Ypsilanti, Michigan (February 10, 2018) – – Before we begin, let’s set the record straight right from the start – Stone Sour is NOT Corey Taylors ‘second’ band project; Stone Sour was already a solid entity before Taylors ‘second’ project donned the rubber masks and began their meteor-like ascent in the metal world. Any mortal with this much energy and creativity naturally would need multiple outlets to express themselves. Taylor moves effortlessly between both bands and seamlessly maintains their complete separate identities and distinctive sounds.
Make no mistake; the crowd that packed into the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center on this snow-laden Saturday night came to see Stone Sour. No masks or gimmicks, just straight hardcore rock, and roll, with maybe a ballad or two thrown in for good measure.
After a quick stage break from co-headliner Halestorm, Corey Taylor (vocals), Christian Martucci (Guitar), Johny Chow (bass), Roy Mayorga (drums) and a temporary replacement for Josh Rand (who is on a medical leave), took the stage. Stone Sour, using the instrumental track “YSIF” as entry music, wasted no time once Taylor took his spot up front.
The band came out blazing with “Taipei Person/Allah Tea” the first track off its 2017 release Hydrograd. For the next hour and 30 minutes bassist Johny Chow and Ray Mayorga “one of the world’s best metal drummers” laid the acoustic foundation for the rest to follow. Together they delivered a high-intensity, yet very tight 13-song set which featured tracks off “Hydrograd” and a few iconic tracks from the vault of Stone Sours vast music library. Some of the classics included “Made of Scars” and the iconic “30/30-150” after which the band slowed, not as much to take a breather themselves but give the fans a one!
When Taylor returned to the stage he had a guitar strapped up and began playing “Hesitate” solo. After working through the chorus, the band joined in and instantly amped up the intensity in the crowd. With Taylor throwing water bottles, firing confetti cannons and managing the mosh pit from the stage, the fans were witnessing Stone Sour at their absolute best.
The evening wind down began with “Do Me a Favor” and “Song #3”, which in previous shows was used to end the main set. Unexpectedly, the crowd was taken aback when an appealing, yet an extremely raw version of the 2006 mainstream rock hit “Through Glass” was started by the band. Often used as an encore, the polished, yet edgy performance of this classic radio tune left the fans yelling and screaming for more as the extended version came to conclusion.
After an extremely quick break off stage, the band reappeared to the thunderous roar of the appreciative fans! Breaking right into “Absolute Zero” from 2012 release House of Gold and Bones, Pt.1, Taylor instantly became the leader of an intense singing battle between different parts of the arena. It was an amazing scene in where Taylor could silence the crowd or bring them to hysteria with just the motion of his hand.
The night came to an end with a neck-breaking performance of “Fabuless”, a track off “Hydrograd”. With colorful air-dancers across the front of the stage, multi-colored flashing lights, and loud screaming fans, Corey Taylor was in his environment. A master showman with a strong, powerful voice, he IS the face of Stone Sour – one of the most Iconic Rock bands on the planet.
It’s not very often if ever, a band finishes off such a powerful show by playing a track off their latest release; only a band that has confidence in their music and product they put on stage night after night would even think about it. Stone Sour did more than think about it tonight; they went ahead and did it. And judging by the crowd reaction, it was a wise decision!
Be sure to check out our coverage of Halestorm!
Senior Photojournalist: John Swider