Tool, Allstate Arena, Chicago

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Tool captivates the arena with unbeatable live performance.

Maynard and the gang took stage as the fans jumped from their seats.

In typical fashion for the last few years, Tool kicked off their set with ‘The Grudge’ from their 3rd full length release Lateralus.  It was the only song I was allowed to photograph, but it is also a 9 minute song so I didn’t mind, until being there in the moment felt like 30 seconds had passed and the song was over.

I left the photo pit in such ecstasy.  In bringing my camera out to my car and back I made it back just in time to catch the end of ‘Parabola’.  Ending their four song Lateralus intro was ‘Schism.’  Everyone in the crowd knows it word for word since it is one of the few Tool songs to see extensive radio play.

The band took a break to let Maynard get some things off his chest.  He made comments on the current political climate with no specific finger pointing.  Here are just a couple examples:

“Ignorance is your first enemy, it’s your first hurdle.  Conquer ignorance in yourself, start there and it will spread like Chlamydia.  Believe me, I know.”

“It’ll all work out.  Or maybe not.  We’ll see.”

“We are the music makers… and we are the dreamers of dreams.”

I promised my editor that I would stay away from political talk so I will leave the quotes to speak for themselves.  The band continued their set playing a handful of their popular songs.  The most interesting and one of my personal favorites is the closing song from Ænima – ‘Third Eye.’ Depending who you ask the song has many meanings.

Most dominantly though is being self aware and that the whole album is about Carl Jung’s Analytical Psychology.  Rounding off the first set before a 12 minute intermission was forty-six & 2.

Coming back from their intermission Danny Carey gave us a peek at his amazing talents behind his massive drum kit.  After showing off for a bit the rest of the band joined the stage and knocked out three more songs for the crowd.  They played ‘The Pot’ which is only the second time since 2012, the first time being the previous show in Detroit.

They continued on with ‘Sweat’ and closing the night with ‘Stinkfist.’

Overall the set was similar to previous shows I have seen, but still amazing to watch and listen.  The band performed flawlessly throughout the entire night.  Maynard’s vocals have never sounded better, even with him getting to show case his ability to hit the hard reaching notes on the intro to ‘The Pot.’ Danny Carey is a master of his profession.  He has been voted best rock drummer multiple times and it really shows in his live sets.  Adam Jones is a mad man.  He doesn’t show much emotion when he plays, but you know it is there.

You feel it in his playing.  He truly cares about this band and it’s ability to produce quality music show after show.  What is there to say about Justin Chancellor?  The man is by far my favorite bassist.  He has the ability to create complex rhythms with his playing and make it seem so simple on stage.  Justin carries melodies song after song, which lets Adam play lead and fills.  It makes him by far one of the musicians I look up to consistently and for good reason.

If you haven’t guessed yet, Tool is my all time favorite band.  I have been listening since I was 13 and there may be times I don’t listen to them for a few weeks, but I always come crawling back.  Their music has a chance to speak to us on so many more levels than just rocking out.

They pour their souls into their albums and their live shows and the creativity and attention to detail truly shows how much effort they put into the band.  If you haven’t listened to them much, or don’t get the hype, I implore you to dive deep into their discography and find the inner peace that only Tool can bring me.

An old friend once talked to me about going to his first Tool show.  He had listened to some of their music previously, but never understood the hype.  He said that watching their live performance, and the people around them was life changing.  So don’t hesitate — get out and see this band now.

They have a few tour dates left on this run finishing in San Bernadino, CA with a huge blowout show featuring Primus, Melvins, Crystal Method, Clutch, and Fantomas.

I also want to give a special shout out to Nathan Johnson.  He hooked it up with a floor ticket last minute and made this day even more awesome!

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