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The most impressive & unforgettable first live of Deftones in Korea!!!

# Intro(about “How come I get to know Deftones & love their music)

Deftones is my one and only beloved band in the whole universe as well as on the Earth. I began to listen to foreign(mainly American and British) pop music from 1985(when I was 14), and I’ve enjoyed listening especially to rock music since 1990. In 1999, I happened to know Deftones while listening to a local FM radio program which played Korean indie rock and foreign rock. One day, the DJ introduced Deftones and played , and in a row. I got shocked like somebody heavily hit me on the back of my head, and got immediately attracted by their charming music. Since then, I’ve been in love with Deftones for over 10 years. Once you dig into their music, you can’t dare to get out of it because it constantly fascinates you with its unique, incomparable aspect which is totally different from any other rockbands. I think it is much more addictive than drugs. There’s no cure for it. Moreover, as the saying “Both extremes meet each other.”, though their music has both heavy and mellow sides, they don’t even conflict with each other and ironically coexist perfectly. What an amazing musical accomplishment! That’s why I can’t help admiring Deftones.

I don’t think Chino remembers this. I posted a question about the tour schedule of the band back in 2006 on the tour-related board of Deftones official homepage(“Do you have any plan to visit Korea and perform a live in the near future?”). At first, I was very happy that Chino himself kindly replied to my question(his on-line avatar was ‘Felix the Cat’ at that time, and I intuitively believed it to be himself without any specific reasons. I might get it wrong.). But after confirming his negative answer(“Dear Eileen, NO!!! Love, Chino”), I was disappointed enough to wonder if I could ever see their performance here in Korea before my death. I was so frustrated in such a desperate situation.

From mid May of 2009 some rumor of their visit in Korea started to come out of nowhere. I didn’t believe any information floating on the Korean Internet ‘cuz I had seen many cases that a lot of shows of foreign musicians had been cancelled for some reason or other during the process of contacting potential cast artists. Besides, when it comes to Deftones, all I can trust is only Deftones(as the blog administrator once posted, “Only Deftones speak for Deftones”!). So I kept checking out their blog almost every day from then on(actually, I have visited Deftones blog at least every two days since early 2008). In the end, I confirmed their tour schedule of the first performance in Korea. How stunning the news was! Deftones would finally come here in Korea on July 25th!!! I live in Seoul and it takes 2 hours to get to the venue by subway, but I didn’t care a damn about it. Why? Deftones only matters. My second favorite band Weezer was also supposed to show their first performance at another rock festival on the same day, but there was no choice but to give it up. Deftones is my top priority over any other rockbands. Indeed, I didn’t wanna miss my lifetime chance to see their live for the very first time.

# Set List of Deftones’ first live in Korea(running time: 105min. / 22 songs performed)

1) Rapture
2) Back To School (mini maggit)
3) Feiticeira
4) My Own Summer (Shove It)
5) Lhabia
6) Lotion
7) Beware
8) Elite
9) Digital Bath
10) Korea
11) Around The Fur
12) Rickets
13) Be Quiet & Drive (Far Away)
14) Hexagram
15) Minerva
16) Root
17) Nosebleed
18) Engine No.9
19) Hole In The Earth
20) Headup
21)~22) Encore : + <7 Words>

(For your reference, here is my expected repertoire from each album that I carried at the venue that day. I’ve kept it since then. Just compare them with your set list for fun!)

