Hordes of rhythmic disciples landed on the newly renamed Rogers Arena over this past weekend. Maynard James Keenan and the rest of Tool played to a sold out stadium, catering their melodious cult rock to their minions. The general admission floor proved to be a force to be reckoned with, as the dedicated, forced themselves towards their idol. Mr.Keenan was his usual recluse self, standing mysteriously in the shadows. The evening was dark, esoteric and full of relentless devotion.
Peering up the staircase at the arena, it was clear that this crowd was unique. The enthusiasm of those in attendance had them running towards the ticket takers. This in itself would be a normal occurrence, but this was near 45 minutes after the initial doors opened. The fanatical base of Tool aficionados definitely march to the beat of a different drum. Once inside the swarm of merchandise hungry consumerism was over the top. Most people in line, were purchasing two or three items a piece. Same thing with the beer kiosks, a definite cycle was evident. Acquire the maximum two plastic cups of booze, ingest quickly, then back in line, repeat as needed. It was a circus of indulgence.
On route to the floor, it was a case of hurry up and wait. Every attendee was in a rush to claim their territory and start the anticipation process. After nearly 25 minutes since the opening act, Rajas, the lights once again were swallowed by darkness. The swelling throng began to ignite. Like a swarm of wasps they climbed over one another, battling to be even inches closer to the stage. The backdrop illuminated and before the onlookers stood the silhouette of Maynard. To his left Danny Carey on drums and Justin Chancellor on bass. To his right Adam Jones on guitar. The screams of the eager nearly drowned out the first song, it was frenzied.
Delving into their set, it was a true coverage of the ages. A spattering of songs from their long career. As their was no record to support, their were no new songs to taste, but the plethora presented were filling none the less. The rhythmic, mystic sounds of each song were complemented by the singers perfectionist vocals. The guitar enhanced each piece and supported the songs message without over stepping or commanding a separate presence. Despite being a metal band their was nothing sloppy or rough about their performance, they play spot on, and leave no room for error. Each song is more like an emotion than a grouping of instruments. To top it off everything was blissfully dark and hinted with a kind of cryptic symbology.
Maynard stalked around like a panther; with wine bottle always in tow. His vocal set was superb and precise, but emotional and powerful all at the same time. Jones dove into a few guitar solo’s with the combination of repeaters and electronic distorters; reminiscent of 80s synth rock but with a very evil edge. Danny was joined on stage by a drummer from Rajas, and a back and forth dual quickly ensued. At the end the keen lead singer, held high his judges card with the number 2 written in black ink; a little humor on his part.
The backdrop of the stage was lined in big screens, running through various video feeds. For the most part the displays were playing the accompanying music video to whatever song the band was wrapped up in. Various points through out the show, streams of symbolic glyphs and mind bending patterns streamed the stage. A spiritual feel enveloped the arena. In addition the use of opposing colors to light the stage produced an eye popping effect. Blues with reds, and purples with yellows, brought a simple yet stunning exclamation to the entire display.
The shear energy exerted in the mosh pit was overwhelming. As the band said its good byes and filtered behind the all mighty curtain, the floor too slowly exited. Scattered across the cold concrete was evidence of the devoted. Torn shirts, stray shoes, and heaps of crushed plastic cups. The horde appeared fatigued, sweat dripping from their brows and cheeks red with exhaustion and dehydration. The night was as perfect as any Tool concert could be. The legion of the loyal, embraced by the dark rhythms of their musical deities.