Rock In Rio "Day 2"

I was concerned about yesterday's thorough coverage and worried that today would bring more of the same, but in fact, everything that happened in preparation for today might as well have been tossed out the window and for those who are interested in attending you will find today's debrief to be a little more convenient.

Getting to Rock in Rio
By now we can assume you've found a place to stay, explored Rio de Janeiro a little, and had a little fun amidst all of the noise surrounding the show.
   Today every nook and cranny was closed and all roads leading to Babylon were not available. Where yesterday I was able to circle my way around the route and make an attempt at entry, today that was simply not a possibility.
   I tried to backtrack around the nonexistent Slavador Allende (honestly, this road only exists on maps, it is simply not there) but there was no getting through. 
   Essentially I got off at Cidade do Artes and parked the car there for the same rate as yesterday and caught one of the charter buses. For 6 Brazilian Real and some change, you get a round way trip to and from the venue and this might be a little more civilized than yesterday's efforts of guerrilla parking. Not that yesterday wasn't effective, it's just that today was a completely different story when it came to navigating the roads. Perhaps it's because Day 2 was on a Friday, or maybe it's just that Slipknot is in town, but all of yesterday's preparations to make the way to the event could might as well have gone out the window.
   Here's the catch. Rio will be hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics and the city where the summer games will be held is right next door to Cidade do Rock. This explains the construction, the origination of new roads and the chaos that is going on all around me. If you plan to attend, I would recommend skipping 2016 and perhaps making an effort the following year. Due to the Summer Olympics up ahead, I'm not even sure if the city is planning on hosting the festival next year.

(Salvador Allende that only exists in Google maps)

(the construction zone of the Summer Olympics 2016 next door to Cidade do Rock)

(the coaches to the show amidst the madness)

I personally brought two 1.5L bottles and I was allowed to bring them in. I was told to take the cap off but I found another bottle laying around and quickly exchanged the lids. This might sound a little edgy, but trust me, by the time Slipknot got on at midnight, I could care less where it came from as long as it was there.
   Plan for this, don't be foolish. It will ruin your experience and you will not be able to enjoy the festival if you're a thrill seeker looking to get as close as possible to the show. Having the liter of water with me during the night made me feel safe, gave me hope, and made surviving the time in between the sets possible. Unless you're completely mad, you cannot stay put between bands without getting water.
   I got to Palco Mundo super early and parked right by the stage right barricade. The water guys were there now, but I looked at them with disappointment as last night was when we needed them the most. Even though they made their presence known, by the time Faith No More and Slipknot played, they were once again nowhere to be found.
   Nothing can describe the experience of sitting with the Brazilians waiting for the next band. It seems as if everyone made a pact and on three a huge mass would just all agree to squat. Day 1 terrified me as you couldn't walk past it to get to water. Day 2 was a treat since I was prepared.

(the water merchants doing the best they can to make it through the crowd in between acts)

The Bands - Palco Sunset
Personally, I considered the day's offerings on the second stage to be extremely disappointing. I watched Moonspell rock out their prog attempts at metal and Derrick Green of Sepultura fame joined for a few songs. It was cool hearing a sloppy rendition of "Roots" in Brazil, but without any of the original members and without even the original frontman singing the anthem, it was more of a pathetic attempt at a crowd reaction than anything else. I would have rather heard "Nation" or something off of Dante... but whatever, this was hardly the focus. 
   Nightwish followed after and I can't say I was impressed either. Although vocalist Floor Jansen is incredible to look at, I can't say I'd rush to get their album, let alone stream it on the ride home. In case you've never seen them or heard them, all the flutes, bagpipes, mandolins and assorted musical variables they expose are actual instruments played by their guitarist. Although they have a primary keyboardist, he hardly stepped in to synthesize these authentic sounds. However many people enjoyed it, some were even in tears again, but it was obvious that I wasn't alone in this notion, with many lining up in front of the main stage hours before Mastadon's set. 
   Again, since bands don't make it out here as often, I'm sure these attendees will support anything with double bass and a guitar, but this wouldn't surpass Arch Enemy in the states, which from what I gather based on this past year's Summer Slaughter draw, isn't much to bargain for either.
   Steve Vai played last to close the stage. He played with no less than a twenty piece orchestra. This was pretty gnarly but obviously set the pace and tone for the night in a completely different direction than what I was personally after. This was obviously very lavish and overwhelming and was nice to mark off the bucket list, but it was obvious festival organizers spent this year's budget on the last of the metal days on the Palco Mundo headliners. 

(Steve Vai and the orchestra - I'm not really sure I understand his genius, but hey, that's genius, right?)

