Show Review: Tool @ The ACC
Tool Time in Toronto
Jan 25th 2012
As a fan, the downtime between a favourite band’s albums can be a real bummer. After all, no new music means no tours or promo appearances, no videos, no new merch etc. So you can imagine the delight and frenzy caused by an out of the blue Tool concert announcement, only a month in advance of the January 25th date at Toronto’s ACC.
I was initially hesitant to spend upwards of $80 on what could very well be a repeat of their last show (this is their 4th Southern Ontario tour since releasing 10,000 Days in 2006). However, not having to push a certain album, Tool filled the setlist with their greatest hits and some rare finds; satisfying both radio-friendly and diehard fans. And even though the normally general admission floor was filled with rigid rows of chairs, it was clear that the sold-out crowd was just excited to see Maynard James Keenan, Danny Carey, Adam Jones and Justin Chancellor in the same room.
A 12 song setlist, including instrumentals, seems unfulfilling. But with most Tool tracks naturally running over five minutes, plus the embellishments that come with a live prog-rock show, the set rounded out at about two hours. The expected ‘Schism’, Forty Six & Two’ and ‘Stinkfist’ all made appearances, along with the uncommon ‘Hooker With a Penis’, ‘Pushit’ and ‘Parabola’.
Early in the night, front man Maynard lamented their rustiness, having not played some of the songs since we were “sperm”. But everyone knows a rusty Tool (ha, get it?) would never plan to tour. That being said, the rhythm did get away from them at times, particularly during ‘Schism’. And the sound system periodically failed to keep the vocals above the pulsating bass. Nevertheless, paired with videos, acid-trip art loops, lazers and…video games, Tool still puts on a better show than 99% of the touring acts out there.
As to be expected, Maynard spent the show on his platform in the shadows of the stage. A man of few words, he only spoke in his usual dry humour. “Hey Chris,” he quipped to guest drummer Chris Chartrand from Crystal Castles, “I have to piss, try and make it a long one” leaving him to battle it out with the legendary Danny Carey on his spaceship of a kit. “Who won?” he asked, coming back a few minutes later, inspecting both their techniques. The answer, of course, “we all win”.
Some find it off-putting, the way Maynard doesn’t act like every other front man. But when has Tool ever been accused of being a regular band? Not surprisingly then, they don’t conform to the somewhat phony encore custom. So, when they left the stage after destroying us with the condemning ‘Aenema’, we knew it was over. Though the hearts and ears of everyone in that room yearned for more, there was a sense of knowing that the night really couldn’t have ended any better.
And now a string of grotesque terms, otherwise known as the set list:
Hooker with a Penis
Forty-Six & Two