Despite not having released an album in 11 years, the black clad faithful came out in droves to the Xcel Center Friday night to experience rock monsters Tool. Apparently, Tool is out there to remind us the mayhem they can unleash on any given night.
Supporting Tool was The Once And Future Band, kind of a prog rock light act based in Oakland CA. The keyboards were manned by Joel Robinow. He really has a trippy sound as he maneuvered like a wizard around his keys setup. The rest of the band are no slouches either.
Guitars had a clean, funky sound that highlighted the keys. I’m not sure what the deal was with the gorilla throwing bananas, but the band was fun to watch.
With the lights down, the two corners of the stage were lit revealing guitarist Adam Jones and bassist Justin Chancellor. Lights also illuminated drummer Danny Carey at the rear center stage. As the band launched into their opener The Grudge, Maynard James Keenan slithered out of the murk, looking like the Black Power Ranger. He planted himself on the platform stage left of the drums, in the dark, as the band pounded the audience with tunes from every album. I predict a rise in pain reliever sales this week, there was a see of banging heads across the X. The boys took us to the edge with sinister sounds and shocking videos that were both science fiction and psychedelic. Adam Jones is just a savage on guitar, his staccato rhythms and less is more leads creating an ominous atmosphere as the lasers stabbed the audience. You will have to take my word on the sick light show, we were only allowed to shoot one song. Fortunately, it was the 8+ minute The Grudge, probably the fastest 8 minuets of my life. If there has been any knock on Maynard, it’s that he sings like he’s reading from a cook book. Friday night that couldn’t be further from the truth, and the crowd sang along with Keenan with the furious Aenema, shouting “learn to swim” as the band bruised the eardrums of the masses. But few are going to a Tool show for a sing along. It’s the blend of heavy metal prog rock intimidation that draws the crowd. We were happily overpowered for 2 plus hours with killer tunes like Opiate, Aenema and Fourty-Six & 2. The only “ new” song was 2015’s Descending. The sound was breathtaking in its clarity. The lasers added an otherworldly atmosphere when mixed with the fog. Anti-rock star Keenan did address the crowd a few times, exhorting the crowd to “think they may be wrong” and question authority.
Tool showed that they can still bring the deafening destruction that brought them to the forefront of rock in the 90’s and demonstrate its relevance today.
Set List: The Grudge – Parabol – Parabola – Schism – Opiate – Aenema – Descending – Jambi – Third Eye – Forty-Six & 2 – Drum Solo – Sweat – Stinkfist