Something happened to me when I was 13. I experienced the concert that changed my life. I didn’t know it when it happened. I was fighting for air as my body was being crushed by the huge metalheads that surrounded me. I fought my way through that set and walked away from the show only feeling sore.

I look back on that day now and realize just how much that one show has changed my life. Ever since that day I have been more than addicted to live music. It makes me feel something that nothing else can make me feel. Sure, I’ve broken bones, I’ve gotten knocked out, I’ve felt like complete death but that has all been temporary. That high that I get from seeing a live band is not temporary and is something that I need in order to keep going through this thing called life.

That fateful show fourteen years ago was my first Slipknot show. It was my first metal show. My first rock show. My first taste of the subculture that I have completely immersed myself in. It was the concert that started this whole obsession with live music.

Hometown Slipknot shows (yes, they are from Des Moines, Iowa and are the band that truly put Iowa on the map) are unlike any other Slipknot show in the world. Slipknot fans in Iowa are the true originals and we take that extremely seriously. We were with the band when they were playing smaller clubs in town. We are the people that saw them grow into an international sensation. We stood by them through addiction, line-up changes, and even deaths (Rest in Peace Paul). They are our family and we are theirs.

Slipknot played a hometown show on Friday night. It was two days after my birthday and just too damn perfect for me to miss out on so of course, I grabbed a friend, drove the agonizing four hours down to Des Moines and went to the show.

The show started with Of Mice & Men. I am a huge fan of these guys but they just didn’t seem to fit the line-up or the venue. The show was held in the Wells Fargo “Arena” (yes, I’m using the word arena lightly because compared to the Target Center or Xcel Center up here in the Twin Cities, this arena is a joke but it’s the best Iowa can do) and was damn near sold out. Of Mice & Men seemed to have a hard time catching the audience’s attention and getting them excited. I saw this coming, they were opening up for freaking Marilyn Manson and Slipknot in Des Moines… they didn’t stand a chance.

I was excited to see Marilyn Manson but not because of the great things I had heard about his recent tours, more because I wanted to see the train wreck he has become. I was never a huge Marilyn Manson fan. Honestly, he was a bit too out there even for me. He intimidated me and I didn’t think his music was all that great.

To say that Manson has turned into a train wreck would be an understatement. His set was the most painful set I’ve ever sat through. His voice is shot and his behavior on stage was disgusting at best. Between each song he would chuck his microphone off to the side or behind the drums. His poor stage crew would have to take them time to find the thrown microphone which caused delay between each of the songs. If he wasn’t throwing the microphone, Manson either had his back turned to the audience or he would be laying on the stage.

At first these antics were funny to watch but then I realized what was happening. I was watching the downfall of a true legend of the scene. My heart broke as he slurred through his lyrics. I cringed as he humped the monitors that lined the front of the stage. I truly don’t understand why he is still on this tour. I get that it’s Marilyn Manson but he needs help or really needs to just be done.

After the mess that was Marilyn Manson, the stage was set up for Slipknot. You could feel the mood in the room get super intense. We all knew what was coming and we were more than ready for it.

Corey Taylor came out on stage and the crowd lost it. The pushing and shoving was out of control and they hadn’t even started playing a song yet. Once the music finally started, I was nothing short of lost. I watched the eight hometown heroes storm and jump across the stage. The drum risers went up and down while spinning as the percussionists hit the empty beer kegs with the baseball bats. Corey Taylor commanded the crowd as he stormed from side to side only stopping to amp the crowd up a little bit more… not that they needed it.

Memories of meeting the members of Slipknot started flooding back to me. I remember many of them coming into the record shop I used to work at when growing up. I remember Corey Taylor being quoted saying that The Java Jews, my dad’s band, was his favorite local band. Slipknot is more than a band to those of us who live in Des Moines. They are just those local guys that you see around town. They live their modest lives in a modest Iowa town and truly have a modest Midwest mentality.

I couldn’t tell you how long they played. I can’t even tell you what songs they played. Like I said, I was completely lost in their live show. I never wanted it to stop and as they played their last encore and I started walking away, I couldn’t help but to tear up. It had been eight years since the last time Slipknot played a hometown show and fourteen years since I had experienced it both of those numbers are far too high.

When I was 13 my dad dropped me off at a Slipknot show. I was too young to be there but tried to fit in among the metalheads with my baggy black bondage pants and my oversized glow in the dark System of a Down t-shirt. I was scared as I clutched onto that railing in the very front of the crowd. The large metal heads tried to form a barrier around me but it didn’t seem to help. I walked out of that show in pain and exhausted but with a smile on my face.

That was the night that changed my life.

I have been to literally thousands of concerts since my first Slipknot show. Absolutely nothing compares to seeing Slipknot in Des Moines, Iowa. Nothing.

Line Up:

Of Mice & Men

Marilyn Manson


Venue: Wells Fargo Arena

Sausage Fest Meter- 20 out of 10

Average Age of the Crowd- 35

Crowd Surfers- Didn’t Keep Track

Stage Divers-0

Moshability- What’s The Next Level Up From Extreme?

Broken Bones- None Noticed (I had seats)

Drunkards Taken Out By Security- None Noticed

Celebrity Sightings- The only celebrities from Des Moines, Iowa were on that stage.

Overall Score- 10 out of 10

Show on Deck- Top Secret Metal Fest II