Tool gives a mesmerizing performance

by Max Robinson

“It’s some kind of psychedelic experience, it’s some kind of psychedelic experience, it’s some kind of psychedelic experience…” echoes throughout the arena as everyone watches hypnotically.
Tool is a veteran prog metal band that has been mesmerizing the masses for years now. The band is back on the road for promotion of its new album, Fear Inoculum.
Tool puts on a concert experience unlike any other band out there. For starters, the band has a STRICT no phone policy at their live shows. Ushers are instructed to remove anyone from the show if he/she is seen with a phone out, and Tool’s management will not allow those kicked out to return for future shows.

Max Robinson
Tool Guitarist, Adam Jones.

But fans of the band aren’t there to film the show, they are there to become absolutely entranced by the music. Tool came to Pittsburgh on November 8th. Killing Joke, an industrial/rock opened for Tool. The crowd seemed pretty underwhelmed by the opening act. My best guess is they had no clue who Killing Joke was. After all, they were there for Tool.
Tool opened the set with the title track of their new album, a 10-minute-long epic which set the tone for the rest of the show. Throughout the setlist, the visuals were as trance-inducing as the music. Numerous songs had their music videos projected while others featured Tool’s iconic, trippy art style. The videos paired with the lasers and lights provided psychedelic-like experience.
The band played a few fan favorites including “Schism” and “Forty Six & 2”, and the song duo “Parabol” and “Parabola” from the band’s 2001 masterpiece Lateralus. “Chocolate Chip Trip” is a cut from the new album, and glimpse into drummer Danny Carey’s mind. He began by solely beating a gong before laying down a techy, drum machine beat and then playing an absolute mind bending drum solo on top of that.
To end the show, the band played another live staple, “Stinkfist”. Frontman Maynard James Keenan allowed the crowd to film the song, then thanking Pittsburgh “for the ketchup”.
The weird thing about Tool shows is that no one is singing, no one is filming, and Maynard hardly addresses the crowd. It’s an oddly personal experience for being in a sold out arena. Tool puts on a show that makes you feel like you took a hallucinogen, and fans crave it.
I had a great experience myself at the show. It was my first time seeing Tool; I missed them in 2017 when they came to the Petersen Events Center. I’ve been a fan for years, and it was great to finally see them live.
I was also given the privilege to photograph the show, which is especially cool considering no one else is allowed to even glimpse at their phone. This was definitely the loudest show I’ve ever been to, and I’ve seen numerous rock and metal acts including Metallica.
The visuals were something I’ve never seen in a concert before. I was thoroughly impressed throughout the whole night. I would highly recommend anyone to attend one of their shows, even if you only know a couple of songs. You will not be disappointed.