Think for yourself, question authority… so the show began at the sold out packed to the rafters Sprint Center on Friday night in Kansas City. The energy level went through the roof as the Los Angeles-based progressive metal band opened with a small video segment of that phrase being repeated as the band came to the stage. They ripped into the thirteen minute “Third Eye” from their 1996 release Ænima. On an evening when the setlist would feature tracks primarily from that era forward.
Case in point “Third Eye” was followed by “Jambi” from 2006’s 10,000 Days. The band seemed to be taking a back seat to the visuals that I presume guitarist Adam Jones created for the show. Some of it was from the music videos played while others I had never personally seen before. The stage was wide and pretty stark. Vocalist Maynard James Keenan spent the evening in the shadows on the back left of the stage behind Jones and next to Paola, KS native and drummer Danny Carey. Bassist Justin Chancellor was the lone one on the far right side of the stage from my vantage point. The band played with a purpose and was on point all night long. There was nary a divergence from one song to the next. The most that was added between songs was when Keenan stated that “everything was going to work out…” after “Third Eye.” Later in the set he would ask those in the audience under the age of twenty to raise their hands, only to then point out that none of them had been born when “Intolerance” from 1993’s Undertow was written as the band ripped into it.
With the band taking a back seat to the visuals they impressed. The stage was flanked by two projection screens that played most the same visuals as the large LCD wall behind the band. There were also a couple of the stealth led screens that would drop down from above during various songs to add additional imagery. The screens seemed to be able to go from floor to ceiling, and any angle in-between creating some pretty cool imagery. Mix in a heavy dosage of lasers, this is a show that had a supplemental light rig back at the sound board to give you a taste of how various images and effects would envelop the darkened arena during the show. Tool’s music alone can create thrilling images in one’s mind by just closing your eyes and just listening. Thankfully the show they brought with them was just as, if not more so compelling.
The Tool army is strong, I was impressed with the band’s fans packing the Sprint Center to the very top considering how long it’s been since they have produced anything new. Having heard the music again for the fist time in a couple years it still sounds as fresh and relevant now as it did then.
If I had any complaints about last night’s show it would have to do with the venue. Security was prevalent patrolling almost as hardcore as a private military contractor. I had a flashlight shone in my face for standing with my arms crossed at one point, no joke, it was ridiculous. I missed the opener WovenHand due to the ridiculous lines that were nearly wrapping around the block so I could pass through a metal detector to get into the arena. This is the first show I have taken in at Sprint Center and I wasn’t impressed at all. I thought this was supposed to be our new “state of the art” facility with uncrowded concourses and the like? I encountered none of that last night. Rant off but I had to get that out there.
Back to the band and their show which had no control over the preceding. For those of you that are Tool fans and didn’t get on getting a ticket quick enough you missed a great show. This is about as close to, if not as perfect as they get. I hadn’t felt a thrill at a show like I did last night since the last time I saw Nine Inch Nails live. Which leads me to question with bands like Nine Inch Nails putting their touring days behind them I wonder how much longer counter parts like theirs in Tool will continue to do this. At the end of the show the band left the stage in what to me felt very much like a fare well. I don’t think that this is any kind of fare well tour or show, I wouldn’t expect a band like Tool to make such claims, but for all intents and purposes this felt like one. If it were, or even the last time they should ever play Kansas City they did a hell of a job closing it out.
Eon Blue Apocalypse
Forty-Six & 2
I give Tool at Sprint Center 5 “I’ve gone Postal drinking Caduceus wine(s)” out of 5
By John Coovert