Monday night at the intimate Plaza Live in downtown Orlando, I decided to go and see Korn’s front man Jonathan Davis, at the last minute. When I arrived. I immediately noticed the theater had been cleared of the isles of seats. The floor was general admission and wide open, much like forty years ago when I started attending concerts. I felt at home, nostalgic and anxious for the show to begin. This was going to be a fun night!
Jonathan Davis’ tour proceeds the May 25, 2018 release of his debut solo album, “Black Labyrinth” As Davis put it, “I am doing it the old fashion way, letting my fans hear the new album before it’s released.” The stage was lit with a red glow. If Jonathan Davis performs his solo shows with the same energy and swagger as he delivers to his Korn audiences, this was going to be a great concert. The set included 11 new songs on the soon to be released “Black Labyrinth” on Sumerian Records. With an additional 4 songs from the 2007 album “Alone I Play” recorded by “Jonathan Davis and the SFA”, which contained songs written for the movie “Queen of The Damned”. He performed “Forsaken” from the movie soundtrack on the third song, symbolistic possibly to the photographers that had to exit the photography pit at the end of the third song.
Jonathan’s latest album was written over the past 11 years during his down time while recording and touring with Korn. The common theme of “Black Labyrinth” is of inner personal struggles and outward rage of societal ills. The mood was dark, and the audience reacted to each word as if their existence were alive in each lyric and Jonathan Davis knew them, and how they felt deep inside. While listening to the message of each song, I found myself reflecting on my own experiences.
The point of this tour resembles unlocking the Ganzfeld Experiment. Davis is trying to provoke thought and emotion with song titles “Under My Skin”, “Forsaken”, “What You Believe”, “Final Days”, “Basic Needs”, “Your God”, “Medicate”, “System”, and “Happiness”. All topics of individual inner conflicts.
“During the experiment, some people see shit, some people have out-of-body experiences, and some people think there’s someone else in the room,” he goes on. “To me, it shows there’s something else out there other than religion, consumerism, and all of that. There’s a level of enlightenment I want to achieve. With all of the bullshit going, everyone is stuck on their fucking cell phones. This takes us way out of that.”
There was clearly more happening in the room than just an artist performing music and entertaining fans. Jonathan’s album title, the lyrics, and the show experience are defined within the album title. The definition of Black “of the very darkest color owing to the absence of or complete absorption of light; the opposite of white” and a Labyrinth, “a complicated irregular network of passages or paths in which it is difficult to find one's way; a maze.”
If you get a chance to see Jonathan Davis’ “Black Labyrinth” tour, be prepared for a deep and emotional experience, try not to get lost.