TOOL, the prog-rock-metal titans who knocked Taylor Swift out of the number one spot on the Billboard Top 100 list brought their incredible performance and light show to the Pepsi Center on October 16, 2019.
Over the years, the band’s show has evolved in some form or another. Over the last few years, the band has spread their metaphorical wings into more light show to go with the music, which is probably the best way to present their ideas, images, and feelings.
At the start of the show, there was definitely some consternation coming from the crowd, frustrated at the “No cell phones” rule that has been in place. Not only has it been in place in recent shows, for the last few years, both TOOL and A Perfect Circle have had the same strict no-phone policy. They want their audience to witness and enjoy the show, rather than live through their phones. It’s a notion that I certainly agree with.
Maynard James Keenan (vocals), sporting a wicked huge mohawk, trounced around the stage like a manic-child-on-speed, playfully romping around in between moments that his ethereal vocals provide an eerie and yet pleasant timbre to the atmosphere that band-mates Adam Jones (guitars), Justin Chancellor (bass), and Danny Carey (drums, electronics) provide.
Kicking off their set with their first single, “Fear Inoculum“, the audience not only stood up, but remained completely entranced from the moment Danny kicked off the electronic elements that open the songs. You can feel the fans ebb-and-flow throughout the entire song, singing each moment with Maynard, as if they were connecting with everyone spiritually.
Every song on the setlist was a fan-favorite, without a doubt. Don’t get me wrong, I am not meaning that it was a setlist of ‘greatest hits’, or anything like that. “Ænema“, “The Pot“, and “Parabol/Parabola“, were played back-to-back before the band embarked on another song from their latest album; “Pneuma.” Despite being a new song in the setlist, almost every fan in the stadium was singing along, knowing the lyrics, completely!
An extended jam of “Schism” was played with the music video and additional videos playing in the background, with extensive lights and lasers. “Jambi” and “Vicarious”, two major singles off of 10,000 Days were performed back-to-back before they launched into a song that hasn’t been played since ’98, “Part of Me”! This was an utter shock to me, a long-time TOOL fan, and I certainly enjoyed EVERY moment of hearing a classic from their debut Opiate EP. Following this, another classic cut “Forty Six & 2” was performed before the band took a 15 minute intermission.
When they came back, Danny’s pièce de résistance, “Chocolate Chip Trip” proved that the man is just an absolute force of nature. If you get a chance, see them perform this! To close out the show, “Invincible“, and then “(-)Ions”, and finally, the classic “Stinkfist” brought the crowd to it’s (metaphorical) knees.
I must say, this had been one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. Over the years, Maynard would hide in the shadows, but the man was full of irreverent and incredible energy. Danny’s playing was monstrous and inhuman. Justin looked like he was having the time of his life on stage, and pulling sounds out of his bass that one would not ever believe. Finally, Adam and his mastery of guitar was on point for all of us fans in the crowd.
Wow! What a show!