8th September 2006

TOOL: A Concert Review

posted in Random Musings |

It was a surreal experience, and the fans are a unique type of ravenous creature. They’re more like disciples, the band messianic. Upon entering the venue, I immediately sensed a hippie vibe, which was odd to me. I’ve always thought of TOOL as a straight-forward metal band. But that is entirely inaccurate. Live, they are a “jam” band, and the fans (who evidently follow the band from town to town) are strikingly reminscent of those who used to follow PHISH or THE GRATEFUL DEAD (I always wondered what became of those people!). I witnessed women in the throes of animated expression… a strange cross between testifying and orgasm.

The show itself is dark and disconcerting.

The imagery is just… sad. It’s often broken and hurt, filled with disjointed, expressionless puppets (often without mouths) who wander aimlessly through enclosed environments. In fact, one windowless rooms depicted was an actual tomb, complete with puppet corpses. It’s Pink Floyd’s The Wall, except we never get “Outside The Wall.” There is no release, no chance to pick up the pieces and put it all back together again. The puppets “pick” at themselves, contort and suffer. There’s a prevailing sense of self-loathing.

If the entire show were a Rorschach test before me, my response would be:

“Victim. Sexual abuse victim.”

I am sure that such a specific take on the show would not resonate with most fans, but there is something sinister being discussed, celebrated and hopefully released. I can only assume the shows are cathartic for the fans, regardless of what demons they harbor.

Frankly, my reaction is similar to that of my first viewing of THE WALL and I don’t doubt that the band themselves are big Pink Floyd fans. The lights, the videos, and now lasers (reportedly a recent addition to TOOL shows) all owe a great debt to The House That Waters Built.

As players, the band is in a class by themselves. Truly astonishing musicians. I must say that I enjoyed the show, but I found the experience to be very disquieting.


This entry was posted on Friday, September 8th, 2006 at 2:47 am and is filed under Random Musings. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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