A Review of the Fall 1996 Tour

Date: November 14

From: headake@mail.suba.com Where do I start? I want to say that this was one of the most incredible experiences I have had in awhile. The whole night was ethereal, and I kept making mental notes of time to myself to ensure rich encoding of detail to my memory.......... TOOL At The Aragon I arrived at the venue at 6PM. Following instructions from my friend, I approached the side door of the Aragon, and met a security guard who was expecting me. He was very polite, and I showed him my drivers license to validate my identity. He ushered me in, and asked if I was familiar with the location of the Production Office. I was. I walked through the hallways, and up the stairs to the Production Office. Knocking on the door before I entered, I stepped into the very hot room, and saw my friend hunched over a laptop doing last minute work. Various TOOL crew were present, and I took a seat on a big leather couch to wait. A few minutes later, my friend and her husband noticed me, and we exchanged hello's. Sitting waiting, I watched as final jobs were finished. Finalizing the guest list, the photo passes, etc. A member of the Cows came in to give t-shirts and CD's to the TOOL crew. Minutes later Justin walked through the office, asking to use the phone. He was denied due to the work being done by the tour manager. My friend introduced me to him. He extended his hand to mine. Soon afterwards Adam came in, and I was introduced to him as well. My friend had told him of me in the past, and he said 'oh, you're the guy. hi it's nice to meet you'. I told him the video was incredible, and he thanked me. Danny walked through the door, and went into the separate backstage area. Adam left to get food with Ted Gardner (who I have met a million times before), and he looked my way before exiting the door and said "where do I know you from?" I told him he probably saw my segment on America's Most Wanted". I told him from my friend's wedding, etc., and he said "oh, yea. hello", etc. They left for Mexican food. Then 'lil Maynard came in wearing a TOOL sweatshirt, and his karate pants. He was looking for food, and they asked him what he wanted the set-list to be. He looked on the laptop and said 'start with Third Eye. aaaaaaaa, take out Undertow. that's good, the usual". He and my friend were reciting lines from Vampire's Kiss, and she said "Maynard this is my friend (my other nickname who no one but my friend calls me by)". He looked at me in a nervous hurry, and flashed me the Vulcan "V" sign. He went into the private dressing room to do his exercises. My friend gave me my laminate and we went to the tour bus to drop some things off. Cool bus. The driver was playing DOOM on Playstation. The bus sleeps 12, and it's really stylish. Lounge in the back, kitchen in front, two bathrooms. We went back into the Aragon through the side door, and I went to the merchandise stand to buy souvenirs. I got a black 'smoke box' shirt, a poster, and a sticker. $35. I then bought earplugs A MUST. We went back to the P.O., and Maynard was pacing. He said 'when the cows start, I need to get painted'. It's my friend's job to paint the 5' 5" bald guy. He also wanted some plain rice to eat before the show. "You know, something that is going to go through like *that* (snapping his fingers)." I then went through the dressing room, to the private balcony with Justin to watch the Cows. They were really good, and we laughed really hard at the singer's antics. When the Cows were finished, I went on the main floor to meet Dan, King of Eudora. He's tall, like 6'2". He resembled a gentle-giant, and he looked very young. No anything like I pictured him to look like. We talked a little, and I answered his questions. It was a little awkward. I then went to the main floor towards the sound board to watch the show. The tour manager does the sound, and he's married to my friend; so we're really good friends. He asked me if I was excited. I told him I had been waiting for this for a long, long, time; and that I couldn't thank him enough. He said "happy birthday (nickname), and the house lights dropped. Two large projection screens lit up revealing the smoke box from the CD, and the crowd went nuts. The band took the stage shirtless, and "Third Eye" started. Maynard situated himself in the middle of the stage. With his right side painted white, and his left side painted blue; including his boxer-briefs; he looked so symmetrical, like a mime or performance artist. A wave came over me as the opening verse started. the whole song grew bigger and bigger as Maynard wiped the webs and the dew away. The music built up, and built up. Incredible energy during the "In..out...in....out....in....out" as Maynard tapped his cheek to get the sound. Alternating microphones, all the effects from the CD recording were duplicated. Maynard's movements were deliberate, and snake-like. he pivoted a lot from his waist, and twitched robot-like in a downward, backwards fashion. "So good to see you once again........ I opened my eye, opened my eye, opened my eye, and there we were." God I love that part. There we were: me and TOOL, finally. The entire song bellowed through the acoustical nightmare known as the Aragon. Maynard's lyrics came through clean though. "Third Eye" ended. The crowd cheered and Maynard said "Chicago. We're TOOL. This is our new bass player Justin Chancellor". Stinkfist started, and Maynard was upright for most of it, pivoting and making his trademark movements every now and then. He rotates his shoulders, and it's all very fluid, and consistent. "Finger deep" was emphasized with a finger gesture. Again he used two microphones to get the sounds. I didn't hear 'chickenweasel' and forgot to scream it myself. "It's kinda cold here" Maynard said. "I sent out all my laundry to get done, and someone stole it. It's kind-of chilly up here. And since I sent out all of my laundry, this is it for me here. This is all the clothing I have, so if you have any extra clothing, I'd appreciate it." 46 & 2 started, and Maynard deliberately stepped around the stage in a prancing-like motion. He resembles a mime I tell you. "Do what it takes to step through." The music was clear, and Danny just wailed on the skins. He is amazing to watch as he pounds out the beat. Adam stood fixed on stage right, shirtless, and gazing out. He hardly moved. Justin played sometimes with his back to the audience. "This was the Cow's last show with us. They are an awesome band" "Swamp Song started, and the crowd cheered. "I hope it sucks you fucker." What an angry song, and it brought back all my memories and feelings I get when I hear it. I felt strange, like they had lured me into a special place. "Eulogy" started without an introduction. The light tapping sounds, which I equate to the crucifixion of Jesus (nails being tapped) played, and Maynard had his back to the crown for quite some time, making tapping sounds on his cheek into the microphone. It's him making the guitar-like sounds. Holding the megaphone in his hand he sang the opening verse, spinning to face the audience. Inaudible lyrics sounded like "would you be the one to (who) save me from my own self". the video screens showed images of a hominid walking on all fours, and evolving into a Neanderthal, and then Cro-Magnon Man. "Prison Sex" was started with a question by Maynard "Let's try something. One the count of three, dig way down in the darkest corner you can find." The song was accompanied by the video for the song on the big screens. The left side of the screen was the negative image of the one on the right to get that mirror-like effect. The song ended, and Maynard said "let's take a minute to talk about prison sex" He explained that you get to a level where you realize what has been done, and then you walk through it to get better. He dedicated the song to "Bill Ross" which I think is a guy who works with the crew. He then launched into Jimmy. It was at this time that an older man and him much-younger blond woman friend came into the sound area with their "sound systems" high-school styled jackets. They distracted me a lot, and soon found a spot to stand away from me as I belted out the songs. TOOl used a lot of back lighting to give a greater effect. Lot's of shadows on stage, and with the paint job, being shaven, and his musculature defined; Maynard looked like an extension of the music. Writhing and moving along the stage in rhythmic fluidity. "Pushit" What a great song. It is my favorite with "Third Eye." The video screen showed black-and-white images of natives po-going, and camels and elephants having intercourse. "And if I say I might fade like a sigh if I stay............" My favorite part of the song, once again, gave me a galvanic skin response.... "Sober" had a new intro. A very long, trance-like bass and bass drum combination that went on for a long time. It looked like Maynard was performing a ritual on stage by shaking something in an outline on the stage floor. "I want, what I want" gave me a feeling I hadn't had before. It seemed like those provided closure. A demand. I stood there as it hit me, and I looked at the stage in utter amazement, and respect for four ARTISTS who's work does so much for me. So much. "This is the last song (followed by 'boo's')...........on our first album (cheers). He said it's about religions, and that all the myths and everything involved with religions are good. They share the same elements unity, connection with others, evolving thoughts, etc. He said it's the assholes that push these ideas the wrong way, and how they end up getting people to kill each other over different beliefs. The crowd received the song well, and they were jumping around with a seemingly second-wind. The song ended, and the band took off their gear. Danny came out from the drum kit, and they all waved. They sat huddled in a circle on Danny's platform and then broke. Danny took the mic and said "ok, we'll play another one." The crowd cheered. "Although this song is been called apocalyptic, it's really about getting back to what matters. Cleaning the slate." He said something about the collective unconscious, and started the "hey's". The guitar riff started, and then the drums and bass. The crowd went nuts again as the chorus wailed "sideshow of freaks here in this hopeless