR barcode in the reader from the tickets on your Ticketmaster app.
“Everybody’s going to the party. Have a real good time.”– System of a Down
The Banc of California Stadium erupts as the Russian Circles start jamming. No one is singing. In between songs you can hear the cars racing next door at the LA Memorial Stadium for NASCAR. A large flame lit up at the top of the Memorial Stadium, adding to the experience. We learn later in the show that the band played without their lead singer. How cool is that? Apparently, the singer got the ‘Rona. The last cancellation was due to System of a Down singer, Serj Tankian, getting Covid.
Another band from the 90s, Helmet, rocked the stage with their explosive “Unsung.” Solid set!
Korn – Get Your Boogie On Ironically, the last big concert I saw had Jonathan Davis on the bill. It was at Ozzfest 2019 on New Years Eve and Davis was a solo act. I look forward to seeing both Korn and System, but not a serious fan. I downloaded some hit songs I liked. Because so much time passed waiting for this concert, I got into these bands a bit more. Put your ear plugs in. Bassist Reginald Arvizu is about to crank up this mother [BLEEP!] Korn’s set is fantastic! Davis enters the stage playing bag pipes on a song I had forgotten, “Shoots and Ladders.” And I love the off-shoot jamming and singing of Metallica’s “One” in the thick of it. Mosh pits that started early on were now growing in size throughout the floor.
System of a Down
But wait, there’s MORE METAL! My buddy and I sit in Section 213, an upper section around the side and middle. It’s been a long show and the seats are making our butts sore. So, when System or S.O.A.D. enters the stage, I’m relieved to stand up with all the fans so we old timers can stretch our weary legs. And we stand for the rest of the show. I don’t know or recognize the first handful of songs, but they all sound great. It definitely takes the experience to another level when you know the songs. There are songs I’m reintroduced to such as “Hypnotize” and “Lonely Day” as well as songs I didn’t know beforehand.
Feeling like I have no release
Why do we see bands play live? We want an experience. We want to see and hear our favorite bands. They inspire us. They give us something to bang our heads to. They help us hope and dream. We can dance and even enter a mosh pit if we feel like it. It makes us feel alive. Music takes us away from our troubles. It’s a release.
The Corona virus took away many of our chances to see our favorite bands live. It’s just not the same watching bands perform live online. You have to be there in person. You need to feel the vibe of the floor rocking and rolling under your feet. You need to be surrounded by other fans, yelling, screaming, rocking out, swaying their long locks, raising their fists, displaying their middle fingers and devil horns.
It’s also really cool to discover bands and be introduced to other music and songs.
Regarding Mike Patton, other members of Faith No More; Billy Gould, Roddy Bottum, Mike Bordin and Jon Hudson released a statement, “Coming on almost two years of pandemic and lack of work, it has been heart-breaking to give our crew the news. We consider our crew like family. And then, equally importantly, we are aware of what this means to our fans, who have been patiently supporting us – hoping, as we have, for a break in this frustrating situation. Many folks have taken isolation quite hard, and patiently waited as shows have been postponed time and time again. This will be tough for them.”
I hope Mike Patton recovers from whatever mental issues he’s having. The pandemic has been so overwhelming for so many people. Musicians have been hit very hard, not being able to tour, make money and are dealing with both outer and inner demons. Patton is dealing with the elements just like all of us. Maybe he’ll get inspired and write a whole new album from it. We’re all dealing with different issues. It’s best to take care of ourselves and improve our health so we can perform at our best. Take care, Mike.
We Care a Lot.