The Bands - Palco Mundo
Each day the first band was a Brazilian local, with CPM22 on Day 1 (which I completely overlooked due to Deftones and their monolithic presence), and De La Tierra on Day 2.
   It was obvious De La Tierra was a local favorite being a Latin metal band and they couldn't have been more excited. Who wouldn't be performing on the world's biggest stage with some of the biggest acts on the planet? I wasn't too surprised to see Andreas Kisser in the band, but I was more surprised that I'd never heard of this group before, having been a Sepultura fan for almost my entire life. So technically half of Sepultura was at the festival, and I wish I could say more about that.
   It seems like Static-X and Puya may have never existed here, and if they did, it's clear that they would still be welcome. I don't know how much of this has to do with the lack of exposure, but the crowd goes wild for anything with a distortion pedal. It would be insane to think and possibly beyond rational thought what would bands like Abhorrence, Barrier, or Prestige would do if they got an opportunity to play to South America. They probably would start a riot.
   Mastodon played right after and had a flawless set and took advantage of performing on the big stage. They've become such strong song writers over the years, with their entire line up singing whole songs similar to what Kiss often does. They played a set that ranged from each one of their albums in their detailed catalogue. They've worked hard throughout the years, slept on many floors and pissed in enough plastic bottles to earn their right to play on the main stage. I felt proud of their accomplishments.
   It was my first time seeing Faith No More and I'm still left a little skeptical over their performance. I missed the shows at MSG and Webster Hall sold out in seconds, but it's obvious there's friction between the guys. A few cool variables to note; their whole crew wears white while preparing their stage design, and fresh flowers are delivered to every show of this new reincarnation of the band.
   They played fan favorites "Epic," and "Easy" and plenty of good stuff from the new one, but failed to deliver some of my favorite tunes which all park on Album of the Year. At some point Patton dove off the plank and into the crowd and it wasn't clear as to whether or not he had any support so the crowd seemed to be worried for a few moments, only to be relieved when he rose back on the stage. 
   During their encore there was some tension between what to do next and I felt as if it was a little pathetic to be arguing on the biggest night of the year for the metal community. 
   I don't know if their garden set up and live show is worth the exorbitant ticket price they've been charging for these reunion shows, but it's good to mark it off the list, and perhaps continue to follow Patton in whatever endeavor he chooses next. 
   For those wondering, the studio magic of his ability to perform is not magic at all, but is rather a really talented performance from the man himself. Do not doubt his ability to translate into the physical form, because he will deliver.

(Andreas Kisser rocking out with De La Tierra)

(the boys of Mastodon enjoying their hard work)

(Faith No More staying true to their garden design)

(About as close as I could get to Patton without cracking a rib)

I was totally blown away about a month ago during "Summer's Last Stand" in Jones Beach so I was obviously very excited to revisit this set. 
   Slipknot is arguably one of the best live acts on the planet. Aside from Kiss, Gwar, and Nine Inch Nails, very few bands take advantage of the stage and actually deliver a performance to such a large audience. Take System of a Down the day before for instance. Obviously the music can speak for itself, and I'm one of the first advocates for this notion, but there are a few bands out there that really invest in themselves and invest in their show and deliver a remarkable performance for their audience to take away. What did SOAD really do besides stand there and play twenty seven songs? Thanks for showing up Serge! You really did sing wonderfully.
   I was there in West Palm in '99 when Slipknot played at 15:45 to 200 people with only a demo cassette released from Roadrunner. I was there when Slipknot played after Amen during Coal Chamber's headlining run the following year with Machine Head. I was there at House of Blues in Orlando when Slipknot played to a 16+ crowd, with Kittie and the defunct Will Haven. I was also there the following Ozzfests where Slipknot seemed to become bigger than life itself.
   Now, delivering the show of a lifetime on the world's biggest stage, I felt an intense moment of gratitude and appreciation for their work ethic. This is a band that literally came from nothing and have paid their dues to earn their right to headline. Their elaborate stage designs, their commitment to their uniforms, Corey's incredible talent at engaging the crowd while the band gets their act together to hydrate. It's all just so wonderfully professional.
   They pay homage to their roots and play everything you'd ever want to hear if you've been a fan since the beginning. I feel really lucky to have been there from the start and seen them grow into such a powerhouse of an institution. Mick and Jim have proven themselves worthy axemen, Sid still dances like a jester, and Clown and Chris still pound away on their respective workstations with precision. Newly joined 2 & 1 have gotten stronger, now finally delivering Slipknot-standard performances every night where initially they struggled to keep up with the intensity of the band. 
   The crowd was obviously out of control and seemed to almost start to riot. This is where the crowd lights flares, starts fires in the pit and grunt practical war chant. It's obvious why these festivals in foreign countries have such a large distance between the stage and the barricade. If they were any closer, they'd probably be trampled. 
   A few things about the crowd that's worth mentioning. They respect each other like no other scene I've ever seen. In New York things have become so violent that it's almost impossible to enjoy the show without fearing losing a tooth or getting a black eye. At last night's event, the entire pit seemed to stop if a kid lost his cell phone. As the crowd would sway from left to right, the kids knew how to manage it and control the motion and put a stop to it when the pit would open. I've been in numerous shows in the U.S. where everyone fell on the floor and the band had to stop playing until things in the crowd would settle. The barricade at Rock in Rio is also split into quartiles so it's not as if the entire mass can put pressure on it from every angle. I finally got an appreciation for this design after seeing it in pictures for so many years.
   There's no telling how much bigger Slipknot can actually get, and in fact they're set out to prove just exactly how big that is by designing their own festival with Knotfest in its second year landing again in California sometime in October. It's safe to say their performance was worth the trip, as well as camping out and getting as close as possible to the "Red Zone" in one of the largest crowds of music history.

(Slipknot's light and stage production is one of the best in the business)

(How this rig made it from storage to Brazil is completely beyond me. I hardly brought socks)

(Caught a pic in what I call Rock in Rio's "Red Zone")

So Was It Worth It/Would I Do It Again?
Yes. Aside from the fact that just Cidade do Rock is a site to behold all on its own, and that Rock in Rio might be every metal heads trips to Mecca, the show couldn't have been any better. 
   Parking, water, and lodging aside, the festival organizers really made this something special. Fireworks, production, respectable set times, good food. Kevin Lyman can learn a thing or two from this design. Obviously Rock in Rio isn't a tour, but maybe making these festivals a destination is something to consider. Especially with Mayhem falling apart like the toilet seat that it was this year.
   Especially for those of us who live in the U.S. and are spoiled by the saturation of the music scene, venturing out and exploring different cultures amidst one of the greatest crowds in the business is something I'd recommend for even the most calloused of listeners. The fans of Rio are very warm, accepting and care for one another. Language barriers aside, everyone was there for the same reason.
   I look forward to Download next year, and possibly crossing off Hellfest as well in the years to come.

Thank you Brazil! I shall see you soon!


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