Review by Paddy Gallagher for MPM
It’s great to be back. A capacity crowd heading to the lengthy queues at various entrances, filling the air around North Wall Quay in Dublin with that pre-gig buzz so missed over the last 2 years.
Bit of a change to the surroundings too, The Exo Building has popped up next to the 3Arena crowding in on the air space above Entrance 2; it might provide a bit of shelter from that “rare” Irish phenomenon rain, which was conspicuous today by its absence.
Opening act Brass Against played a set mostly composed of classic covers with their own take imprinted in a symphony of brass instruments; heavy metal it was! It would be interesting to see them on home turf in NYC in a smaller venue.
Credit must be given to any musician who develops their art in tangents to the usual.
Speaking of phenomenon; Tool are back in town after the best part of 2 decades since their last visit. Tonight, was more than just a gig, it was an experience sonically and visually; a mind-blowing trip complete with psychedelic graphics, the band visible behind a curved translucent drape for the first part; the trippy animated visual displays enhanced by projection in front of the band onto the drapes, behind, above and to the side.
If ever the request to refrain from using mobile phone cameras etc was warranted it was here; the stunning visual effects accompanied by the heavy drone of the music would have been wasted if experienced from behind a phone screen, the all-encompassing Art setting proceedings apart from the usual band / crowd interaction. Eccentric? Hell yes! And rightly so preserving the mystique surrounding the band in the live setting. Visuals to match the sheer progressive brilliance of the music and lyrics; “Fear Inoculum”, “The Grudge”, “Opiate”, “Hooker With A Penis”.
On command from Maynard who was most likely clenching his butt cheeks having voiced fear of a scoot or three of food poisoned turista adding to the kaleidoscope of colour on display, everyone stood and remained standing for the rest of the performance; he patrolled and cavorted on risers each side of Dan Carey’s drums, often shrouded in shadow with the light falling on his three band mates.
A genius variation on the charade of “encore” chanting at the end of the set was the countdown clock, an opportunity to refill the glasses without missing a beat on stage knowing exactly how long it would be before the er, encores!!
The influence of Rush was evident throughout, and for this music afficionado Dan Carey’s drum instrumental “Chocolate Chip Trip “recalled The Professor, Mr Neil Peart. As the curfew drew near phone cameras were permitted for closer “Invincible”.
And so, after approximately 2hrs and 20 mins it was over.
A Tool gig is not just a gig; it is a precisely designed and executed performance very few can match. Ignore the negative critics, ignore he divisiveness the band seems to generate in some Heavy Music fans. Make sure you get to see Tool; they don’t come around too often.
Tool in their own setting, on their own stage truly is an unforgettable experience. Avant-garde virtuosity.
Photography by Stephen Brophy for MPM