Well, that was as about as good as 7/4 prog-metal gets.
- Lost Keys
- Rosetta Stoned
- Forty-Six & 2
- Right In Two
That’s right, an encore in a Tool concert! Instead of leaving the stage after “Lateralus,” the band got together and sat on Maynard’s riser while the audience called for an encore! In fact, on two separate occasions, Maynard actually cupped his hand to his ear and goaded the audience into getting louder. I love Tool.
As for the show, it took me a while to get into it; the middle section almost ground to a halt, but then Danny Carey’s drum solo in “Right In Two” livened things up and the final four songs electrified the room. If you’ve seen Tool before you’ll know that the visuals are almost as important as the music itself. Tonight, they made me wish I was into acid, ‘shrooms, or any other kind of mind-altering drug; when the visual component is working, it can drag a song (“Lateralus,” for example) onto an entirely different plane of musical experience. (Speaking of drugs, you gotta love a concert where you arrive and within five seconds have people clamouring to buy “mushrooms or acid” from you. In fact, when I used the washroom later on, one of guys was actually staking it out and asking everyone who entered if they had any drugs. Good times. Back to the review!)
Ultimately, however, the music’s the thing–and Tool do what they do very well. Given my predilection for musicians who mix it up every night I’m a bit wary of a band who sticks to the same setlist; for that reason I steadfastly avoided reading anything about this current tour in order to maximize the element of surprise. Whether this worked is debatable: while some of the songs (“Forty-Six & 2” in particular) caught me off-guard it was a pretty predictable set. On that note, if I have a reservation about the Tool live experience, it’s that it’s almost too polished; watching Danny Carey drum, for instance, you’re left thinking that this isn’t a band so much as a well-oiled machine. Obviously, it works for Tool; the problem is that it works almost too well, and at times a Tool concert can feel like a well-produced concert DVD. This, I think, is why it took me a while to really get into it; it was easy to admire, but it wasn’t as easy to actually feel the show. Y’know? Once it got rolling it was impossible to stop. “Lateralus” was the show-stopper; “AEnema” was divine.