BAKERSFIELD, California — It’s not exactly one of Bakersfield’s busiest streets, but the back access road to Rabobank Arena was named Korn Row on Friday, a day Mayor Harvey Hall officially declared Korn Day.
The green street sign, which stands just a few feet from train tracks that run behind the venue, uses the band’s signature logo, backwards “R” and all.
“It kind of makes us get teary-eyed a little bit,” singer Jonathan Davis confessed to the few hundred fans who attended the mid-afternoon ceremony where the sign and a Korn plaque on the venue were unveiled. “It’s because of all you coming and supporting us.”
After the presentation, the singer told MTV News that the whole thing felt a little surreal.
“This [city] was a place that I dreaded as a teenager because there wasn’t much stuff to do, but it’s always going to hold a special place in my heart,” he said. “It’s a little bit too much to handle. Like, what are these politicians doing here saying they like us?”
It was quite a sight to see a gray-haired mayor man-hugging Fieldy, a state senator’s spokesperson telling fans to “rock on” and a county supervisor calling Korn “the godfather[s] of heavy metal,” but chalk it up to a little hometown pride.
“I asked them to name a Korn song, and they did,” Davis said.
Friday’s street naming was held in conjunction with the kickoff to Korn’s See You on the Other Side tour (see “Korn Announce Tour Dates While Surrounded By Dead Celebrities” ), which marked the band’s fourth time playing Rabobank, more than any other band.
The show, living up to Davis’ promise of a something special, was heavy on rarities and featured twice as many musicians on stage as a usual Korn performance.
Following sets from 10 Years and Mudvayne, the band took the stage with “It’s On!” and followed with three additional lesser-known tracks (“Clown,” “Divine” and “Love Song”) before playing a hit single, “Falling Away From Me.”
The first three songs featured the band’s current lineup Davis, guitarist Munky, bassist Fieldy and drummer David Silveria — but before “Love Song,” curtains on both sides of Silveria dropped to reveal a second percussionist, second guitarist, keyboardist and backup singer/multi-instrumentalist.
All wearing different animal masks, the additional musicians helped fill the shoes of departed guitarist Brian “Head” Welch and conquer the additional instrumentation on Korn’s latest album, See You on the Other Side (see “Korn On New LP: ’Sadness,’ ’Anger,’ ’Darkness’ … ’Kind Of Perverted” ). But more than anything else, the extra musicians gave the band an added thickness, especially with thunderous cannon drums.
“It’s exciting with the new elements there,” Davis said backstage. “We knew we wanted to do something different and over the top and not a typical Korn show, so we’re doing new things.”
Another Korn first was packaging some of their hits and live favorites into a medley, which kicked off with Davis returning to the stage in a kilt and playing the bagpipes intro to “Shoots and Ladders” — yielding the loudest crowd response of the night.
A few songs later, after “Got the Life,” Davis closed the first set by himself, delicately singing “Tearjerker” over the sound of guitar feedback.
For the encore, Korn re-emerged with “Twisted Transistor” and another new one, “Hypocrites,” before going out with the one-two punch of “Freak on a Leash” and “Blind,” featuring a momentum-building extended opening from Silveria.
During both the show and the ceremony before, Davis kept his banter to a minimum.
“I’m not trying to go out there and be the center of attention,” the singer explained backstage. “I don’t have LSD: lead singer’s disease.”
During the street sign presentation, however, he did make sure to promise one thing to Korn’s screaming fans, congregating in front of a massive “Welcome Home Korn” sign hanging from a nearby building.
“We will work on getting a real street some day,” he said with a smile.
For more sights and stories from concerts around the country, check out MTV News Tour Reports.