It was a rainy night in February as thousands of Tool’s fans descended upon the American Airlines Center in Dallas. They bravely fought through the rush hour traffic and thunderstorms to witness their favorite band putting on an epic show for them. Upon parking and walking to the arena, you could see the fans walking in every entrance point, trying to get in to buy some merch and find their seats for the night. Watching all the fans walk around is always enjoyable at these shows, and you never know what you will see, but you know that everyone is there to witness the greatness of Tool and the phenomenal show they always put on for their fans.
As the time drew closer for the opening band, Elder, to take the stage, the crowd was making their way to their seats in anticipation of this night getting kicked off for an incredible night of music. As we were patiently waiting for the show to start, the lights suddenly went out, and one by one, Elder began walking out onto the stage, and the crowd erupted with cheer and applause. The band members welcomed the fans, waved to them, and interacted before they got in place. Elder then jumped into their heavy riffed song Sanctuary and began melting faces with their incredible music, walking around on stage and head banging with hair flying everywhere as they played. They continued playing, amazed the fans with their sounds and performance, preparing the crowd for the rest of the night.
After Elder wrapped up their set, the crew began setting the stage for Tool. The anticipation grew as they finished getting the stage set, and fans began coming back from their trips to refill their drinks and grab some merch from the booths. As the time drew near Tools, walkout music started, and a spotlight lit up the large drum set in the middle of the stage. Suddenly, you could see movement behind the drums, and Danny walked out and began playing after he waved to the fans, who erupted with applause and cheer. As he began playing the start of Fear Inoculum, the rest of the band joined the stage, and the crowd got even louder and let out deafening cheers and whistles. Quickly, the rest of the band joined in, and Adam and Justin met in front of the drum riser like a face-off and began going back and forth with their music playing. From the back of the stage, you could see Manyard waiting atop a large riser where he would start singing, and you could hear the fans singing every word along with him. They were all rocking and moving around the stage, getting the crowd excited and into the groove, setting the tone for the rest of the show we were about to watch. As they wrapped up their opening song, Manyard addressed the fans and welcomed them to the show, and they all yelled, however, not loud enough for his liking. He then said Dallas, are you awake? You can do better than that; let’s try this again. So Manyard tried another time, and this time, the fans let out a roar, and the band began playing a fan favorite Jambi off of their 10,000 Days album. Their music and visuals continued an onslaught of auditory and visual obliviation on our senses. Staying fixated on one point when observing a Tool show is hard. The Tool has impressive visuals on the video board behind them and the stage, along with the lasers going off everywhere around the arena. Everywhere you looked, fans were standing throughout the show until the brief intermission that Tool gave you to take a break and catch your breath from the amazement that you had been in since they took the stage. As the intermission winds down to the final second, the fans count down from five to one. As they complete the countdown, a spotlight hits the giant gong on a riser where Danny stands in front of it and begins the intro to their next song, Chocolate Chip Trip. The fans are now standing again in awe of the fantastic way he plays the intro on the giant gong; towards the end, he points to the crowd; they yell out, and he strikes the gong with a loud, heavy hit. He then goes to his throne behind his large drum set, and the rest of the band joins him. They start the last half of their show. From here, they continue the night, taking the fans on a fantastic trip of incredible music until they play the last note of their closing song, Schism. The crowd could have continued to stay later into the night and kept listening to more Tool songs, but we will all have to wait until they return to town again to get another dose of their live show.
I am so glad I got to see them play live again, and if you have yet to experience a live Tool show, do yourself a favor and make sure you see them when they come through your town. You will be satisfied, and it will cause you to want always to attend another one of their shows.
Words and Photos by Craig Youngblood
- Fear Inoculum
- Rosetta Stoned
- The Grudge
- Chocolate Chip Trip