Tool - Allphones Arena, Sydney

Written by Shane Arnold

Tool - Allphones Arena, Sydney

This is the third Tool tour without a new album behind them, which is massive evidence indeed that Australia loves Tool and will gladly attend what is effectively yet another tour of the same old songs, albeit with 1 or 2 changes for each tour.

It’s common knowledge that vocalist Maynard has been a little ill this tour: he was clearly holding back his performance and couldn’t hold the longer notes. It was uninspiring in some parts, but more than adequate and really quite admirable that he was able to pull it off with little noticeable impact on most of the songs. This was of course largely due to the fine efforts of godlike drummer Danny Carey, guitarist Adam Jones, and Justin on bass – they were clearly stepping up their game and it was most appreciated.

Featuring no new material, tonight’s show was another ‘best of’, this time half the set coming from Tool’s magnum opus Aenema – the highlight being show opener Third Eye and a totally monstrous Pushit. Unfortunately, there was nothing from Opiate or Undertow. As is usually the case, Tool only pull out 1 or 2 songs from their early work, but it was not to be tonight.

The opening 45 minutes was classic Tool: the tight riffs, thundering rock and especially the trippy visuals during Vicarious. But when the rather pointless Intension reared its head, it robbed the performance of its gathering momentum and really killed the mood in the arena. Following it up with the epic Lateralus was a saving move, but this was immediately followed by an intermission, which only dropped the atmosphere again, although it was a great call displaying a 12-minute intermission countdown, before Danny Carey returned for an impressive drum solo, which lead into a heavy as fuck Jambi from the underwhelming 10,000 Days album.

But what followed really sealed the deal on the night: a stunning triple of Forty Six & Two, Aenema, and Stinkfist. Damn mighty fine way to close the show, despite Maynard struggling during Stinkfist. A nice touch was a dedication to Slayer guitar maestro Jeff Hanneman, who has sadly passed away, although dedicating a song that is ostensibly about anal fisting may seem an odd choice.

With Tool currently working on a new album, it’s safe to say their next tour with no doubt feature new songs in the set, plus the usual favourites. In any event, given Australia’s affection for Tool, the next tour won’t be far off. This is intelligent prog rock at its finest, and we love them for it.

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