TOOL Delivers a Sonic and Visual Ambiantic to KC

Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City. Photo by Josh Chaikin

We only just recovered from the madness on Friday night, but jumped back into the fray. With the nicer weather finally here, there’s little reason to stay locked up inside. Hours before the doors at the T-Mobile Center in downtown Kansas City opened, fans were lined up outside the door, while others in full-Tool attire, were grabbing a quick bite or drink, in the pubs across the street.

As showtime neared, the T-Mobile Center was easily at capacity. The stage, wrapped in a strange rope netting, which would later serve as screen for fractal projections that would play throughout the set. With a fairly understated stage presence, Maynard and company would command the audience for the remainder of the evening.

The night opened with the title track from their 2019 release, Fear Inoculum, a 13-minute opus, that gave stragglers plenty of time to get to their seats, or another beer. After a subdued “Kansas City,” and moderate response from the crowd, Maynard quipped to his bandmates, “Did you hear that lame ass shit?” eliciting a stronger, and energetic response from the Tuesday night crowd.

The night would be filled with favorites from the TOOL catalogue, with a strong vocal performance from Maynard, Danny Carey’s presence was known, and felt, from behind his throne, perched underneath a heptagram. Adam Jones, and Justin Chancellor also displayed equal mastery of guitar, and bass respectively.

TOOL played through the night, with relatively few interruptions, and Maynard popping offstage occasionally, presumably to play Jenga (Be sure to check out the video here if you haven’t seen it already).

While a strict no phones policy was in place for the event, Maynard did allow the audience to film the last song of the night, Invincible. The song tells of battle hardened warriors in war, then regaling others of their past victories, and a hopeful, perhaps fruitless, search for the fountain of youth. Is it a meta analysis on the band, an indictment of the industry and not living in the moment? Maybe, maybe not…music and lyrics are rife for interpretation. False hope, perhaps…but the truth never got in my way.

Equally loved, and derided by Prog Snobs everywhere. There is no discounting that TOOL has made a huge impact on the industry, especially in the prog genre. How many bands can say they’ve used the Fibonacci Sequence to create their music? And the band continuing to sell out arenas around the world is a testament, not just to the musicianship of the quartet, but the love that fans have for the band.

The musical virtuosity is well on full display, reaching sonic perfection; the light show, and projections, add to the ambience. A feast for the eyes and ears. TOOL does not disappoint, on any level.

Words and Photos by Josh Chaikin

Setlist: Fear Inoculum/Sober/The Pot/Pushit/Pneuma/The Grudge/Right in Two/Descending/Hooker with a Penis/Chocolate Chip Trip/Culling Voices/Invincible

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