Mayhem Festival brought out rock talents such as Slipnot, Slayer

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Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival was the largest show I have ever been to, and easily the craziest, Saturday at Hard Rock Casino Albuquerque Presents The Pavilion in Albuquerque.

It started out a beautiful day, a little hot, but nothing unusual for New Mexico weather. As soon as I walked onto the premises, all I saw were merchandise tables. There had to have been more than 20 different tents full of band apparel and items.

Billie Turnbow-News-Bulletin photo: Corey Taylor, center, lead singer of Slipknot, gets help from percussionist Chris Fehn, left, and Shawn Crahan “Clown,” right, during the song, “Eyeless,” at Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival earlier this month.

A quick look here and there was all I could muster before the first band went on at the Jägermeister stage.

Of course, this year’s “Jäger band” was the first band to welcome the crowd to the 2012 Mayhem Festival. They not only opened for the festival, but they definitely set the mood.

At this time, people were still making their descent down to the stage area, and as they arrived, they couldn’t help but head bang and jump along to the music.

It wasn’t until the second band, Upon a Burning Body, went on stage that the perfect, hot New Mexico weather turned into what seemed to be a sand blast. It was very hard for me to enjoy the music when I was busy trying not to get an eye full of dirt.

Then Whitechapel hit the stage. They are a band I had heard was very talented, which I was looking forward to seeing. Unfortunately, being in a dirt storm was not the last of my concerns.

When the rain started to pour, the loving and dedicated fans didn’t seem to mind, as the jugs of water used to soak one another in the mosh pits had no use at this time. It continued to rain throughout the remainder of the show, as well as during performances from As I Lay Dying and Anthrax.

Hope was not lost though. As I waited on the sidelines for The Devil Wears Prada, clothes soaking wet, the rain started to subdue. The massive crowd came pouring in from the much smaller Jägermeister stage to the main stage until it turned into an endless sea of people.

Making your way to the bathroom was not an option; you had to follow wherever the hordes of people went. It wasn’t until Motorhead went on that the crowd really started to respond.

If lead singer Lemmy Kilmister told you to jump, you’d jump; when the lead guitarist Phil Campbell told the crowd to raise their hands and clap, all I could see where hands clapping to the beat of the music.

Next up was Slayer. Although I’m not a great fan of them, I couldn’t dismiss the fact that they put on a great show. I believe that it wasn’t until Slayer came on that things started to get hectic.

Random mosh pits were breaking out everywhere, crowd surfers where making their way to the stage just to be dropped on the ground and thrown out by the security. Not to forget all of the fights that seemed to break out during this part of the festival.

It may be because Slayer has always been labeled as devil worshipers that this may have angered the crowd. They even took it so far as to have their Marshall half-stacked amps in the shape of upside down crosses.

Even with this display, I could not wait for Slipknot to take the stage. This was the band everyone was waiting for. However, this year they would be two men short. Paul Gray, the former bass player, passed away May 2010 from a drug overdose, and Jim Root, one of the guitarists who shares lead and rhythm duties in the band, was absent due to his appendix bursting. We were later informed that he was in the hospital recovering.

Two men short and Slipknot still gave an amazing, mind blowing show. It was hard to absorb everything at once. To the left of the stage, we had Craig Jones, also known as “133,” performing as the sampler MIDI controller, and Chris Fehn, the percussionist who attracted the crowds attention by jumping around taunting everyone to sing along and move with them.

On center stage, we had the frontman and vocalist Corey Taylor, the drummer Joey Jordison, and our only guitar player for the night, Mick Thomson. To the right, we had the crazy DJ Sid Wilson jumping into the sea of people to crowed surf, and we had Shawn Crahan, better known as “Clown,” the man with the rotating aerial drums, angrily beating them with his baseball bat as they spun around in circles.

The Hard Rock Pavilion was jam packed full of people. Not a single green spot was visible in the lawn seats, and everyone who had attended that night was singing along to each of Slipknot’s songs.

Albuquerque and the surrounding areas showed that they were true fans of the band. We braved the beating sun and hot temperatures, being sand blasted by some incredibly strong winds, getting completely drenched from head to toe from the rain, and having to deal with mobs of people trying to trample you to the ground.

We overcame the obstacles and got to witness one of the best heavy metal shows out there.