“Guys, guys, guys read this quick I think Tool’s been cancelled!”
Various vulgarities and words of eclectic confusion catapulted from the mouths of my friends.
“URGENT: ADELAIDE TOOL CONCERT POSTPONED FROM TONIGHT TO TOMORROW NIGHT WED 1 MAY
The Frontier Touring Company regret to advise that we have just been notified that Tool’s Adelaide’s performance scheduled for this evening has been postponed to tomorrow, Wednesday 1 May.” read my friend from his smartphone, confirming the icky feeling of disbelief we held in our stomachs.
I had been mid way through celebrating a before-Tool party, in full throttle, when an hour and a half before the concert was in line to begin it was postponed to the next day, as front man Maynard James Keenan was advised by doctors not to perform that night; and so forth our before-Tool party blossomed into a before-before-Tool party.
24 hours later I’m in my friend Will Plagakis’ car, who just so happens to be the leader singer of local Adelaide band Love Cream. I’ll be reviewing their debut LP soon enough, and he had just arrived home from interstate recording it.
The point is he was kind enough to give me two free tickets surplus, being too tired to attend the show himself. Now I was able to bring two of my close friends along.
Flippin’ kudos Will!
With my friends in tow we piled into the Entertainment Centre and into the general admission area. As we did so the lights dimmed and then darkened, smoke poured out of the two machines each side of the stage and every pair of hands went up into the air, yelling and cheering, Danny Carey appeared on the stage, and took to the throne behind his monstrous symmetrical drum kit, followed by Adam Jones and Justin Chancellor soon after, and finally Maynard.
The band opened with Vicarious, which at the time I thought was a rather slow paced song to begin with, but as they played through the rest of their set I realised it was more of an ingenious sequencing choice than anything.
The multimedia presentation behind the band was great, and definitely sure to send a few of the ‘influenced’ members of the crowd into a cacophonous spiral. Great as it was I felt the Adelaide Entertainment centres gear wasn’t able to do the presentation as much justice as it deserved – but that’s just my opinion.
Opiate nicely riled the crowd with some of the heaviest moments early on in the show. Being from a very heavy metal background I have the best time at shows when crowds are going right off. Tool most definitely isn’t that kind of show and I acknowledge that but I definitely felt the need to migrate into the centre, where the diehards and drunks were absolutely loosing their mustard. But as it was I felt bad pushing through and awaited a better time.
Maynards punishing scream of “To rape you!” was fantastically on the mark, and Danny Carey’s precision drumming was mental, leading into the cult hidden track The Gaping Lotus Experience.
Schism worked extremely well as the third song of the set and it was one of my favourite tracks of the night. Danny Carey’s drumming was particularly exemplary; making ridiculously technical use of his centre set high hat (Sorry, I’m a drummer, I will tend to talk about drums more than guitar or bass and when talking about the latter just go on about tones and how it sounded good when he strummed the thingy).
Pushit was ridiculously epic, and it was quickly becoming clear that a Tool concert just gets better and better with each coming song and I was beginning to understand that the slower beginning was working it’s way towards an extremely climactic second half and finale to the concert. At this point the laser show was utilizing these wicked wide beam laser lights that looked like floating ejected bronze ore pooling over Justin Chancellor.
I also lost my nut in the songs breakdown.
The percussion intro in Intension was nicely ambient, but it can be said that as a premier progressive and psychedelic band that not all human beings can handle the beast that is Tool. Some bloke nearby to me fainted and some others and me went to help him up, only for him to jump up again. We thought that was the end of it only for to fall straight back to the ground, and be collected by police officers.
Don’t do drugs kids.
Lateralus most definitely heralded the most wicked multimedia of the evening, and it was absolutely mesmerising to watch, as well as be a part of.
A 10 minute interval marked by an on screen countdown allowed my two friends and I an opportunity to get closer to the front as people filed out for a quick cigarette. I was able to catch up with a larger group of friends including my older brother, and it made for a great way to spend the closing half of the show.
And boy was it a (struggling for a worthy word here) fantastic second half, with the band exploding into Jambi. I may well make mention that I think Tool sounds leagues and leagues better live than on record, which is a beautiful thing – to go to a show and hear songs you love and cherish in a way you never have that also infinitely more satisfying. And man;
As Adam Jones pumped out Jambi’s wicked breakdown the crowd reached its plateaued peak, where it stayed at the rest of the evening. The chemistry between the band members was metaphysical and the crowd was one sea in motion as the lasers washed over each individual. It all reminded me of that rave scene in The Matrix Reloaded where Keanu Reeves and that forgettable female support actress do it in a cave…
Okay I think I’m getting off track.
Forty-Six & 2! The intro to this song is enough to get anyone stoked and ready to go, let alone a crowd of salivating Tool fans. The anticipation to that opening tom roll, and the progression of the low lying riff as Maynard’s voice creeps up to a scream is nothing short of breathtaking.
Somewhere in the set Danny Carey – who I consider the front man of the band in terms of stage presence, performed a gobsmacking drum solo, by self programming a synth to play hypnotic trance music and played along to it. I forgot where exactly in the set the drum solo was situated, but I definitely had to make mention of it!
With minimal to no breathing time between songs the crushing opening riff brought forth Ænima, which induced the greatest crowd engagement, with the entire crowd singing the chorus, which is too explicit to quote here. Sometimes during the set I would simply stand there and be still, and breathe deeply in and out, letting the music truly flow through me, feeling the vibrations of the extreme decibel level in a concert setting. It’s a quite contrasting and humbling experience as opposed to dancing or moshing.
Stinkfist created the eclectic climax of the entire night, and as a last chance to dance the crowd sure did use the time wisely and it was most definitely the highlight of the night for me.
Seeing Tool is an experience unto itself, and I can say that one of the friends I brought along with my extra ticket hadn’t ever listened to Tool prior and she extremely enjoyed herself. I just feel sorry that she is going to go back and listen to the recorded material and it won’t come close to comparing to their concert.
There’s one copy of Tool’s Opiate on vinyl left in store. Be the lucky blighter to buy it! I’ll be dropping a review of it later this week.