# My own expected set list for the Deftones’ performance at 2009
Pentaport Rock Festival:

★ From : Bored / Nosebleed / Root / 7 Words / Engine No.9
★ From : My Own Summer (Shove It) / Around The Fur / Be Quiet & Drive (Far Away) / Lotion / Headup
★ From : Back To School (mini maggit) / Digital Bath / Elite / RX Queen / Knife Prty / Korea / Change (In The House Of Flies)
★ From : Hexagram / Minerva / Battle-axe / Bloody Cape / Lucky You
★ From : Hole In The Earth / Rapture / Xerces / Rats! Rats! Rats! / Kimdracula

# Main stage(focusing on the first live in Korea)

To begin with, one thing that I’ve got to mention is about the band’s technicians. The audience was a little bit excited and couldn’t wait more to see Deftones ‘cuz starting time was already late. But whatever those fans did(they kept shouting the bandname), band’s technician crew on the stage didn’t care about it and calmly focused on the soundcheck of each instrument. I was quite impressed by their elaborate soundcheck for the band to just go up on the stage and play at any time. Unfortunately, almost all the Korean rockbands have never had such a luxury. That’s why I envy foreign artists. Thanks to the crew’s 30 minutes’ long checkout, some problems including unnecessary noise(or howling) of bass were completely solved right before the show.

The first song the band played was . I think this song is neither heavy nor soft. That’s good enough for warm-up, so the band chose it for the first song. The next two songs were & . In my opinion, Deftones was so considerate of their Korean fans, for they didn’t skip from this album to that one and mostly tried playing songs on the same album in a row. Maybe the band had considered it was the first live in Korea.

When the smash hit ---I love listening to AFN(=American Forces Network) Korea on the radio and they play the song every summer---began without notice, the audience(including me) got crazy like hell in a flash. I don’t know why but the song always drives me fucking insane. There is something irresistible about it. As one of my favorite Korean indie bands called Mystery Tour covered it back in 2000 whenever the band played live in local clubs, I naturally memorized the complete lyrics of the song and enjoyed singing it aloud. Besides, I even gestured to the song. What kind of gestures are they?(Please don’t laugh about them ‘cuz they might be a little bit childish to you guys.) For instance, at the part of “When the two hits the six”, I raise my hands and mark each number with my fingers. At another part like “See I try & look up to the sky but my eyes burn”, I point at the sky and literally look up to the sky and hide my eyes with my hands. Frankly speaking, I did the same things at Deftones’ first live in Korea, of course. I can’t help but admit “Habit is a second nature”. What was so surprising was that Chino himself did the same gesture with mine on the stage when he sang that part “my eyes burn”!!! That was the most thrilling moment. From this song, Chino told the audience “Thank you! Thank you so much!” almost every time after each song was finished. I remember he also said “You’re so beautiful! Beautiful people!” (Chino, you were so beautiful, too. Among some friends who love rock, I usually call you with the nickname ‘the vocal cords endowed by God’. I don’t mean you didn’t try anything to be such an amazing vocalist. I just wanna describe your voice sounds too incredibly superb to come from average singers. I should also thank your awesome ‘right lung’ just as you did in the ‘Extra thanks to’ on the third album.)

Right before singing , Chino introduced the songtitle. But I misunderstood and thought it as a nu song from the anticipated sixth album . As soon as the song started, I noticed that was , one of the heaviest numbers of the band. So I got wild like crazy and screamed with joy. It was unbelievable for me to still hear such overwhelming screams of Chino, considering he was almost 40. Rather, his screaming was far heavier, more powerful than that on the album itself(hey, Chino! I’ve come to love you more than ever after seeing your immaculate performance.).

One of the most impressive songs was . This is, by far, the heaviest track on the third album. Without introducing the songtitle, Chino suddenly began to sing it. But I instantly knew what the song was. So I moved my body, singing along. Seeing him singing(rather, screaming or grinding) like that, I was wondering how his vocal cords seemed so normal and free from any problems. As a fan, I sometimes worry about him ‘cuz he has been excruciating his throat throughout countless tours for the last 22 years(Chino, as you know, your body itself is the musical instrument unlike other members. So I wish you take good care of yourself all the time.). During , there was an interesting scene to see. A basketball was floating over the audience from somewhere. Some fans passed it to Chino on stage, and he gently threw it back to them so that his fans might not get hurt. This kinda scene is the beauty of a live, I think.

