If you are a Tool fan and reading this, let me just get this out there right away. I am not a Tool fan. I don’t dislike them, but I’m not into them either. If I’m being honest, I think all of their songs sound the same. Plus, I can’t understand any of the words Maynard is singing, so I just don’t connect with the music.
But when Tool announced they were going on tour in support of their Fear Inoculum album, I knew we would go. First, my husband is a fan of Tool. Second, I knew that Tool concerts were something you had to experience. Plus, Tool doesn’t tour very often, so you never know when it’s your last chance to see an iconic band. I mean, my mantra is #justbuythetickets!
Tool put on a fantastic show! I’m so glad I went!
So, I made sure I had my trusty Vibes ear plugs (click on the link to buy your own!) so that my ears wouldn’t ring for days, and I went to see Tool for the first time.
What did I think? Am I a fan now? And how do I write a blog post when you aren’t allowed to take pictures or video? Keep reading to find out!
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ABOUT THE ARTIST
If you are like me, you probably never heard of the band Killing Joke. But, they have been around for a long time and have influenced tons of bands that you probably have heard of, like Metallica and Nine Inch Nails.
Killing Joke was formed in London in 1978 with original members Jaz Coleman (vocals/keyboards), Paul Ferguson (drums), Geordie Walker (guitar) and Youth (bass).
The band’s first EP – Turn To Red – was released in 1979. At the time, Killing Joke’s sound was described as a blend of punk, funk and dub reggae. By the time their debut album – Killing Joke – came out in 1980, the band had changed into more of a heavy metal sound.
Like many bands in their genre, Killing Joke gained a lot of their early attention because of controversy. Specifically, some of the imagery they used on both their records and their live shows was both bizarre and offensive to some people.
By the early to mid-eighties, Killing Joke started to have some commercial success with albums like Fire Dances and Night Time. In 1987, Coleman decided to record a solo album. However, recording the album proved to be disastrous. With mounting costs, the record label insisted the album be changed to a Killing Joke album. The whole thing resulted in major tension in the band and an album – Outside the Gate – that was a critical and commercial bust.
In the 90’s, Killing Joke tried to rejuvenate the band by bringing in some different members. The albums Pandemonium and Democracy were released during that time. However, after the release of Democracy, Killing Joke decided to go on an extended hiatus.
After more turmoil in the early 2000’s, the original line up of Killing Joke reunited in 2008 and are still back together today. Since their resurrection, the band has recorded several albums including the 2015 release – Pylon.
Killing Joke took the stage at 7:30 p.m. What can I say about Killing Joke’s music? It’s loud! The kind of loud where you feel the bass in your chest.
Because I’m not really into heavy metal at all, it’s hard for me to say whether Killing Joke was good or not good. If you are into pounding, head banging music for 40 minutes, then this was for you. If not, you probably should skip seeing Killing Joke.
Personally, I had a hard time getting into their set. When I see an opener I don’t know, I look around at the crowd to see if others are into the music. Honestly, it didn’t look like too many people were impressed.
Killing Joke opening for Tool!
But, you have to give credit where credit is due. Killing Joke has influenced a ton of bands and has a lot of well-respected rock musicians that are big fans. So, I will just admit that I must be missing something!
Killing Joke has a few more dates supporting Tool. Check out their website for more info!
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Tool was formed in Los Angeles in 1990. The band was made up of Maynard James Keenan (vocals), Danny Carey (drums), Adam Jones (guitar) and Paul D’Amour (bass). In 1995, D’Amour amicably left the band and was replaced by current bassist Justin Chancellor.
Tool is arguably one of the most successful heavy metal bands in the world. They’ve won three Grammy’s and sold over 13 million albums in the U.S.
The band released their first EP – Opiate – in 1992. By 1993, Tool released their first album – Undertow – and started building a following as people saw them perform live. In fact, the band was part of Lollapalooza that year, and was eventually moved from the second stage to the main stage due to their popularity.
In 1996, Tool released their second album – AEnima – which went triple platinum. While the band had started to grow a following based on their live shows, they struggled with gaining any sort of mainstream commercial success. This was mostly due to the fact that their music was often censored and not played on any mainstream outlets, like radio or MTV, because of the lyrics of their songs.
Part of the mystique of Tool, is that their album releases are far and few between. Keenan has multiple side projects including A Perfect Circle and Puscifer. After the 1996 release of AEnima, the next Tool album didn’t come until 2001 with Lateralus, followed by the 2006 release of 10,000 Days.
The gap until the release of Tool’s next (and most recent) album – Fear Inoculum – was even longer. In fact, the anticipated release date of the album became a joke with Tool fans. The band first mentioned that they were recording a new album in 2013. For the next several years, various members of the band continued to tease the album.
Finally, in July of 2019, Keenan announced the name of the album and that it would be released soon. Fear Inoculum was released on August 30, 2019 and had huge success, including a Grammy nomination. Tool is currently on tour supporting the new album.
Tool took the stage at about 8:45 p.m. A sheer curtain wrapped the entire stage. The band took their usual positions – Jones and Chancellor up front on each side, Carey in the center elevated with his drum kit, and Keenan in the shadows in the back splitting time between elevated platforms on each side of the stage.
The stage set up for Tool.
Tool shows have always been as much about the visuals as the music. Videos – including some that are a bit disturbing – play on the big screen throughout the show. Lights and lasers are choreographed to go along with the music.
Unlike most bands, Tool is not about front man Maynard James Keenan. In fact, it’s less about Keenan than anything else. Because our seats were in the lower level on the side, we had a great view of Keenan throughout the night. However, he clearly wants to be heard and not seen.
Maynard split time between our side of the stage and the other side on the elevated platform in the back.
While I may not be a fan of Tool’s music, there is no denying that every member of this band is talented. Chancellor will blow you away on the bass. Jones rips on the guitar. As for Carey, there are no words. He plays the drums so hard, that his drum tech sits directly behind him during the show. In fact, at one point I watched the drum tech replace a head on one of his drums on the spot.
One of the things you need to know if you go to a Tool show, is you are not permitted to take pictures or video. This is a “Maynard thing”, as we experienced something similar went we went to see A Perfect Circle.
Everyone took their cameras out for the last song.
The policy at the Tool show was not as strict. You were allowed to take your phone out, but just couldn’t take pictures or video. Before starting the last song, Keenan announced to the crowd that he knew our pockets were burning and we were dying to get our phones out. So, everyone was permitted to take pictures and video during the last song.
So did this show turn me into a Tool fan? Nope. But I have to admit that I was impressed. The overall visual experience was impressive, which I expected. What I didn’t expect was how tight these guys were up on stage and how good they were live. Yes, the songs all sounded the same and I honestly couldn’t tell when one song ended and another began at times. But, I appreciated the talent of Tool for sure!
Tool fans showing their gratitude for an amazing show!
Set List (click on any title to purchase the song on Amazon): Fear Inoculum, AEnima, Parabol, Parabola, Pneuma, Schism, Jambi, Vicarious, Swamp Song, Descending, Forty Six & 2 Encore: Chocolate Chip Trip, Invincible, Stinkfist
Tool is wrapping up this portion of their tour this month. They will be back with more shows in January. Check their website for more info.
Are you a fan of Tool? Have you seen them live? Let us know! Comment below or e-mail me at email@example.com.
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