concert reviews firsthand, immediate, from the heart
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Review written by: Another Nomad (
Review posted on: 05/27/01 04:41:05

When I heard Tool was in England, I got my ticket right away. I much rather Tool when they are in charge of the venue - and this was no exception - but they kicked ass anyway. I've been reading that they've been doing the same set for awhile. No matter. It's a good set, right? Well, they had to do a condensed version for the Ozzfest. The Grudge Stinkfist 46 & 2 Schism Sober Parabola Aenima Lateralis I was pretty fortunate that I didn't miss the show - I got to The National Bowl at Milton Keynes at about 4:00 and as I was walking in I heard the band crank up The Grudge. Very powerful. I have to say, for an outdoor concert, the sound was remarkably good. The next song, Stinkfist really got me in a Tool mood, though. The venue is in a parkland and is literally a bowl-shaped field. You come in at the top of the outer rim, and it goes in a circle left to right, and starts descending in front of you towards the field and stage. So, you could stay up top - where the sound was actually the best - or you could start moving down. I called Mindshaker in NYC to let him hear Maynard in England. He said he could hear it well. Then I moved in and down. The sun was out - the freaks were out - and Tool was crisp and in charge. The videos were intense - but a little lost because of the sunlight. Maynard was wearing his old outfit - black underwear and high black boots. All Maynard. Adam was kind of mellow - just standing there staring out at the crowd. His guitar sang, though. Justin and Danny were rockin as usual - what can I say? How can I review them? They were awesome. I think the real mistake on the Ozzfest's planning was putting Tool so early. Slipknot is a bunch of mad cows next to Tool. They also had a small side stage where the had two bands play in between Tool and Slipknot and between Slipknot and Sabbath. Unnecessary. And, as a Sabbath fan - I'll say the show was pretty good. It was good seeing Sabbath a few miles from where they all began - but I am a real Tool snob: Tool stole the show, musically and artistically.

Review written by: Matthew Coleman ( Review posted on: 05/27/01 05:07:24

Well, what can I say? Beforehand I had some reservations about this show, mainly due to the fact that they were only playing an hour; it was in broad daylight; and it was in a field in the open air. How those reservations were dispelled! While many bands on the bill struggled with the wind and the acoustics of this venue, Tool sounded flawless. With what seemed no effort at all, they played perfectly. Tool stuck out like a sore thumb on this day. There was no moshpit, just people standing in awe. It was a refreshing change from the egotistical trendy bands that surrounded them. Some of the Papa Roach kids may not 'get' them, but who cares? When have Tool ever cared about what anybody else thinks? Playing an unfortunately short set of one hour due to the festival climate (setlist above), Tool still showed everyone up. In my opinion it was actually a travesty that they played before the likes of Amen, Slipknot and Disturbed. I had to go and sit somewhere far a way after to reflect after their performance, so it wasn't ruined by these jokes of bands. The highlight of my day was in fact meeting and chatting briefly with Danny. During Black Sabbath's set, he walked across the back of the crowd. After doing several double-takes I approached him and chatted with him for a few minutes. He is a very amiable and pleasant man. A total antithesis to the modern rock star. In a way, I see this show as a warm-up for their shows in London (hopefully I am going to both). They'll play on their own terms there, and hopefully for a lot longer...

Review written by: Jamie Summers ( Review posted on: 05/27/01 05:51:46

Uurgh I am tired, but here goes. Got there for 8am due to early coach and so had to hang around for HOURS for it to even open. I wasn't too excited about seeing any of the other bands on the venue except Sabbath and also Amen who are pretty good live. Anyway sat through hours and hours of nu-metal rubbish and I don't think it hit me that I was seeing tool until about an hour before. I got to the front of the barrier an hour before and had to wait in immense pain as mudvayne filled my ears with crap. for an hour. anyway the drum kit came up, then the guitars, the screen came down, etc etc, and the excitement kept building. I thought there wouldnt be many tool fans there at all but I actually saw quite a lot throughout the day, and a LOT more in tool shirts after the performance. so they came on, and of course were fucking incredible, the best live performance i have ever seen, easily. everybody just stood in awe of the incredibleness. my friend matt who isn't much of a fan said that every band he sees now will always be crap, simple and boring compared to Tool. A fucking INCREDIBLE day, and sabbath ended it very well. Oh a quick note on the setlist, no Parabol before Parabola... thank youuuuu tool.

Review written by: Gareth Jones ( Review posted on: 05/27/01 09:01:38

I think that it's pretty much already been said, but the Ozzfest would have been nothing without the mind-blowing spectacle that is Tool. Every band that went on before or after were mereley extraneous detail because the day belonged to Maynard, Adam, Justin and Danny. The songs were incredible, the films were awesome and complemented the music perfectly and the sound was better than any other band had on the day. It is just a shame that we only got an hour and 8 songs. Trying to pick a highlight from such a phenomenal show is almost impossible but for me personally it would have to be 'Aenema' or maybe the build up part at the end of 'Sober'. In reality it was just on big highlight. Everyone who was watching will agree that no matter who would have been on the bill Tool would still have stolen the show. It was worth the wait. To everyone going to the Brixton show on June 12 - I'll see you there. Peace.

