Date: October, 2001
Kazio Ambroz (email@example.com)
Kazio Ambroz (firstname.lastname@example.org)
page: 38 title: Art and Soul. Tool indulge their prog rock tendencies in NYC author: TOOL Support: Fantomas Madison Square Garden, New York Monday October 1 KKK ( = Good) The afternoon before Tool's sold-out perfomance at Madison Square Garden, a friend remarked to me that "if the terrorists wanted to kill 15,000 people at one shot, they could blow up the Garden tonight". I thanked him for sharing this epiphany before I headed off to the show. One of the consequences of the events of September 11 is that what would normally be a mass gathering of the tribes, now also carries the stigma of possibly being an easy mass target. Tonight, though, the vibe inside this cavernous arena is anything but morbid for openers Fantomas. Perplexed might be a better word. Lead singer Mike Patton still commands loyalty from the crowd for his work with Faith No More. But with Fantomas, Patton's joke is frankly not that fun, or else I just don't get it. When I go see a band perform, I like to hear songs: well- crafted constructions of melody and arrangement that produce an emotional response. When I listen to Fantomas, all I hear are random bursts of noise with Patton alternately (and inarticulately) screeching or crooning, inducing nothing but a yawn or a headache. We are treated - if that's the word - to several tunes off Fantomas' new film theme collection, 'The Director's Cut'. Personally though, I don't see the point of reducing the theme from 'The Omen' to so much avant-noise rubble. And Fantomas merely prove that 'art' can be boring as hell. Which brings us to Tool. Taking the stage with the same majestic, mysterious presence which dominated their show last May at the smaller Hammersmith Ballroom. This time, the band take what could be a deadly 75-minute performance and stretch it to a patience-straining two hours with enough self-indulgent twaddle to give Pink Floyd pause for thought. Things start off well enough with the epic 'The Grudge', which leads directly into 'Sober', which sees the usually stoic band actually loosening up and even jamming a little. There's more interaction overall between the band memebers, although Maynard James Keenen remains rooted to his shadowy platform at the back of the stage for almost the entire night, sounding as perfect as ever. 'Undertow' and 'Parabola' follow up the openers with the same regal precision and hypnotic power, as giant video screens undulating unceasingly above and behind the band members show imagery both macabre and psychedelic. It's the middle of the set where things go wrong. The already lengthy 'Reflection' finds three-quarters of the band leaving the stage, while guitarist Adam Jones strums the same chord for - I kid you not - 15 minutes. Then Jones abandons the stage altogether while two silver humanoids (popped fresh out of one of the band's videos) crawl onstage. The duo then ascend to the rafters, where they suspend themselves by their feet and swing and dangle, occasionally grappling with each other as if in an extremely drunken porno film. This goes on for another 15 minutes or so, until the band gradually stroll onstage and resume the set. Frankly by this point it wouldn't be surprising if the auidence had forgotten who they're here to see. Tool resume with even more cuts of 'Lateralus', while 'Stinkfist' and 'Prison Sex' are nowhere in sight. The show finally comes back to life (as does the crowd) with 'Aenima', and reaches a crescendo with 'Lateralus'' title track. Long as it is, the song builds and builds to an epic climax, much like another absent favourite from the 'Aenima' album, 'Third Eye'. So this is 'okay' Tool, with flashes of the usually brillant Tool at the beginning and end. No-one could accuse this band of ever playing it safe, but there's a thin line between offering your auidence a good mindfuck and simply alienating them. Tonight, like Tool themselves, that line was hard to pin down. (What follows is a little box where they ask some fans from the show some questions. Q1) Name, Age, Where From, Q2) How was the gig for you?, Q3) Highlight, Q4) Is Maynard the best vocalist in rock?) Fan 1 1) Jose Mangin, 24, Arizona 2) The show was a complete mindfuck. I'm still trying to get over the whole thing 3) The goose-bumps I got on Sober 4) Close, but I'd have to say Mike Patton is closer. Fan 2 1) Chris Mullahey, 24, The Bronx, NY 2) The show was awesome. I wish they did a couple more older songs, but it was still good. 3) Parabola. They didn't do the slow introduction and just went into the hardcore part. 4) It used to be Eddie Vedder, but now I do think it's Maynard. Fan 3 1) Kitty Duvester, 17, Port Jefferson Station, NY 2) Amazing! This is the first time I've seen them, and I've been a fan for so long that to finally be there and see something that you love so much in person - it's breathtaking. 3) Every song was a highlight! 4) Oh, yeah. There's no question about it!
Posted to t.d.n: 10/24/01 18:00:22