July 19, 2010
Tool fans exhibit militant devotion. Even the official fan club is denoted as the Tool Army. What would stimulate such rabid fanaticism? Ask anyone who has witnessed Tool live and they will state it is their sensory assaulting live performances. Even though their last album was released in 2006, Tool easily sold out two nights at the Nokia Theater. In an age of short attention spans and disposable bands, it is no wonder that Tool is going on 20 years strong.
Slithering in the shadows, Maynard James Keenan was decked out in a police officers outfit complete with a baton using a microphone attached to a megaphone for the distorted vocals of "Third Eye." While each musician in Tool offers their unique abilities, the summation of their talents and chemistry is undeniable.
Adam Jones stepped up to the microphone to unleash a demonic talkbox guitar solo for "Jambi" while the band played flawlessly behind him. Danny Carey was surgically slicing his drums apart all evening with his hi-hat strategically placed directly in front of him to accommodate his ambidextrous drumming abilities.
Crackling static gave way to crushing detuned riff of "Stinkfist" as the disturbing visuals of the video floated on screens surrounding them. Moody passages of synthesizers devolved into the odd time signature of "Vicarious" with Keenan moving his hand like a mouth to inspire the crowd to scream at the ending of the song.
After a joke about the movie "Back To The Future," Tool went deep into their past by playing "Intolerance" from their 1993 album Undertow. Justin Chancellor forms the backbone of "Schism" with its all over the fretboard bass line. After taking a peak at prior setlists from other shows locally, most Tool fans were surprised to hear the rumbling riff of "The Pot" which also features some fancy fretwork by Chancellor who made his bass sound like a missile launcher.
"Lateralus" was extra noisy as the members of the opening band Dalek added washes of static and feedback to the drum flourishes of Carey. Keenan dedicated his brand of Arizona wine to the "Politically savvy throughly informed hollywood types," "Aenema" closed the book on Tool's tour. Hopefully, the next time Tool hits the road, it will be to support a new album.
Personal Bias: My best story about Tool is when I used a fake ID to see them at a strip club in Anaheim called "California Dreams" in 1993 around the release of Undertow.
The Crowd: Apparently, one can wear a Tool shirt at their concert without being "that guy."
Overheard in the Crowd: Multiple chants of "Tool!" came from the inebriated portion of the crowd. Just in case you forgot who you came to see.
Random Notebook Dump: Adam Jones was one of the first guitarists that I spotted to use Diezel amplifiers back in 1996. Within the past few years, Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins and Matt Bellamy of Muse have also started to use Diezel amplifiers.
My Tool photopass had Arabic writing on it which translated means "Infidel." What are they trying to tell me?
"Eon Blue Apocalypse"