Review written by: Mr _teatime ( Review posted on: 05/27/01 09:26:11

Im glad tool were on toward the end, becasuse I arrived right at the start of the festival and had to sit through some utter shit. So if it wasnt for the fact I had tool to look forward to I probably would have left after an hour. There were a few exceptions, HED and soulfly were on top form, and papa roach were one of the best acts of the night. Tool definately stole the show however, eliciting some of the biggest crowd responses and shocking many of the others into awed silence. The band were on top form (well i can only assume, as this is my first tool show), the only major problem being the mixing of the sound with maynard becoming unhearable on many ocasions beneath dannys continual onslaught. The video sequnces were truly inspired (any kids who cant get into 18 rated films can be guaranteed some underwater lesbian action!)and it was probably anyone who doesnt have sky's only chance to see the scism video. It was just a shame that they didnt ocassionaly cut to shots of the stage so that the people at the back could get a good look at the masters in action. Musically the band was practically flawless, with adams riff at the start of aenema actually sounding better than the album versions. If anyone has a tape of this show, I dont think ill ever forget it, so dont email me. But it would be quite useful to put on the web to use in the 'whos the best rock drummer in the world' debates they occasionaly have on shoutweb, no contest. Justin pulled of the bass effects very well, its just a shame we didnt see his face for practically the entire set. I wont bother posting the lineup, its already here, just say that particular highlights were - The grudge, 46 & 2 (crowd favourite), aenema and the closing number, possibly the most finely crafted rock song ive ever heard. Tool definately should have been on before sabbath, as the lineup went downhill form there.If anyone could understand casey chaos's reason for cancelling the amen tour please e-mail me. Slipknot were everything ive come to expect from them (not good), and were as arrogant as ever. Sabbath were pretty good, apart from Ozzy (sorry), but Tool were by far and away the best act of the day. Maynard, was that a slight lyrical error I heard in the chorus of sober? I doesnt matter, no-ones perfect, but you came pretty damn close.

Review written by: Chris ( Review posted on: 05/27/01 12:35:54

Tool emerged onto the Main Stage to eerie projections upon the screens above and to each side of the stage, not to mention the screams of the largely dedicated crowd (I say "largely" because there were a few children here and there waiting for the arrival of Slipknot - fucking heathens). Anyway, follwing the rest of the band of stage, Maynard emerged in a long leather trenchcoat and some terminator-style goggles. Stripping himself of the coat and goggles, Maynard left himself in a pair of knee-high leather boots and a pair of small, black latex shorts before the band kicked into The Grudge. Despite the new album only being a few weeks old, the crowd still sang/screamed the song word for word. The band themselves all stood in a trapesium shaped formation - Maynard and Danny alongside each other on platforms at the back of the stage, and Adam and Justin to either side at the front of the stage. Suffice to say, at this moment in time, what I was seeing was like a religious experience for me. The band ploughed the set without moving, allowing the images upon the screens to carry the set visually. Of course, I'm sure many people will say that the band were boring to watch, but the fact is that Tool worked more as a theatre pit orchestra providing a soundtrack for the images onscreen. That said, Maynard did provide the most by way of movement as he writhed and twitched to every syllable he threw forth. Despite Tool's glorious presence, I found myself annoyed to a minor degree in places - when Maynard asked the crowd, "Did you miss us?", some little girl had the nerve to scream, "Fuck off". I swear I really felt like going back, breaking her nose and then forcing her to watch the rest of the set with her eyes and ears open. My only other minor gripe was despite the warning that crowdsurfers would be ejected from the venue, one guy happened to risk it. It just happened that of all the people in the audience at the barrier, I was the one he had to pass over to get to the barrier. I received a kick in the eye, but I'm used to it, so I wasn't really bothered. as a side note, because of all these restrictions that were put in place by the organisers, crowdsurfing was at a record low for a show like this. While to complain about surfers is hypocritical on my part (I have partaken in the activity several times), I was happy to see this new rule in place - it successfully removed a lot of the paranoia about being in the front at a show. Anyway, back to Tool - in short, the band were a revelation - Maynard was pitch perfect, Danny Carey is a fucking DRUM GOD - no signs of strain to meet each beat here, Adam's guitar was hypnotic and Justin was just completely into it (hope he heard the shouts of "Welcome home, Justin"). The set list was as follows... The Grudge Stinkfist 46 & 2 Schism Sober Parabola Aenema Lateralus Honestly and seriously, people, there is not a better live band on the planet right now than Tool.

