the tool page

spark becomes a flame

This site is no longer being updated. See here for details. Follow me here and here for updates. Thank you for 22 great years. (And yes, lyrics are posted for new album "Fear Inoculum".)


select a year

The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Knoxville News-Sentinel

Date: November, 2002

Transcribed by
Stu (

 title: Review: Tool uses strange elements to build concert's structure
author: Wayne Bledsoe

Ever feel as if you've been part of a strange social 
experiment? That's a little what it's like to attend Tool's 
latest tour. Thirty-five years ago, the Grateful Dead took its 
audience on acid tests. Tool attempts to do something 
similar without the benefit of electric Kool-Aid. 

The band played to a crowd of 4,000 fans who seemed 
mostly between the ages of 13 and 35 Tuesday at the 
Knoxville Civic Coliseum. During the two-hour-plus set, the 
hard rock group performed songs from the 
albums "Lateralus," "Aenima" and "Undertow," but this was 
anything but a typical rock show. 

Onstage, the members of Tool were almost anti-rock stars. 
There were no spotlight-illuminated solos. Singer Maynard 
James Keenan spent the evening on a slightly raised 
platform at the rear of the stage in near-total darkness and 
sometimes nearly immobile. Bassist Justin Chancellor, 
guitarist Adam Jones and drummer Danny Carey were only 
slightly more visible. This wasn't so much a rock concert as 
the soundtrack to a needle being prodded into the soft tissue 
of the subconscious. 

It was like rock music as designed by artists Hieronymus 
Bosch and H.R. Giger, filmmakers Luis Bunuel and David 
Lynch, and the occasional mental patient. 

Two giant screens played videos that most often included 
disturbing images. Anyone who has seen a Tool video on 
MTV has a good idea of what to expect, although the concert 
videos are especially tailored for the band's show and often 
have nothing to do with images an audience has seen 
before. Tuesday the screens displayed muddy scenes of eye 
surgery, people who seemed to be made of sand nursing raw 
red wounds, bodies that twisted into new shapes, a mass of 
malicious black cells that killed a stop-animation-created 
creature who was then bisected They were closer to scenes 
from "Eraserhead" or "Un Chien Andalou" than any normal 
rock video. 

Although the sound was uncharacteristically clear for a 
Coliseum rock show and Keenan is one of hard rock's best 
vocalists, Keenan's cryptic lyrics were nearly impossible to 
make out. The bass- and drum-driven songs often built 
slowly and methodically. They utilized subtly unusual rhythms 
and created an odd sense of tension. Then again, the 
tension sometimes continued when the band left the stage. 
At one point, the stage went dark, the group left and a quick 
electronic pulse built for nearly five-minutes while a video 
slowly changed overhead. It went on until the audience got 
restless and built an odd sense of drama. 

Yet, the most dramatic moment of the show was made up of 
a 20-minute piece in which members of opening act 
Mesuggah joined the group on percussion and electronics. It 
was a climax that might nearly have been able to be part of 
a standard rock concert. Nearly. 

At one point, the group screened a short bit of Timothy Leary 
delivering his "question authority" message. Taken as a 
whole, Tool's concert should have every audience member 
questioning every rock concert they've ever seen. 

Posted to t.d.n: 11/06/02 10:51:36