fucking....." The song ended, the lights came up a little, and the band waved goodbye as they exited. The house lights came up, and the crowd looked like they had just been through an 11 round draw with Evander Holyfield. I went with my friend through the crowd towards the backstage area....past the people waiting to see the band.....past the unskilled groupies....and towards the P.O. A blond woman tugged at my arm and asked if I knew Justin. I said "not very well, but I will see him". She said she was a friend of his from London (she didn't have an accent), and to give him a message. I said ok. Walking towards the P.O. I passed Justin who wa sitting in the dark on a big black box. He was painted white still from the show, smoking a cigarette. I gave him the message. He said thanks. Back to the P.O., and it was hectic. I had to leave while they did the finance stuff, and Justin asked me if I could give a V.I.P. pass to the woman, and escort her to the designated area. I said I would. He said I was ok. I saw the woman, gave her the pass, and old her to follow me. We went towards the stage right balcony area, and waited to go up. More more more. In ther backstage area, there were a ton of people talking to all the band members. I just talked with Danny and told him he was an incredible drummer. He thanked me. It was about 100 degrees in there, so I sat on a couch by a window with Ted. We talked a lot about things with the band. He said they are working on a tour of Canada, and Europe. He also told me gross stories about the big woman in the Stinkfist video (the one from Undertow art), and how she ate a million candy bars, and drank cherry cokes. Danny came over, and sat with us. He is really down-to-earth, and he smiled a lot. He's huge, like 6'5". Once Adam's parents left, security kicked everyone out. I sat with Ted on the couch, and he told me not to leave. I hadn't planned on it anyway, but it was nice to hear him say that. He asked me if I wanted anything to drink, because they kept "the good stuff from the vultures". I said ok, and I had a Tennent's beer. He went into the P.O., and I waited. I went in later to retrieve my coat, and my friend asked if I would help her take some things to the tour bus. I agreed. The Tour Manager (her hubby) handed me some stuff, and wished me a happy belated birthday (Mine was in June...the 19th). It was one of every shirt but the long-sleeved one, a knit cap, a baseball hat, and an antennae ball. I was so surprised. My friend and I went to the tour bus, and I carried Maynard's personal belongings in a box, his push-up bars, and his karate pants. We got to the tour bus, and they were having a band meeting. My friend introduced me again, explaining that I was the guy in her story of the guy who almost died in an accident (long story, I was clinically dead for about a minute and a half). They all said "oooooh. You're the guy." She went into the back of the bus, and I said "I have Mr. Keenan's personal possessions, where shall I place them" in a humorous, deep, military-like tone. Maynard said "cool my stuff....right here I'll take it." I said the show was great, and they went back to their meeting. I walked to the back of the bus, and there they were: the three, scantly-clad, skanky bimbo's from the backstage area. Ugh. I sat with my friend, and we did some catching up on stuff. It was so great to see her. Maynard came back, and sat across the bimbos' laps. One of them asked if he had the video. He looked everywhere, but didn't find it. He sat across from me, next to my friend, and she introduced me again. He said "yes, I have met him." I wanted to ask him so many questions,. but the bimbo's were a distraction with their laughter, and inane conversation topic (i just turned 21, and went to South Padre..) I ended up telling him the show was amazing. He said "really?" I said "Trust me." He said he never knows from show to show how it goes. I said "you feel the music come through you don't you?" He said "yea". I said "you know, I have seen a lot of bands, and a lot of them come in and it's like they are just going through the motions while they play. You guys were so together. It's such a pleasure seeing a band play that's passionate about what they do." He said "that's really nice of you to say man. Thanks. Thanks a lot." I told him they blew away a lot of people out there that night. I waved goodbye, and he said "see ya." I said my goodbyes to Adam, and he said he would see me again over Christmas, as he is staying with my friend for a few days. I said ok. I shook Danny's hand, and Justin gave me a hug. He said I was a great person. He said I had didn't have to give that girl's message to him, but I did. He said she is a friend of his, and it was nice to see her. He hugged me again. I said I hope my path crossed with TOOL's again, and Ted said it would. Hmmmm. My friend called my name, and gave me my poster. She took it, and the whole band signed it. I said thanks again for the opportunity, and good luck on the rest of the tour. They said thanks and goodbye. I exited the bus with a warm, wonderful feeling. Sorry it was so long, but I wanted to remember everything, headake