To say that I got lucky being able to purchase face value Tool tickets off of the Ticketmaster site the moment they went on sale is an understatement. When Tool played Orlando a couple of years ago I was not as lucky. They are a band that sells out their concerts literally within minutes of tickets going on sale and just like last time, as soon as this show sold out the third-party ticket resellers had tickets for hundreds of dollars more than what they were just minutes ago. After having attended over one hundred and fifty concerts in my life, this was going to be my first time seeing Tool. The venue was over two hours away and the show was on a work night but that was not going to stop me and my three compadres who were also in for their first ever Tool show.
The band 3Teeth was the opening act and while the crowd was not even half full for their set they put on a great show for those who were able to see them. They sound like a mix of Marilyn Manson, Rammstein and Nine Inch Nails rolled into one – I am a fan of the industrial metal sound so I found their set to be entertaining and definitely worth giving them a listen to after the show as I was not familiar with them going in. Primus then came out to a nearly full house and started right into their groovy thrash funk – their musical style is difficult to define and to me their sound is one that you either love or dislike. For me, it is fascinating to watch bassist Les Claypool interact with his different instruments and the crowd. This band is amazing to see live the way videos displayed up behind the band are incorporated into their set that goes along perfectly and psychedelically with the music. A musical and visual treat!
Anyone who is unfamiliar with Tool would find it odd at a live show how their lead singer, Maynard James Keenan, doesn’t take center stage to perform. Instead he prefers to blend into the shadows off to the side near the back of the drum kit, and many times does not even face the crowd as he performs. Diehard Tool fans are aware of his social anxieties, that the songs are a personal odyssey for him and he does not like being on stage when he’s trying to reproduce the feelings that went into creating and recording this music with the same emotion in front of a live audience. The band opened with a cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘No Quarter’ and my seat was close enough as soon as that first snare drum hit I could feel the thump going through my chest. The sound crew had the band one hundred percent dialed in, they sounded amazing through every song that they played, each note was crisp and clear, and the crowd soaked in every bit, many singing along word for word to each song.
With no one front and center on the stage it is clear that their live performances are purely about the music and not about any one member of the band. I was completely blown away by how incredible I felt the experience was, with the band incorporating videos and adding in laser lights for effect completely immersing the crowd in a spectacular visual journey to go along with the bone crushing crystal clear sound of their musical and lyrical brilliance. The other members of Tool are Adam Jones on guitar, Justin Chancellor on bass, and Danny Carey on drums – each equally a musical virtuoso, and combined they are an amazing band to see live. My friends and I certainly had animated conversation on that long ride home, with each of us having different highlights of the show, having seen various odd characters at the venue and of course just how awesome of a show we all had just experienced.
If you are a Tool fan and have never seen them I highly urge you to find a way to do so. They are a three-time Grammy winning band and they have an extremely devout following of fans, as their music and lyrics resonate deeply to many people. Since they do not tour very much I know their tickets are either hard to come by or exorbitantly expensive on the reseller market, but my one experience seeing them live was phenomenal, easily up there near the top of all of the shows I have ever seen, and certainly one of the best for sound quality. I absolutely will be playing the luck of the Ticketmaster draw if and when they do come back around my area for another show. \m/
Tool’s set list:
No Quarter (Led Zeppelin cover)
Opiate (New extended version)
Forty-Six & 2