Cricket Pavilion, Phoenix, AZ
Friday, 18 August, 2006

Traveling hard-rock fests are becoming a dime a dozen these days, but KoRn's Family Values Tour showed everyone in Cricket Pavilion how a rock show should really be done.

First rule: Get good bands, ones that people care about.

With a main-stage lineup that included Stone Sour, the Deftones and KoRn, it's hard to think of ways this tour could have been stronger. The different performers all brought something slightly different to the table, and all the pieces put together what may have been the best rock show of the summer. And while the buzz wasn't great on a couple of the second-stage bands, that's part of the beauty of a second stage - everyone gets to sample music they might not otherwise hear.

Fans were passionate about the music, and it carried over to the performances. Despite Friday's heat - around 105 degrees during Stonesour's early evening performance with temperatures still lingering at about 96 degrees during KoRn's set - the crowd was roaring to go.

You could tell it was going to be a memorable night the second KoRn hit the stage. People had been chanting for the band, and you could taste everyone's anticipation throughout the stage setup. As soon as frontman Jonathan Davis appeared, all that energy exploded. It was still hot, but no one was worn out. The pit was in a frenzy, and the rest of us thrashed around to "Here to Stay" as best we could in our seats.

The depth of the audience's passion for KoRn helped elevate the entire performance. People sang along and whipped their heads around, keeping the energy level so high it never really dipped with the occasional pauses (most likely for Davis, who was diagnosed with a blood disease earlier this summer) in the set.

A disclaimer: I came to see Korn, probably my favorite band. It's easy for me to get carried away when talking about KoRn. But I wasn't the only one, as evidenced by the girl next to me who almost came to blows with a guy in the row behind us after he insinuated that Korn's performance couldn't possibly top the Deftones.'

But the true beauty of Friday's show was how well the bands fit together. KoRn and the Deftones, of course, share a history, one we were reminded of when Deftones frontman Chino Moreno came onstage with KoRn for "Wicked," one of the night's highlights. And Stone Sour, riding high of the release of its second album earlier this month, hit the stage and proved it was more than "just" the side project of Slipknot's Corey Taylor and James Root. (Even though, of course, both had been in Stone Sour before joining Slipknot, but who puts it that way these days?)

The Deftones in particular demonstrated why it is quite possibly the most innovative rock band out there today. The band is heavy, soft, poetic and hard - all at the same time. It had the crowd on its feet for the whole set. My one complaint: The sound mixing could have been better. Sure, you could feel the bass rumbling up your body through the concrete, but it also served to overpower Moreno's vocals. And what's a Deftones performance without Moreno's haunting voice? There were moments when the mixing was just right - such as during "Change (in the house of flies)" - and Moreno's voice wove through and carried over the music. Sadly, for much of the performance, while you could see him pouring everything he had into the mic, you couldn't actually hear it very well.

At a time when it seems like there's more than enough rock festivals, The Family Values Tour reminded us that, at the end of the day, it's all about the music. You could see in how people banged on their seats for an encore when KoRn left the stage and in how the crowd moved in unison with the Deftones. All the other carnivalesque stuff to entertain fans between sets is nice, but everyone comes for the music.

01. Right Now
02. Twist
03. Love Song
04. A.D.I.D.A.S.
05. Thoughtless
06. Falling Away From Me
07. Coming Undone
08. Got the Life
09. Throw Me Away
10. Shoots and Ladders
11. Wicked (Feat. Chino Moreno)
12. Politics
13. Here to Stay
14. Freak on a Leash
15. Twisted Transistor
16. Y'all Want a Single
17. Blind

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