The next song was , one of my own favorites. I hadn’t imagined I could hear this song right in my face. It really touched me in my heart. By the time when had released and I had enjoyed listening to it, I described my first feeling about to one of my closest friends who also loves Deftones like this; “I’ve taken an analogue bath many times, but I’m just wondering what on earth a digital bath is like. So I wanna try it if possible.” This episode proves that I loved this song so much from the beginning. On the stage, Chino played the guitar and sang the song at the same time. When he turned to third verse(You breathed then you stopped…), he tried singing more slowly. I think it was quite intentional ‘cuz he seemed to give the audience a more intense feeling by doing it. Because of that, I sang along as usual but felt so tantalized to death. From the moment he sang slower than before, it was a bit hard to find the proper timing of singing along with him. I was even nervously staring at his lips to find out when to go to the next lyrics. It was such a little bit embarrassing but funny moment. Anyway, in my own perspective, the best band shows a better live than their recordings. Deftones proved this in their first live in Korea. A relatively quieter or softer song like has a kinda risk that a little mistake is noticed right away if any. But Deftones didn’t make any mistakes. There was nothing to be desired in their performance. It was perfect enough.

The next tune was one of my anticipated songs, ! This was always covered by Kyrie Eleison who was one of my favorite Korean indie bands around 2001. When the news about Deftones’ first live in Korea had been posted on their blog, I clearly remember there was a comment like this: “Korea in Korea?!” So it was no surprise that the band played the song at the first live here. Even Chino on the stage said, “This is why we’re here!“ right before beginning the song. Only with his comment like that, I automatically felt what the band would play next. I sang it along hard, of course. Even if the lyrics actually have nothing to do with my country, I’d like to thank you guys very much for writing and titling the song like that. I also appreciate your first visit to Korea, though it was much later than I had expected. Better late than never.

The next three songs were from the second album. With , I moved my body wildly. When came to a start, the audience was already ready to jump up in the air! Personally I call this song one of those ‘Float-in-the-air songs’ including , & , ‘cuz I feel like not touching the floor like spacewalking whenever listening to them. While the main riff of the guitar was being played, I raised my hand and pretended to play the same riff, reminding me of the most impressive black-and-white video clip of the song.

At , there was a scene that I envied most. Chino held the hands of the nearest fans from the stage!!! I was anxious to hold his hand, too. But I was at the second barricade, not around the first one near the stage. If the band revisit here some day, I’m gonna stand in the front row(or at least somewhere near the stage) if possible and hold his… Whatever! So you’d better watch out for me next time, Chino!

After the soft was played, Chino spoke to the audience, “I’m gonna find out how hardcore fans you are! I wanna know if you know these songs.” Then he shouted “Root!” and got ready to sing it. From the moment, I thought the band would play several songs from their debut album, and mimicked the famous intro of with my fingers. The next two songs--- & ---were also among those the band enjoy playing live most often. As soon as those two songs were played, the fans fell into an absolute madness right away. According to Chino’s direction, the whole audience simultaneously yelled “Oi!” to every third beat of ’s specific part with their hands up. What a spectacular sight to see!

The band continued playing . Before singing , Chino mentioned like this: “This is the song for our brother Chi!” What he said made me touched but sad. As one of the most hardcore and loyal fans, I got so stunned at the news that Chi had a tragic car accident in early November, 2008. Since then, I’ve been hoping and praying he would recover soon and he could play with the rest of the band again. I know he is still in semi-conscious state. Though he wasn’t able to participate in recording , I truly hope to see him play and sing on the stage like before when the band come here in Korea again(Chi, you’re a strong man. I sincerely hope you’ll get well soon.). Whereas features Max Cavalera on the record, it was Chi who always used to replace him at live. That’s why Chino couldn’t have no choice but to mention about Chi whenever the band play the song live. To show my complete agreement to what Chino said, I reacted to the song more passionately than before. It was so beautiful to see the whole audience moving as one to Chino’s gestures. What a perfect chemistry between the band and the fans!

