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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: billboard 200

Date: May, 2001

Transcribed by
woody (

 title: Tool may 20 2001 New York (Hammerstein ballroom)
author: Dylan Gadino

May 21, 2001 

Tool May 20, 2001New York (Hammerstein Ballroom)

Just five days after the highly anticipated release of its third 
full-length effort, "Lateralus" (Volcano), prog-metal clinicians 
Tool fastened themselves securely to the stage at New York's 
Hammerstein Ballroom Sunday (May 20) to deliver over two 
hours of radio hits in addition to their monstrously long 

After a five-year absence, "Lateralus" marks Tool's most 
experimental attempt to date, and the live setting only 
reinforced the Los Angeles-based quartet's love of mystery 
and tongue-in-cheek morbidity. Saturated with a gaggle of 
psychedelic lighting and computer-animated screen stories, 
the group finessed its way though 14 meticulously executed 
songs and managed to represent each of its four major 
releases spanning a nine-year recording career.

Dressed completely in black, squeaky bald vocalist Maynard 
James Keenan, guitarist Adam Jones, and bassist Justin 
Chancellor combined managed to move less than a few feet 
during the sold-out show. Keenan, known for sporting a 
number of gender-bending costumes, wigs, and prosthetics, 
arrived on stage conservatively with black leather pants and a 
long sleeve shirt (after intermission he would change into a 
black halter top). 

Each member, including the petite singer, was cloaked in 
shadows throughout the entire set, allowing the audience to 
see little more than flashes of silhouettes. Keenan strayed 
from his personal riser positioned near the back of the stage 
right only once -- a few seconds before launching into "Prison 
Sex" -- and did little more than jerk his limbs, crouch, march 
mechanically, and sing to the giant two screens behind him. 
While drummer Danny Carey carried on as if he actually 
enjoyed himself -- effortlessly banging away at his double 
bass kit from the opener "The Grudge" to closing hours later 
with "Lateralis" -- his bandmates seemed smitten keeping 
the mystery alive. 

Jones and Chancellor's tilt-head-down-and-play style was 
interrupted by a burst of explicit energy during "Lateralis." 
The pair bobbed their heads when Carey blasted into a rare 
steady groove, and Chancellor's subtle diving bass line was 
even conspicuous enough to incite two small mosh pits on 
either side of the venue floor.

But for the most part, the others were dwarfed by Keenan and 
the giant center screen, as well as the frequently disturbing 
video images of slug-like atrocities, hermaphrodites, nude 
women in peril, and animated man-creatures. Indeed, these 
visuals became so much a part of the stage show that a 
video for new single "Schism," shown during a brief 
intermission, evoked one of the most energetic responses of 
the night.

Making little effort to engage the crowd, Keenan did thank 
the audience for their support. "Thanks for voting for us," he 
said, in reference to the new album's impending debut in the 
upper reaches of The Billboard 200. "We'd kiss your babies 
but we don't want to get spit all over us." In a likely comment 
on today's rap-drenched metal scene, he suggested, "maybe 
between us and Rage Against the Machine [who have been in 
the studio with Chris Cornell] we can erase all the bullshit 
that's been happening over the years." 

The statement was timed well, as Tool then floated their way 
into new songs "Disposition" -- a quiet five minute segue 
replete with thudding tom-toms and clean picked guitars -- 
and the monotonously psychedelic, 11-minute "Reflection.," 
a down-tempo meandering concoction soaked with vocal 
effects and precise tribal drumming.

Mystery and monotony aside, Tool still knows the crowd 
needs an occasional hook. To that end, the band offered 
superlative renditions of popular singles "Stinkfist," "Forty Six 
& 2," and the 1998 Grammy-winning "Aenema," which found 
the audience shouting, "fuck these dysfunctional insecure 
actresses" in an ode to the destruction of Los Angeles. "This 
song hasn't come true yet but we're still hoping," Keenan 
said before the song. 

Notable omissions included the singles "H" and "Eulogy." But 
a stunning version of the slightly poppy "Opiate," from the 
1992 EP of the same name, made it clear that although the 
hooks have diminished throughout the years, Tool's 
progressive freak show has stayed very much the same.

Here is Tool's setlist:
"The Grudge"
"Forty Six & 2"
"Prison Sex"
(Intermission: "Schism" video)

-- Dylan P. Gadino, N.Y.

Posted to t.d.n: 06/10/01 12:50:40