TOOL Replenish Fans with Long Awaited Performance in Denver

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TOOL Replenish Fans with Long Awaited Performance in Denver

Jake Tharan, Entertainment Editor

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The extended exhalation of breath took place in Denver on October 26th upon the long awaited return of Tool to Denver.

The Pepsi Center became hallowed ground for thousands of Tool fans eager to witness the band perform their overdue set in the Mile High City.  Fans donning faded, cherished Tool t-shirts flocked before the doors to gain entry to the sold-out venue.  Let us not sell this short; this was perhaps the most anticipated concert of the year as dedicated Tool hordes lingered away the 5+ years since Tool’s last performance in Colorado.  The uncertainty of when or even if they would return provoked an insatiable hunger that could only be quenched by a live show.

Tool acolytes stuffed themselves into the seats of the arena until no space was left unoccupied.  Aisles began to clear as the spectators scurried about like a colony of ants to reach their viewing position before the show commenced.  Seated fans had already launched into excited conversation with one another with the often asked starting question being; “How many times have you seen Tool?” The most pervasive phrase throughout the building was simply, “I cannot wait.”

Out go the house lights and out comes the emphatic screams reverberating throughout the Pepsi Center.  A heartbeat adopted cadence over the speakers, signifying the intro to the opening song “Third Eye.”  A quick glance around the venue revealed that hardly any bodies were rummaging around: all eyes had fallen upon the stage, all persons became immobile.  The shouts from the mouths of the audience expressed mirth and ecstatic relief that Tool was finally playing a song before their eyes.

The band supplemented fans with transcendent performances of songs like “The Grudge” and “Parabola.”  The first words out of vocalist Maynard James Keenan’s mouth other than lyrics to a song were, “Go Broncos.”  The audience responded with a barrage of cheers to which MJK replied, “That was too easy.”  Tool makes executing their complex, spirited songs look ‘too easy.’

Tool crafted a choice set list filled with some of the band’s biggest songs as well as expressive musical interludes.  Guitarist Adam Jones’s intricate verse work tangled with bassist Justin Chancellor’s odd timing, giving fans an impressive musical interplay.  Jones’s multifaceted playing displays alternating techniques on songs like “Jambi” and “Forty Six & 2,” captivating the audience.  Justin Chancellor wields his unmistakable lines and tone shifts on the signature song “Schism,” while MJK transitions from utterly solemn to gnashing vocals on the fan favorite, “Ænema.”  Drummer Danny Carey’s polyrhythmic attack rounds out the unreal live sound of Tool.

The music coupled with the mesmerizing visuals of Tool’s live show is something to marvel at.  Multiple screens and projectors showed Tool’s bizarre, avant-garde videos and animations.  Their light show featured every color imaginable as they danced all around the interior of the venue, creating awe-inspiring designs.  Fans delighted in losing themselves in the lights and sounds, especially on songs like “Opiate” and the aforementioned songs “Schism” and “Ænema.” The latter drew many a middle finger and arms thrown wildly through the air.  A secluded Maynard kept himself stage-right next to Carey’s drum set, keeping himself away from the light and never entering the forefront of the stage once.  Engaging in strange ‘dances’ away from plain sight; he invokes a sort of mystique from the audience.

Tool’s live show feels like a true experience.  It is fulfilling and leaves nothing to be desired from the band (accept maybe a performance of “Vicarious” or “Sober,” in this case).  I digress; their performance is something that cannot be expressed through vestiges of any sort as one must be in attendance to truly witness such an event.  The response to the band closing the set with the song “Stinkfist” was tremendous: heads banging, bodies flailing, fists pumping and the ground shaking.  This was a memorable night for music fans to stay to the very end.