A Review of the Fall 1996 Tour

Date: November 7

From: hackd@utdallas.edu (Douglas M Hackworth) Subject: Review of 11-7 Dallas show Saw the show at the Bronco Bowl here in Dallas last night, and... Well, I must reluctantly say that I was rather disappointed. Perhaps my expectations were too high -- I thought of nothing all week but seeing Tool on Thursday -- but the show just wasn't what I was hoping for. The sound quality was only so-so, the stage lighting just plain sucked (the band members were nothing more than dimly-seen silhouettes for the duration of the show -- sure, that can be used as an atmosphere itself, but for an entire show it's no good)... The worst thing, and most importantly, the performance seemed to me to lack energy. They played well, no question, but there was something missing, some kind of intensity. I'm not faulting the band for this, since I certainly can't complain that they didn't play well and hard, but neither can I deny that I felt there was a dimension missing from the performance that I have come to expect from (the very few) bands of Tool's caliber. The rest of the audience felt this as well, I believe -- though everyone cheered wildly, there was virtually no moshing at all and most people just stood in place and watched the show in an almost detached fashion. After the ticket price, Ticketmaster's monopoly charges, and the shaft-like parking fee, I wish I'd just stayed at home and saved some money (of which graduate students are perpetually in short supply). I'll pay plenty to see an awesome show, but I'm forced to admit -- again, reluctantly -- that this one wasn't. Well, that said, I -did- enjoy the show, believe it or not. I mean, I was -still- getting to see Tool! The visual effects and film clips they played on the big screen were nothing short of awesome. My favorites were the animated version of the Aenima cover and the "evolving man" sequence. The setlist (order is approximate): Third Eye Stinkfist 46 & 2 Prison Sex Eulogy Jimmy Pushit Cold & Ugly H Sober Opiate Aenima (encore) 'Third Eye,' while a good song, is a crappy opening number, in my opinion. I thought 'Stinkfist' would have been a better choice to get things started since it's a more energetic song. *shrug* 'Sober' was preceded by an extremely cool intro during which Maynard sat crosslegged on the stage and the rest of the band played a slow, rhythmic piece. Both 'Eulogy' and 'Jimmy' sounded spectacular and were definitely the best-sounding songs of the whole show. Some of Maynard's remarks: Right after 'Third Eye': "So, evidently this is Dallas. (cheers from audience) ...Okay, you people down here in the middle, we're going to need you to step back and make some room here, because we're going to have a rodeo here. (pause) What? Oh, okay, we'll do that later." (grins) Before 'Jimmy': "Going back to 'Prison Sex' for just a minute... (waits for wild cheers to subside from idiots who think they're going to play PS again) ...A lot of people have a misconception of what that song's about. It's really just a step in a process... It's about identifying cycles of abuse and working through it. See, 'Prison Sex' is the about identifying the cycle, that's the first step... The next step is working through it, and that's what 'Jimmy' is about." (song begins) Before the show, I saw Adam and Danny bowling at the bowling lanes that are in the front of the entertainment complex where the arena is. A throng of humorless-looking bodyguards rendered them unapproachable, however. Oh, and a note about The Cows: They're not -that- bad. Come on, people. They're not Tool, but neither do they merit all the acrimony that's been heaped upon them by other reviewers. Anyway, that's about it. I've undoubtledly offended some by not reporting the show as some kind of religious experience, as most have, but I can't lie. It was cool, sure, but not what I had hoped for. Again, maybe my expectations were just too high -- Tool is damn near my favorite band of all time, so maybe I was hoping for more than I could realistically expect. Maybe I'll have a different reaction when/if I see them again sometime.