Here's what went down in Perth last night.
Last year, Tool fans were sent into a frenzy when, after a 13-year hiatus, the band released Fear Inoculum. An album reverently received by fans and critics alike the debuted at #1 in Australia.
Kicking off their Australian tour at Perth’s RAC Arena, Tool made a triumphant return, giving a near-perfect performance by delivering to the Tool army a two-hour show that was an impressive visual and aural experience.
Support was given by one-man industrial band Author & Punisher going in perhaps too hard for the crowd that began to fill the Arena. However, as the intro of Tool's Fear Inoculum reverberated around the near-capacity venue, the crowd was primed to focus on the band (since there was a no phones policy).
Author & Punisher @ RAC Arena. Pic by Adrian Thomson
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A monumental roar erupted as the lights went up on stage and Danny Carey’s drums kicked in, testimony for the anticipation for those who’d waited a long time to see the LA metal legends again. Performing the first act of the concert behind a sheer curtain that displayed psychedelic visuals invited a sense of mystique, obliging the audience to focus on the music which, after Aenima, offered songs from 2001’s Lateralus, including Parabola and the popular Schism.
When the curtains did part, the band was revealed depicting an equal division of power, with singer Maynard James Keenan perched like a mohawked gargoyle on two risers at either side of Carey whilst bassist Justin Chancellor and guitarist Adam Jones took separate sides of the stage. Behind them, the integral visuals of their music videos and graphics of sacred geometry displayed on a massive screen heightening the esoteric, albeit uncomfortably edgy mood of the performance.
If Keenan is the voice of the band, then Carey is the bones with Chancellor and Jones being the muscle. Their off-time signatures are archetypal Tool with Carey keeping it together, while Chancellor and Jones flourished around him creating a hypnotic sound through Jambi and Pneuma. Vicarious was a murky dive into prog-rock which was followed by the dark Descending and Forty Six & 2.
Tool @ RAC Arena. Pic by Adrian Thomson
Their technical proficiency also extended to the encore which included a 12-minute timer before the group returned to smash it out of the park, beginning with Carey, captivating everyone by drumming on a large gong for the industrial, Eastern-influenced Chocolate Chip Trip.
Invincible was next but Keenan knew what this crowd wanted, as he permitted, “You can take your phones out even though it’s fucking annoying for the people behind you.” The collective rapture as Stinkfist played was the climax of a night showing demonstrating the band’s intent to make you breathe, to feel, to make 15,000 people feel alive. A must-see if you want to see a group at its apex.