Review written by: The Outsider ( Review posted on: 05/28/01 10:02:34

I arrived at the venue at around about 9 and me and my friends stood outside the gates for ages untill they opened and we flooded into the huge Bowl. Tool are my favourite band but at that time I had ages till they would be on so me and my friends went into the crowd for Raging Speedhorn ( we were killed!!! ) and Soulfly ( Corey did the Jump da Fuck up!!! ). After this we sat around for along time untill Mudvayne were on and I knew that the next band would be TOOL!!!! I went down to the main stage about three songs before the end of Mudvayne to get my place and I finally ended up at the front ( or bout one persobn in front of me ). Once Mudvayne finished the tension built up and everyone was starting chants for tool as well as throwing bottles around the front area. I continually shouted for Maynard. All of a sudden the music being played from the giant speakers stopped and the crowd cheered. A dark and eerie sound filled the bowl and out strided Danny Carey Adam Jones Chancellor. The screens behind them showed the lateralus eye and is was screaming MAYNARD at the top of my voice. Then all of a sudden there he was. He was wearing nothing apart from black boxers with a shaven head and he was carrying a towl. The first song they played was 'The Grudge' and it really got the crowd going as Maynard shoted 'wear your grudge like a crown of negativity'!!! Once the crowd had been started and Adam had changed guitar ( I am sure he did this for very song ) They played old classics like Stinkfist and 46 & 2. Maynard introduced 'Schism' as a song about survival and he also thanked us for showing him our hope and faith which has always been there since their beginning. He asked if it was okay if they stayed around our country for a while which was just greeted by screams. I had almost completely lost my voice. I kindof lost track of the order of the set but I know that they played Schism Sober H Parabola ( exploding straight into it without Parabol like on their own tour ) Aenema and they finished on Lateralis. At the end each band member threw out a bottle of water they were using and Danny Threw out his prized Drum sticks.

Review written by: zr ( Review posted on: 05/28/01 12:57:15

actually they didn't play h. everything everyone else said was about right though..

Review written by: Pubely McCumber ( Review posted on: 05/29/01 05:31:46

Tool @ Ozzfest. Obviously Tool were the highlight of the day, because that was the reason I went. Well that and to do an interview with Amen (Fig & Larkin - nice guys). Whilst bumming around in the hospitality area I managed to speak to Justin for a bit. Very nice down to earth guy, and it showed how much the whole Tool thing meant to him as he knew exactly how many copies they had sold in the States in the first week (555,222 - and as somebody pointed out makes 777, The Neighbour Of The Beast) and where the record went in loads of different countries. He also assured me that they would have the same stage setup as the rest of the tour. As far as the gig went, I was surrounded by unintelligent metal fans, completely not understanding any of it. I had to move away from them. They started with The Grudge - very good Next Stinkfist - many people recognised this one so people started to become interested. I can't actually remember the order of the set even I think it was then 46 & 2, Schism, Sober, Parabola, Aenima, and Lateralis. If people weren't paying attention at the start, 46 & 2 enthralled the entire crowd, especially with the visuals crashing in time with the chords and drums at the end. People knew Sober, unfortunately Adam didn't perform the high wail near the end. I'm not sure if he does or not live. It was when Maynard started the breathing at the beginning of Aenema that the whole arena took notice. Not a sound out of anyone during that perfectly performed song. And after that they could only stand in awe at Lateralis. It wasn't as mind blowing as I expected but that was understandable for the facts that it was in daylight, the sound wasn't perfect and they only had an hour. But what it did do was really excite me for the Brixton show on the 11th June. Now that is going to be something to behold.

Review written by: Rick ( Review posted on: 05/29/01 07:43:19

I've waited for years to experience Tool live, ever since i heard Aenima about a year after it was first released i've been hooked on the band and they were the main reason i spent nearly £100 getting to the Ozzfest to see them. I have to admit i was a little dissapointed when i first heard that the band would be playing in broad daylight (4:45-5:45 in the afternoon) and without their full light show but they put on one hell of a show- the projections were incredible, clips from all promo videos intersperced with new material they perfectly complemented the music making for a very impressive visual feast. The band themselves were flawless, every riff, melody and rhythm from the albums coming across perfectly in the live setting, they play a good mix from the three full length albums and keep thousands enthralled for an hour. I can't remember the exact order but they played the following songs: The Grudge Stinkfist 46&2 Schism Sober Parabola Aenema Lateralis/Lateralus (whatever) Every song sounded perfect, pristine and tight- like the studio versions but still retaining that "live feel". The only let down was knowing that they were playing after Mudvayne and before Slipknot so there were hundreds of 12 year olds with attitude problems who didn't 'get' why Maynard wasn't screaming the word FUCK every other word. Oh well, they're missing out because the Tool live experience is truly a thing of beauty. In a word: Transcendant

