By Max Stewart & Porter Byers
For the uninitiated, Tool may seem to be lumped in with a lot of pseudo post-grunge rock bands of the Nineties. To their legions of fans and anyone who has had the opportunity to see them perform, Tool is without fail a captivating and mesmerizing live powerhouse and in a category all of their own. The first time we saw them perform was at Bonnaroo 2007, headlining on Saturday and sandwiched between Friday headliners The Police and Sunday’s Widespread Panic. Certainly a different flavor of headliner to take the main stage, and it was after this moment that we completely bought into the Tool hype. Seeing their awe-inspiring performance in an arena in D.C. left us with that same feeling. This band still has an ability to draw you into their sludgy and psychedelic concert experience in an almost hypnotic fashion.
Maynard James Keenan (Vocals), Adam Jones (Guitarist), Justin Chancellor (Bass), and Danny Carey (Drums) are truly masters of their craft. Every single note is accounted for. And even the visuals and stage arrangement is a full musical immersion (Jones is an artist and started his career in the art departments for many blockbuster movies like Jurassic Park). It is quite clear the band has hit their stride in their 32nd year after the release of the highly anticipated Fear Innoculum. The new album was well-represented throughout the night and bookended the evening with the band starting with “Fear Inoculum” and ending the encore with “Invincible.” The set featured many tunes throughout multiple phases of the band, and tunes like “Opiate”, “The Pot”, and “Hooker With a Penis” were some of the many high water marks of the evening.
We cannot think of another band that puts as much thought and preparation into their live performance as Tool. The show was interactive, with their musical talent in perfect harmony with their visual art. Tool has not lost any edge in their third decade of making music and we look forward to many more years of them on the road.