Two weeks ago my boyfriend "reminded" me that we had tickets to the second of two sold out Tool shows in San Francisco. Not realizing he had never told me about the tickets to begin with, his "reminder" was actually an invitation. I was ecstatic! I'm the kind of girl that calls a night out to the Tool show a date night. Don't get me wrong - there are no songs brimming with lovers' adoration or catchy lyrics you might possibly hear later in a pistachio commercial, but it's Tool...live. It's transcendence. It's everything.
Tool. A band with 4 amazing studio albums, the most recent of which was released eight years ago, cannot be described in mere words. Just as their performances are complete audio and visual gifts to the senses which have to be experienced first-hand to be fully comprehended. The Tuesday night show had sold out almost instantly to the die hard army of Tool fans desperately in need of a live performance from drummer Danny Carey, bassist Justin Chancellor, guitarist Adam Jones and singer Maynard James Keenan. We were part of the Wednesday night die hard crew and I couldn't have been happier to be there.
We arrived just as rock band Failure was wrapping up their set. I was able to catch the last couple of songs by the band and what I heard was really good. I was disappointed we didn't arrive earlier. Soon the house lights came back up and we made our way over to our friend who had been saving our seats. I took one long glimpse down at the eager crowd below us and instantly knew:
the energy of that sea of people + the power of Tool = roof blown off the Bill Graham Civic
I think that's the "new math" all the parents are talking about.
Tool didn't hesitate to immediately please us. They took to the stage and ripped right into "Hooker with a Penis" off of the 1996 album Ænima. The band sounded amazing - tight, well-rehearsed and loud. Maynard was hiding in the shadows - forcing us to concentrate not on the band members, but on the music and the art. The whole Tool show.
As the music continued, with songs from 10,000 Days and Lateralus, the visuals continually shifted in the background - often completely in synch with the music. From familiar images with Alex Grey artwork to lasers, confetti and fractals - it was a living, breathing visual spectactle.
Like a true theatrical performance, the Tool show had a short intermission between the first and second act. When they returned, drummer Danny Carey played a drum solo cover of King Crimson's "B’Boom" which powerfully kicked off the second half of the show. After three more songs, they closed the show "Stinkfist" and left the entire crowd begging for more.
There had been talk about Tool possibly performing all new material during this tour, and since it didn't happen on the first night - I thought it might happen at the Wednesday night show. Admittedly, I was fearing a performance of entirely all new material, and was thrilled it went my way. Not that I don't want to hear new music from Tool. I'm ready for it, I think we all are. I was just not quite ready for it live. There wasn't a moment of this show I didn't enjoy.
Hooker With a Penis
Drum Solo: B’Boom
Forty-six and Two
A sweet mid-week date in San Francisco with two Tools. Who could ask for more?