US - California - Full Moon 58 - 07/05/01
Brixton Academy, London, UK, 12.06.01
Support band: Cortizone
Every once in a while, there comes along a band where the band members are so mentally and
spiritually in tune with each other that the resulting music is easily categorised as classic,
groundbreaking stuff. One such band is Tool. Just listen to this year's brilliant Lateralus.
If a band that can project that much emotion onto a CD, what's it like to be in the same room with
them when they play?
Of course, before hearing the main attraction, there is the opening band, which was Cortizone.
I can't really say anything in particular about them, the music was just so ordinary, it was forgotten
as soon as they left the stage. A pity, really, the band members seemed to work very hard, but the
time they spent on stage would have been better spent letting Tool play an extended set.
Finally, the band walked on stage to the sounds of a Robert Fripp soundscape, and with
drummer Danny Carey simply counting to four with his sticks, they launched into The Grudge,
the opening track from Lateralus. The band was spot on from the first note, hitting the
audience on the nose with those hard and odd rhythms that is their specialty.
In keeping with the band's unconventional take on rock music, the stage setup was also different
from what bands usually do. The drums, rather than being set up in the middle of the stage, was
slightly to one side, angled towards the front and center of the stage. There was also a riser for
singer Maynard James Keenan angled in a similar way, with guitarist Adam Jones and bassist Justin
Chancellor in front of the singer and drum platforms. In the back was a huge screen for video
projection, and a smaller screen directly behind the singer, showing a mirror image of what was on
the big screen.
The band kept a relentless pace throughout the show, playing tracks from all their albums, including
Swamp Song, Eulogy, Opiate and their classic breakthrough hit Sober.
About two thirds through the show, they took a break while they showed the video for Schism on
the big screen. This is another classic video from Tool, with Adam Jones seemingly going berserk in
the workshop of his former employer, Stan Winston (Hollywood special effects guru). After the video,
the band hit the stage again. Keenan announced that they were going to perform a song live for the
first time, adding to his bandmates 'nothing like a little pressure, eh, guys?' The song was
The Patient, and the performance was flawless.
Finally, Keenan announced the final song of the evening, telling the audience 'whatever
you're feeling right now, we hope that you can take it with you and turn it into something positive.'
Then they began playing the title track from "Lateralus", a tribute to creativity and positive
thinking, and a great alternative to the negative sounding metal/hard rock of today.
With that, one of the most brilliant concerts this reviewer has ever seen came to a close,
leaving me dazed and confused to contemplate what I had witnessed for a long time afterwards.
Copyright © 2001 Kentil'zha