I have just returned (yesterday) from Sonisphere music festival, (metal and rock music), it was a good weekend but it also included one of the most eerie and beautiful moments I have been involved in. One of the headline acts Slipknot lost one of their band members last year Paul Gray (known as #2) from an 'accidental overdose'. As such the festival organisers agreed to a two minutes silence on the Sunday afternoon. Here's a video of it, the song playing before that is their own 'Vermilion Part 2':
I know from personal experience that Slipknot have often been criticized/looked down on, I know even in alternative circles, especially early on, there has been known to be a bit of a stigma about being a Slipknot fan. It was because of this that I took longer than I should have done/lots of my current friends did to get into them - in fact I didn't really acknowledge that I liked them until I met my current friends (every song I had heard I'd liked but for some reason that wasn't enough to get into them). The stigma is probably just from their outfits, matched with metal music. I can see why the masks might put people off and I understand that not everyone likes metal as well as their use of language, however once you look past this there is a band that really care about each other and the fans care too. They are different, they may have wanted to upset the established order but for me metal represents a voice for people who don't feel that they are understood by the mainstream and gives them the opportunity to just be themselves without being judged. For me Slipknot, irrespective of their 'hidden' identities, help to provide that voice and show that you can be who you want to be.
I was one of those in that crowd with my arm aloft, devil horns to the air in total silence for the full 2 minutes. The devil horns may seem weird from the outside but it was a mark of respect which I'm sure he would have appreciated. There was hardly a noise to be heard, quite a feat considering there was around 60,000 fans, five stages of music, a fun fair, bars and numerous stores. I know not everyone was thinking about Paul Gray, metal has lost a lot of it's most influential people recently (for example Ronnie James Dio and for many 'Dimebag Darell's death is still fresh in the mind) but on top of that it was a time to think about other people who have touched our lives and been lost. In their show later Slipknot did refer to everyone as their family and strange as it may seem they in so many ways are right. Their set was incredible and I had an awesome weekend all round - got to see 29 (mostly) awesome bands and spent plenty of quality time with friends but long after those memories fade I am certain I'll remember those two minutes of silence and how it felt to be there.
Rest in piece Paul and everyone else who has been taken too soon.