Releasing an album, on average, every five years, touring only in support of said album, and then disappearing for several years is Tool's modus operandi. So, when 10,000 Days came out in May, and Tool did a small venue tour (for which tickets were ridiculously hard to come by) before starting the arena tour, Tool fans were chomping at the bit.
Last night's show was, for most DC area fans, the big night, the chance to see Tool live again...almost like sighting a Yeti. The set list was as follows:
Forty Six & 2
Wings For Marie
-- The band at this point stopped, sat on the drum riser, and Justin Chancellor lit a flame, prompting lighters to rise around the crowd, before the band encored with:
The stage was white, allowing for projections of Adam Jones' video work onto the back and floor of the stage. Stinkfist was an amazing opener, showing that Tool has not lost its touch since Aenima came out in 1996 (coincidentally, 10 years ago today). Tool performs perfectly live. Mistakes, if any, go entirely unnoticed. The show was musically amazing. The live performance of Wings/10,000 Days, with an accompanying laser show, is breathtaking in its raw display of musicianship. Adam Jones' talkbox solo on Jambi was a great moment in the show. Danny Carey's drumming remains on a higher level than his peers, and Justin Chancellor brings the bass guitarist out of the back left corner of the stage and into the spotlight with his great finger work. Unfortunately, Rosetta Stoned was vocally unimpressive, as Keenan could not recreate the verbal salad of the album version.
The only criticism of the show is that the band seemed really detached from the audience, almost like a symphony rather than a rock concert. Which, to most fans, is probably an appropriate comparison, but concerts beg for the audience to connect more with the performers. Keenan made perhaps three of his trademark snide comments to the crowd, all about George W. Bush. Before the encore, the band plopped down on the drum riser, a very out-of-place moment, before Chancellor caused the Verizon Center to burst into tiny Bic-type candlelights and cheering.
Tool remains one of the best live metal bands. Fans might begin to fear if they have left the mindblowing show days of the Undertow/Aenima tours, but even on their most mediocre day, Tool is worth every penny. And at $67 with Ticketmaster's fees, it's quite a bargain.