Corey Taylor has a lot of regrets.
He'll talk openly about them; he'll avert his eyes at the mention of friends who have passed away; and he'll even laugh at his own stupidity as he tells stories from his past. But all those regrets have led him to where he is today. And today, he's a very happy man.
An hour into Taylor's performance Thursday night, he had yet to pick up his guitar. Instead, he paced back and forth onstage in front of a packed crowd of Slipknot and Stone Sour enthusiasts in the House of Blues' Bronze Peacock, telling jokes, reading from his book and answering questions. While the night was honestly billed as "An Evening with Corey Taylor," which usually means that it isn't all about the music, that didn't seem to matter to a very vocal minority.
We heard plenty of grumblers, talking loudly in the back and drunkenly stumbling outside for smoke breaks, unimpressed with Taylor's words and overall message. Aftermath, however, was entranced. The front man took a comedy show, a motivational speech and a little acoustic guitar and rolled it into two full hours of what can't be described as a concert. Whatever it was, it struck a chord with us and countless others who were hanging onto Taylor's every word and just might now realize that their hero is human, flawed and just trying to make it through the day.
Taylor, who hasn't had a sip of alcohol in a year and a half, spoke of the difference between confidence and vanity, admitting that for a long he had such a high opinion of himself, he couldn't connect with others. When Slipknot first went on tour and saw success, he found himself so sure of his own abilities and proud of his own accomplishments that he couldn't help but to scoff at everyone else's.
Humility, he reminded the crowd, is something to be sought after. And for good reason.
"When you're young, you tend to romanticize stupid shit," he said. The crowd was then told what it's really like to be on the road with a touring band, and any romanticized ideas they may have had were put to rest as Taylor told the crowd that tour buses smell like fet and farts.
The night wasn't completely solemn with virtues, though Taylor peppered them into even his funniest asides. He talked of his love for Star Wars collectibles and said he was worried that one day he might end up on the show "Horders." The only difference between he and the people on that show, he said, is that his stuff is all still in the box. "If it's in the box, you're a collector, not a horder, right?" he asked the crowd with a laugh.
His acoustic set included "Through the Glass," "Bother" and "Xxyzz Road." The crowd sang along to all of it, and Taylor was so impressed with the sing-along to "Bother" that he stopped halfway through it and clapped for the crowd.
It wasn't what we expected, and we can understand why a few fans weren't all too pleased with the first hour that was sans-music, but Taylor has something to say, and if more people listened, they might just get something from his message.
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Personal Bias: We've seen Taylor perform with Stone Sour before, so we knew the guy could put on a show.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Is he STILL talking?"
Random Notebook Dump: During the Q&A section of Thursday night's entertainment, someone asked Taylor what inspired him to write a book?
"I'm so sick and fucking tired of everyone around me making me feel like shit for shit that I can't fucking control," Taylor said.