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The Tool Page: An Article

Publication: Toronto Sun

Date: September, 2001

Transcribed by
Roman Sokal (

 title: Tool Cuts to the Bone (live review)
author: Kieran Grant

Tool cuts to the bone 

Prog-metal foursome delivers pared-down, powerful performance 
By KIERAN GRANT -- Toronto Sun
Air Canada Centre, Toronto 
Tuesday, September 18, 2001 

 TORONTO -- It could have been the contortionists. Or the films. 
 Or the fact that Tool's concert at the Air Canada Centre last night was divided not into 
the standard set/encore rock show formula, but into what were essentially two acts, 
broken up by a bizarre interlude that involved the aforementioned acrobats slowly 
inching up and then dangling from ropes above the stage. 
 Or the fact that singer Maynard James Keenan positioned himself not in front of his 
band but behind them. Or the fact that it ended with a group hug. Take your pick. 
 Point is --and there is one here somewhere -- it feels absurd zeroing in on just one 
aspect of Tool's weighty 120 minutes of stage time, the combined result of which didn't 
feel so much like a soldout rock show for 16,000 as it did a creative reaction to one. 
 The California prog-metal foursome -- whose third album, Lateralus, has topped sales 
charts this year while injecting the popular hard rock situation with a much-needed 
dose of smarts and hope -- certainly aren't the first band to try to restructure, or 

remove, the confines of live performance. 
 They are, however, the only band currently doing it at the arena level. 
 That, perhaps combined with the weight of recent events that many fans must have 
carried with them into the venue, gave last night's show a fresh sense of catharsis. 
 Rather than pander to their audience by lacing the set with hits, the band wove mostly 
new material into a string of songs that almost hung together as one long piece. 
 The Grudge and Stinkfist -- the latter coming from Tool's 1996 disc Aenima -- served 
as a sort of sonic homebase, with their sombre, head-nodding grooves and primal 
scream crescendos. 
 The group returned to this idea in the middle of the set with the thud of recent single 
Schism and near the end with Aenima's title track. But the many tangents in between 
gave the show a broader sense of dynamics, with Tool paring down at times to just a 
stuttering bass effect or some oddly lilting electric sitar from guitarist Adam Jones. 
 It was as if Tool had amassed the converted, and rather than preach to them decided 
to challenge them instead. 
 Likewise, as a performer, Keenan has backed away physically while growing stronger 
vocally over the past eight years. His roll as lead singer seemed almost inverted, with 
him tucked away howling on a platform next to the drum kit, bald and silhouetted like 
Nosferatu against the smallest of three video screens, which in turn flickered with 
animated figures in various contorted states and live-action film loops. 
 Rather than alienate, though, it just served to underline just how unique and effective 
a singer he is. 
 It wasn't until the intro to final tune Lateralus that Keenan touched on current events 
-- or made any real comment at all. 
 "I have an assignment for you," he said in suitably cryptic fashion. "Remember these 
feelings you're having: Good, bad or indifferent. Take them home with you. And in the 
coming months, create something positive that will heal the globe." 
 What Tool did can't hurt, anyway.

Posted to t.d.n: 09/23/01 18:15:30