Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Concert Review: Tool (San Diego, May 3, 2007).

At the outset of Tool's appearance at Cox Arena, Maynard James Keenan ("Maynard") acknowledged those legion of fans who ventured south from Los Angeles to experience this San Diego concert.

After the LA fans cheered themselves, Maynard told the LA fans that they were in San Diego, so they should leave their Hollywood BS at the door. This admonishment drew an even larger cheer from the San Diego contingent.

Shortly before Maynard's comments, a gentleman behind me remarked to the individual seated next to him that his seat was perfect because he would be able to see Maynard clearly. The other guy informed him that he wouldn't see Maynard because he doesn't show himself to the crowd--a phenomenon I wrote about here:

Taken together, these comments illustrate how Maynard shuns the typical Hollywood-rockstar pastiche.

I realize there is a seeming inherent contradiction in one who makes his living in show business and simultaneously repudiates it or at least parts of it. Nevertheless, the show did go on. This concert deviated from the prior one as the set list drew more heavily on older material, especially 1996's Aenima, including "Forty-Six and Two" and "Aenema" (which Maynard noted they rarely play in concert), and deemphasized 2006's 10,000 Days. The band also changed the order of songs, placing the newest material later into the set (but did not conclude with any of it). There was no encore to speak of--Tool simply thanked the crowd, hugged each other at center stage, and left after about a two-hour performance.

Cox Arena is a smaller venue than Staples Center, although for some reason the sound was not as loud this time around. Nevertheless, Maynard's voice was clearer. The group employed the same basic light and stage effects (a stage much like a dry erase board and lasers), but due to less room, had to make some adjustments with the video screens, which, of course, never showed Maynard's (or the other band members') countenance.

Finally, the folks running Cox Arena should take a bow because in addition to forbidding alcohol sales, they provided free parking in the convenient parking structure adjacent to the venue, which mercifully allowed for easy egress from the locale and trouble-free ingress to the freeway--for the legions of fans to make their way back up to LA.

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