the tool page

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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Kerrang!

Date: October, 2001

Transcribed by
Kazio Ambroz (

  page: 38
 title: Art and Soul. Tool indulge their prog rock tendencies in NYC


Support: Fantomas
Madison Square Garden,
New York
Monday October 1

KKK ( = Good)

The afternoon before Tool's sold-out perfomance at Madison 
Square Garden, a friend remarked to me that "if the terrorists 
wanted to kill 15,000 people at one shot, they could blow up 
the Garden tonight". I thanked him for sharing this epiphany 
before I headed off to the show. One of the consequences of 
the events of September 11 is that what would normally be a 
mass gathering of the tribes, now also carries the stigma of 
possibly being an easy mass target. Tonight, though, the 
vibe inside this cavernous arena is anything but morbid for 
openers Fantomas. Perplexed might be a better word.
   Lead singer Mike Patton still commands loyalty from the 
crowd for his work with Faith No More. But with Fantomas, 
Patton's joke is frankly not that fun, or else I just don't get it. 
When I go see a band perform, I like to hear songs: well-
crafted constructions of melody and arrangement that 
produce an emotional response. When I listen to Fantomas, 
all I hear are random bursts of noise with Patton alternately 
(and inarticulately) screeching or crooning, inducing nothing 
but a yawn or a headache.
   We are treated - if that's the word - to several tunes off 
Fantomas' new film theme collection, 'The Director's Cut'. 
Personally though, I don't see the point of reducing the 
theme from 'The Omen' to so much avant-noise rubble. And 
Fantomas merely prove that 'art' can be boring as hell.
   Which brings us to Tool. Taking the stage with the same 
majestic, mysterious presence which dominated their show 
last May at the smaller Hammersmith Ballroom. This time, 
the band take what could be a deadly 75-minute 
performance and stretch it to a patience-straining two hours 
with enough self-indulgent twaddle to give Pink Floyd pause 
for thought.
   Things start off well enough with the epic 'The Grudge', 
which leads directly into 'Sober', which sees the usually stoic 
band actually loosening up and even jamming a little. 
There's more interaction overall between the band 
memebers, although Maynard James Keenen remains rooted 
to his shadowy platform at the back of the stage for almost 
the entire night, sounding as perfect as ever. 'Undertow' 
and 'Parabola' follow up the openers with the same regal 
precision and hypnotic power, as giant video screens 
undulating unceasingly above and behind the band members 
show imagery both macabre and psychedelic.
   It's the middle of the set where things go wrong. The 
already lengthy 'Reflection' finds three-quarters of the band 
leaving the stage, while guitarist Adam Jones strums the 
same chord for - I kid you not - 15 minutes. Then Jones 
abandons the stage altogether while two silver humanoids 
(popped fresh out of one of the band's videos) crawl 
onstage. The duo then ascend to the rafters, where they 

suspend themselves by their feet and swing and dangle, 
occasionally grappling with each other as if in an extremely 
drunken porno film. This goes on for another 15 minutes or 
so, until the band gradually stroll onstage and resume the 
set. Frankly by this point it wouldn't be surprising if the 
auidence had forgotten who they're here to see.
   Tool resume with even more cuts of 'Lateralus', 
while 'Stinkfist' and 'Prison Sex' are nowhere in sight. The 
show finally comes back to life (as does the crowd) 
with 'Aenima', and reaches a crescendo with 'Lateralus'' title 
track. Long as it is, the song builds and builds to an epic 
climax, much like another absent favourite from the 'Aenima' 
album, 'Third Eye'.
   So this is 'okay' Tool, with flashes of the usually brillant 
Tool at the beginning and end. No-one could accuse this 
band of ever playing it safe, but there's a thin line between 
offering your auidence a good mindfuck and simply 
alienating them. Tonight, like Tool themselves, that line was 
hard to pin down.

(What follows is a little box where they ask some fans from 
the show some questions. Q1) Name, Age, Where From, Q2) 
How was the gig for you?, Q3) Highlight, Q4) Is Maynard the 
best vocalist in rock?)

Fan 1

1) Jose Mangin, 24, Arizona
2) The show was a complete mindfuck. I'm still trying to get 
over the whole thing
3) The goose-bumps I got on Sober
4) Close, but I'd have to say Mike Patton is closer.

Fan 2

1) Chris Mullahey, 24, The Bronx, NY
2) The show was awesome. I wish they did a couple more 
older songs, but it was still good.
3) Parabola. They didn't do the slow introduction and just 
went into the hardcore part.
4) It used to be Eddie Vedder, but now I do think it's 

Fan 3

1) Kitty Duvester, 17, Port Jefferson Station, NY
2) Amazing! This is the first time I've seen them, and I've 
been a fan for so long that to finally be there and see 
something that you love so much in person - it's 
3) Every song was a highlight!
4) Oh, yeah. There's no question about it!

Posted to t.d.n: 10/24/01 18:00:22