A Review of the Fall 1996 Tour

Date: October 21

From: Arsenio Santos (arsenio@wco.com) And now, as promised, my review of the first San Francisco show. First, a few words on Failure. I don't recall who it was, but someone on this list said that Failure was a "must-have" for all Tool fans. (Please feel free to stand up so we can all get a good look at you.) Turns out, my girlfriend and I both found them to be the most depressing part of the evening. It's kinda hard to watch a band be completely derivative (Renee put it best when she said they sounded like "Weezer off of Prozac"), play unenthusiastically, and generally act as disposable first-act chum for the hungry Toolfans. Failure earned a modest Arsenio Rating of 4 (to compute a band's Arsenio Rating, count the number of songs the band plays live before you look at your watch), and yet I have the sad feeling that they'll be broken up by mid-spring. Here was Tool's setlist on Monday: Stinkfist 46 & Two Intolerance Eulogy Hooker With A Penis Prison Sex Jimmy Undertow Pushit Sober Opiate Aenema They didn't play a 20 minute version of Opiate, and they didn't make me sit through ten minutes of Frippertronics. They did have some technical difficulties throughout the evening; Adam had all kinds of problems around the second verse of Undertow and didn't get them sorted out until the end of Pushit, and the two large-screen projectors seemed to have a few video problems throughout the show. Still, the band has gotten even tighter since I last saw them. Justin was the surprise hero in my opinion, playing flawlessly all evening. Danny was the no-surprise hero, playing his monster drumlines as easily as some people pick their noses. I have to say I was a bit worried, being in the balcony, but as soon as Maynard came onstage, he spotted me right away and once again sang with his beady eyes pointed right at me all night. There was your de rigeur pithy banter ("This song is about our new t-shirts" preceding Hooker, "This is an oldie" preceding Intolerance, and a not-so-veiled threat for us NoCal folk before "Aenema"). They showed the Prison Sex video during that song, leading into the sequel Jimmy, and seeing the band play PS live with the video playing above them made it even more harrowing than before. There are a few other surprises which I'll keep to myself, but all in all Tool is even better live now than they were when they last played at the Warfield almost two years ago. P.S.: I stayed out of the pit, didn't harm anyone, and didn't miss a note of the show. Maybe I'm getting older. Maybe tickets are getting more expensive. The world may never know. Arsenio