3/9, Reno Events Center

I’m standing in a line four blocks long. Everyone I see is obviously glad to be here. I’m still relatively new to Tool, but with a deep respect for them, so
it’s cool to witness this. The appreciation of this band has developed into a cult—or a brotherhood, whichever you prefer. I learn that the guy next to me bought a ticket and flew here from Chicago. Awesome. (The tickets sold out in ten minutes, mind you.)

I’m inside now. The opening band Failure is already playing. Despite their really encouraging band name, they do succeed as an opening band. As waves of pilgrims enter, Failure keeps the energy moving with solid, three- piece, easy-mode heavy rock. I totally had a few moments of saying, “That was sick.”

Failure finishes. Lights go on. Time passes; bathroom breaks happen; high- fives happen.

Lights go out. Bass-y warbles begin. The crowd releases their built-up anticipation with an arena-sized shout. This is it. Tool has begun.

We’re introduced to a purple and white electrified man speaking on three jumbo screens.

“Think for yourself. Question Authority.”

Another arena-sized approval. A deep pink fills the back of the stage. The singer is just a black, moving silhouette, but at least I can see the drummer, Danny Carey, effortlessly educating the world in rhythm, all while sporting his classic basketball jersey. “Third Eye” begins the journey, which according to the beautiful, bubbly girl next to me was “the song everyone wants, but never expects.” These seasoned storytellers seamlessly transitioned between songs with tasteful, improvised jam-space, giving the narrative an even more flowing and live experience. My personal moment was during “Schism”: rippling chills up the spine and all.

Time bends. Has it been an hour? Two hours? I don’t really know, but these men are masters of dynamics and this room is an ocean of multi-media journeying. Each song is accompanied by three jumbo screens of psychedelic visuals, most featuring designs by the legendary Alex Grey. Oh, and did I mention the arena-level light show? Song-synchronized, multi-colored flood lights, and LASERS. Imagine a fan of lasers sweeping up and down the room, covering every inch of the arena, and then shooting from every direction. Fucking amazing. A lot is left unsaid on a record, and here, the imagination is given beautiful fulfillment in the form of laser ecstasy.

The track “Stinkfist” is the end of the journey, finishing the night with an explosion of confetti. My only qualm with the night is how far I am from the stage. I generally crave my shows up close and personal, but this is an arena, after all… It’s all good. LASERS.

Tool is truly a beautiful display of groundbreaking, multi-dimensional art. These men are well into their forties, and are flawless, not to mention still together, which I admire heartily.

I had a blast. This show was like going to church—the good kind. It was an honor to see men who have established such a musical and artistic standard; one that I am excited to see transcended. Now go sit in a dark room and listen to their album Lateralus. 

Written by Crown

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