However, was that the real end of the performance? No fucking way!!! I thought Deftones wouldn’t go away without playing their monumental song, <7 Words>. All of the band members made their exit for a second and showed up again like answering the curtain call from the enthusiastic audience. With Chino’s speaking “We’ve got a couple of songs left,” the band started playing first. Like in the video clip, Chino sang it calmly but wonderfully, playing the guitar at the same time. That scene itself was so touching for me.

For the finale of the live, <7 Words> was played. There’s no doubt that the song is one of the favorite songs chosen by the band’s hardcore fans including myself. Chino admitted in an interview that the song is also his son’s favorite, though he doesn’t know why. I think there’s something irresistible about the song. It has a structure of starting softly and quietly but changing more and more heavily and wildly, and then exploding at the climax. In my opinion, such a progressively heavy structure contributes to giving the most intense impression to the listeners. Besides, there’s also explosive anger which isn’t limited only to those ‘angry young men’ but is appealing enough to the general public. So I can feel the same with the song whatever it really tries to describe. Anyway, it was already exceeding the original time schedule(90min.) of the band when they started the last song. The fans reacted most enthusiastically to it. Even if it was finished, the audience wasn’t able to leave the place. After the drummer Abe stepped to the front of the stage and threw all the drumsticks he had to the fans, lights were all out. That was the real end of Deftones’ first live in Korea.

The band was originally supposed to play for 90 minutes but they actually played for 105 minutes(exactly from 10:00 pm to 11:45 pm). I think it was because the band was deeply impressed and touched by the passionate reaction of the Korean audience. It’s needless to say that Korean fans who came to see the greatest performance of Deftones felt really moved and most impressed, too. Considering the inevitable thirst for seeing their favorite band for such a long time(for your reference, I had been waiting for you guys for over 10 years!), it’s no wonder to witness the most passionate response from those Korean fans. I truly hope to see Deftones’ full-length performance next time here in Seoul. I remember the posting from the band on the blog that the live in Korea was the first but not the last. I absolutely trust what you guys said and wrote. I’m already looking forward to see you guys again in Korea.

Last but not least, there’s one thing to tell you guys. Never censure yourselves, please. Self-censorship is the worst enemy of all the artists as well as the musicians like you. I mean self-censorship is even worse than outside censorship from such a disgusting organization as PMRC of which Tipper fucking Gore is a co-founder. Although it is such a nonsense to say like that to a veteran band like you guys, I really hope Deftones will continue to do what they really want to do, regardless of any other inside or outside pressures. Fuck those music critics & some people who always enjoy unproductive criticism. Keep rocking and creative as always! Deftones fucking rules!!! I’m gonna constantly support Deftones as long as the band make their music.

# Outro(3 little episodes concerning the first live)

1) When Chino introduced the members, it was quite impressive to see Stef bowed to the fans with his hands flat together just like the Buddhists or monks. Is he a Buddhist?? I don’t think so. Maybe he might see some oriental people do that and learn such a way of greeting from them. For your reference, Stef used three guitars at the first live in Korea; a white ESP guitar, a green & black plaid guitar & another all-green guitar(he mainly played this one for the songs from the first record).

2) By the time the show almost came to an end, Chino proposed to come over to the groove section of the venue and enjoy together after the show to the audience. To my surprise, there was a complete silence for a moment ‘cuz nobody answered him. What an embarrassing moment it was! I guess the fans didn’t react to Chino’s proposal ‘cuz they just thought anyone else would do that for them or just because they didn’t concentrate on what Chino said. As for me, I badly wanted to answer like this in my mind:
“Instead of enjoying the groove section, I wanna take you home, Chino!” But I didn’t have enough nerve to do that(I still feel sorry for that, Chino).

3) According to my memory, Chino danced twice throughout the show. First, he danced gently at the corner of the stage in the middle of a song. Second, suggesting to joining him in the groove section, he shook his body rhythmically. That kind of gesture was absolutely unexpected. He looked so cute to death!:)

Posted 4 years 7 months ago