Pledge of Allegiance Tour

Friday, October 5, 2001. The Pledge of Allegiance Tour – Myriad Convention Center -Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The Pledge of Allegiance Tour features Rammstein and System of a Down with Slipknot in the headliner spot. I read that Mudvayne was going to be on this tour, but they did not appear in Oklahoma City. As with most mutliband shows, different cities pick up different newer and lesser know acts to play with them. This is usually an attempt of the headliners record label to get exposure for their up and coming bands.
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Oklahoma City was no exception as we started the night with “No One”. They said they are from Chicago and their new album is only three weeks old. Erthdawg and I came into this performance a little after it started. (Who ever shows up early for a concert anyway?) My initial reaction was good. They remind me of Linkin Park without all of the rap. These guys came to rock and they did exactly that! I did not know any of their songs, but I enjoyed their show. They put out a straight ahead rock and roll show. They let the music speak for itself. When they were done playing, they told everyone to come by and pick up a copy of their album. They also let everyone know that they would sign every cd that was purchased. This was a great move and I was glad to see a new band that was not afraid of meeting the fans.
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Rammstein came on next. They have an incredible stage presence. The lights went down and the band began to play. The lead sing walked out after the band had the crowd on their feet. His entire back and arms were engulfed in flames. He sang the whole first song this way. This was an incredible feat, but Rammstein is one of those bands that you learn to appreciate even more once you see them play live. They put on a great stage performance with extremely interesting pyrotechnics and a very powerful sound. Most of the songs were in German, but it did not matter. The power in their music overcame the lack of understanding the words.
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Next up was System of a Down. I must confess that when I saw this show, I did not know a whole lot about this band. I knew one song, Spiders. I was hoping to hear that song, but I would be disappointed. In between acts, they had a huge screen with videos from all of the bands that would be on the show during The Pledge of Allegiance Tour. One of the videos they played was Chop Suey. Erthdawg knew the song and video from MTV-X. Before the night was over, I would hear it twice, once on the video and once live. It is a very catchy song and should be a big hit for them. The rest of the music was very foreign to me. I tried to get into it, but I find you must listen to this band a few times to appreciate their music. They had a great sound, with an extremely visual show. They used looped images on the huge screen behind them to blend the music with imagery. They did an incredible job of timing the imagery with the music and the crowd really seemed to enjoy their performance. Based on the noticeable number of people that left after they played, I have a feeling that System of a Down brought more people to the show than the headliners. Then again, it was late by this time and most of the audience looked to be under sixteen.
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The forth and final band of the night was the headliners, Slipknot. I should preface this review by stating that Erthdawg and I saw them at Ozzfest in Dallas. It was 106 and we were miserable, but watching Slipknot tear it up made us forget how uncomfortable we were, if only for a while. This time, it would not be the same. I love Slipknot, especially live. They are a very powerful band that takes a live performance beyond anything I have ever seen from other bands. They are extremely visual and extremely musical. The combination usually makes for an incredible show that leaves you wanting even more. Tonight would not be one of those nights. It was obvious from the beginning that something was not right with the sound check. Rammstein and System of a Down were incredibly loud and clean sounding. Slipknot sounded like they left half of their speakers in the semi. It was almost too quiet for a band of this magnitude. Corey’s voice, usually very apparent, even over a deafening band, was muffled and weak. During the first few songs, it seemed as if they were still trying to get all of the sound straightened out. At one point, it looked as if Corey pointed at the ceiling and his vocals became loud enough to hear them over the rest of the band. This helped, but they were still not as loud as one would expect in an indoor show, especially from a band like Slipknot. Once I got past the lack of sound, I was able to start enjoying the band I came to see. By the middle of the performance, they had put on a great show, winning the crowd over and whipping them into a frenzied mosh pit, the likes I have never seen at a show in Oklahoma City. At one point, they had the entire arena on their knees on the ground, while Corey was holding a video camera pointed at the crowd. Some people were reluctant to get on the ground, but he kept on them until everyone was down. In unison, he had the entire arena jump into the air. He captured the whole thing on video. Who knows, someday OKC may be in a Slipknot video. By the end of the show, it was apparent that the difference between Slipknot, System of a Down and Rammstein was the fact that this is The Peoples band. They connect with the audience in a way that is almost scary. It is the same feeling I had on the second row at An Justice For All. Back then, Metallica connected. The audience felt it, just as they did when Slipknot played. The encore was great. They did National Anthem and just ripped it up.
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Overall, it was one of the better concerts I have been too. I really like the idea of having multiple bands on an arena tour. It makes you feel like the cash your slapping down for a ticket is better spent. No One is an up and coming band that I believe is worth checking out. It was nice to have a band with what I call The New Sound (Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, etc), but without the Rap. Rammstein is a powerful band and definitely worth seeing. Although, I do not think they will achieve the level of success in the United States that they could until they release a popular English song. System of a Down is a strange band. They play heavy metal, but bring cultural differences outside of Rock and the United States. I do not agree with some of their beliefs and ideas, but musically, I think they are on the verge of exploding onto the mainstream. Slipknot will definitely need a better sound system if they are going to continue headlining shows. This was the only complaint I had about their show. Even with some of the sound problems, it was still a kick ass show and I will see them again. I think they are a band worth watching. They say success will not change them and I hope they are right. It is hard when you have nine people in the band to keep doing what you are doing with the energy they maintain. Nonetheless, check them out the next time they are in your town. It is one of the most interesting shows I have ever seen.


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