Review written by: Whit ( Review posted on: 05/29/01 10:23:29

I can't help the feeling that there's been a lot of snobbery about the rest of the crowd at Milton Keynes AND about a lot of the bands. Yes, Tool were extraordinary and exemplary, but, in their own ways, few of the other bands were what one could describe as slouches. Papa Roach were extremely prosaic and Hed (pe) were supremely well timed to allow the crowd to go for lunch, but a lot of bands made a lot of new friends that day, most especially Black Label Society, Mudvayne (sorry to counter people on this but they transferred a studio-heavy sound to a surprisingly graceful and gracious stage presence) and Disturbed, who carried off the award for most straight-forwardly charismatic performance of the day. Slipknot have been better (there's been a lot of talk about Tool needing darkness or an indoor venue, but the same could be said of Slipknot today) but they still put on a fantastic show. Let's also talk about something very important here: this was actually Tool's most important UK date so far in their career. They've barely been here since playing ratholes with the late, lamented Paw in the early nineties and this was most people present's first real exposure to their work. From that point of view, it was an extremely succesful day for the band. Much of their media presence has been based around the fact that there is no-one who sounds like them or works live like them, and that will often mean that they don't get the mass audience that more populist acts manage. However, exposure on line-ups like Ozzfest are how bands like Tool will get noticed: think US radio is unfriendly towards them, then you've never suffered the arrant misery of UK broadcasting, I can tell you that. A lot of people saw the band and liked them, including a lot of people obviously there to see other acts. Let's please get over the "all Slipknot fans are under 16": they have a pretty wide fanbase and in front of the lighting booth, where I was stood, there was a great and mixed crowd for both bands. A lot of people in Slipknot shirts (myself included) were ALSO there to see Tool and not just grabbing space before the crush. In fact, far from just being a good day for Tool, I think it was an extremely good day all round.

Review written by: Evan ( Review posted on: 05/30/01 07:25:03

OH MY GOD!!! It has of course been years since Tool have graced our shores with their genius, and it was worth the wait. I won't bang on, but take my word for it... anyone lucky enough to be going to the upcomin shows will not be dissapointed. I have some very bad quality pictures taken by a friend. If you e mail me I will happily send them to you. WARNING: they really are not very good, but you can make out whats on the screens, which will give you a bit of a taste for what is to come.

Review written by: völli ( Review posted on: 05/30/01 13:30:29

Great! Tool rulez!! Well.....the show....I wasn't there but I'm dreaming that I was!! An hour show....I hope they play the same songs in finland coz they have also an hour show in provinssirock!!

Review written by: Sam ( Review posted on: 05/31/01 13:08:50

Shit, fuck, bugger, the fucking education system. Not only have I got exams on both days they are playing in London, and to top it all off I have one the day after. Fucking Labour are gay. After seeing them at Milton Keynes I could shoot the exam timetable bastard. An hour was not enough to keep me happy for another 5 years before their next tour. I dont know how to describe seeing Tool. Its not as though you've gone to a gig. Listening to songs that have been your bible for so long seem surreal when you are on the barrier 10 yards away from your idols. All of the spiritual essence in their music and lyrics seem so fitting. The sound was mesmerising. hard luck to all those far back, but you could see the screen great from the front, but with only an hour you dont know what to do. I had my eyes closed for most of it just thinking "fuck, Im listening to TOOL". Lateralis ruled, I didnt think Dannys drumming on that would be possible but I saw him doing it, amazing. parabola needed Parabol before it I thought if only for the orgasmic blending of the two. The Grudge was strange as being on the front row you could see all the hard fans getting to grips with being so close. Set needed Opiate and Eulogy. I would sell my soul to see them at Brixton. Im now off to shoot that twat Blunkett. TOOL should be part of the curriculum.

Review written by: scot ( Review posted on: 06/02/01 15:28:02

"the tao (TOOL show) that can be put into words, is not the real tao (TOOL show)" -? ...having that said, I can merely say the concert was amazing and no words spoken, writen, or typed will do it justice... So im going whine about the things below the stage... You fucking wankers think you go to a Tool show to show off your fucking muscles? I hate you fuckers who don't even by the album, but your daddy's friend's friend works for a record company, and he owed him a favor for a blow job, and you got ticket because you thought of it as an opertunity to show the world you are the missing link...FUCK YOU. Fuck your chromosomes, or lack their of.... FUCK YOU. (ogts [i use that loosely] excluded)

Review written by: Stafford Isaacs ( Review posted on: 06/03/01 13:02:47

Before today I had never seen Tool Live. They were outstanding. They should have been second on the bill. Awesome. The best live performance I have heard/seen. I was shell shocked after the performance. Tool come back and play a 2 hour set at the NEC.