The ever-adventurous TOOL brought the Fear Inoculum Tour through Dallas Wednesday night and by all accounts it was a resounding success. A sold out, packed to the top American Airlines Center was treated to a variety of smash hits from throughout their extensive history plus a few new gems.
The show’s opening act, AUTHOR & PUNISHER, is actually a one-man band from California = Tristan Stone. I have actually seen him one time before live and while I’ll admit that I didn’t really “get it” the first time, he has forged ahead doing quite well for himself. His brand of industrial, doom metal is all performed on his own designed and fabricated homemade machines. Tristan does come up with some electrifying (almost trance-inducing) sounds layered fantastically throughout songs like “Pharmacide”, “A Crude Sectioning” and finally “Terrorbird”. Afterwards, the stunned audience sat around wondering what they had just experienced while I wondered how many new fans he gathered up tonight.
From the first note of their latest hit, “Fear Inoculum”, TOOL was exceptionally perfect in every way possible. Their stage set, lighting, visuals and sound were top notch throughout the show. “Fear” began calmly enough but Maynard James Keenan’s vocals and Danny Carey’s drum work brought it to a fever pitch fairly quickly. Judging by the amount of audience members screaming the next song out at the top of their lungs, “AEnema” might have been the fan favorite of the night. Adam Jones’ searing guitar notes coupled with Maynard’s soft/hard vocals brought the crowd to a high that only subsided when the song hit its last note.
The three song mini-set of “Parabol”, “Parabola” and the new “Pneuma” took the venue on a roller coaster ride of sounds from slow and dark to fast and vibrant (and then back again). Watching Justin Chancellor keep the rhythm going with his impeccable bass lines during “Schism” was enthralling as the rest of the guys followed along with their respective expertise. The clean, vibrant (at times solemn) sound gave way to an uprising of amped up power that blew me away.
Maynard doesn’t verbally interact with the audience too much during a show but tonight’s one liners were hilarious: as they entered the stage – “Dallas… supposedly = sounds like Houston” and when he introduced “Part of Me” from 1992’s Opiate he opined that “If you are under 30, you weren’t even sperm when we wrote this song”. As for the music, “Vicarious” was absolutely ferocious and “Forty Six & 2” was pure perfection – the type of song that hits all of the right notes.
After a short twelve-minute break, the guys came back out to play the drum intensive “Chocolate Chip Trip” and “Invincible” from their new album as well as reaching way back for 1996’s “Stinkfist”. Reflecting back on the show later, what really stood out to me was the expert musicianship (and vocals in Maynard’s case) that the whole band displays. It truly was a complete concert experience for the band, their adoring fans and us here at Amps and Green Screens!!!
LIVE IMAGES: JOE GUZMAN/GUZPIX
LIVE WORDS: ANDY U