I’ve been haunted by this blank page for 24+ hours now, trying to summon the words to describe exactly what I experienced last Thursday night, and it’s a struggle. I had exceedingly high expectations of seeing Tool live (after waiting nearly 6 years), and they blew every one of them out of the water. Hell, out of this world. For almost two hours, I was in the presence of musical greatness.
With the opening bars of “Hooker With A Penis”, a thunderous wall of sound hit me like a ten-tonne fist, right to the solar plexus. I liken it to the scene in Indiana Jones, when the light of the Ark burns a hole through everyone present. Except my face didn’t melt off. I just planted my feet and let the music flow through me. I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything better. Except maybe, the climax of “Stinkfist”. Witnessing that live, feeling it wash over me, wave after wave, was near-orgasmic. Their music, and the energy it carries, (if you let it) gets under your skin, into your bloodstream. It’s primal, visceral, vibrating at an energetic frequency that cleanses and heals. Kind of like meditating, and as such, this was the best meditation I’ve ever done. I left the venue feeling lighter, brighter, like all 7 of my chakras had been power washed with a fire hose. This was the best live experience I have ever had. (And I’ve had a lot!)
As Adam Jones (guitar) bulldozed his way into “Jambi”, I was finally able to focus my attention on drummer Danny Carey. Seeing him drum live has been on my bucket list for a while now, and he did not disappoint. I have come to the conclusion that he is not of this world. Higher Being? Maybe. Extra-terrestrial? Hell, I’d even buy that. But human? No way. No mortal could possibly drum like that. He was un-fucking-believable. His time signatures alone defy logic. And the drum-off between himself and the two drummers from opening band Intronaut was pure ear candy. I need to send a little love to Justin Chancellor as well, whose gritty, grumbly bass lines traveled up my legs and went right to my pelvis. Thank you very much!
Maynard‘s vocals were bang on and, as usual, he spent the entire show lurking in the shadows, sporting mohawk and shades. He is so adverse to being in the limelight, he didn’t even take the stage at show-end with the rest of the guys. He said ‘Thanks’ and gave a wave, as “Ænema” came crashing to a close, and disappeared down the back stairs. While some may view this behavior as cocky, and self-absorbed, I’ve recently read a few things about Maynard that shines a different light on his behaviour. He considers himself a dumb-ass and that he really doesn’t have anything that important to say. Not like, for example, Stephen Hawking. Maybe not, in the grand scheme of the Universe Mr. Keenan, but your words carry the ability to alter our perspectives, about ourselves and the world around us. And I happen to think that is pretty important.
Visually, the show was phenomenal, in true Tool fashion. What senses they didn’t captivate wholly with their sound, they bombarded with the LED video screens. Lights, lasers, and new stop-motion shorts by Adam Jones added to the deliciously eerie atmosphere, not to mention the stunning, sometimes animated, artwork of Alex Grey. Third Eye’s were in abundance, as was his famous ‘skinless human’ with energy points pulsing. I had heard in the past, that Tool shows could be boring affairs, but I’m glad to say that to me, the boys appeared to have pulled out all the stops. Those two hours felt like they flew by in 2 minutes.
I now understand why they are so reluctant to release any of their live performances on DVD. Nothing could ever come close to actually being there, bathing in the energy of their music, and I look forward to the opportunity when that can happen again.
January 30th , 2012
Hooker With A Penis
Ticks & Leeches
Schism (extended intro)
Forty Six & 2