Friday, July 2, 2010

Tool Concert Review - St. Paul Xcel Energy Center (with Set List)

I attended the Tool concert tonight at the X in St. Paul - my first time seeing them live. What a great show, pretty much all of the way around. The set list included just about everything you'd want to hear, the band was incredibly tight and sounded fabulous, and the stage show was impeccable. My ears are still ringing, but I'm also still grinning.

Here's the set list to the best of my recollection:

Third Eye
(-) Ions
Eon Blue Apocalypse
The Patient
Forty-Six & 2

Some random thoughts on tonight's show:
  • It really is remarkable the sound that these four guys can put out. The rhythm section of Danny Carey and Justin Chancellor pound out a heavy pulse that is the core of all that Tool does, while guitarist Adam Jones weaves into the deep and then back out again. Mix in the great vocal arrangements of Maynard James Keenan, and the band really does sound bigger than the sum of its parts.
  • There was a lot of use of their videos, which was OK, but I would have preferred original material for the live show.
  • Opening band was Dälek , an industrial hip-hop duo, and frankly they were a total miss. There was very little connection between the crowd and the band. It didn't help that the vocals were incredibly muddy in sound. I just didn't see much of a fit there, although they did join the boys for a jam on Lateralus at the end of the show that actually worked pretty well.
  • I found the crowd really interesting. They were much more subdued than what I had expected; into it, yes, but not raging and hopping all over the place like something you might see a a Buckcherry show or something like that. It was interesting to watch, and I kind of likened it to crowds at a Rush show vs. a Van Halen show in the early 80's. The Rush/Tool crowd just seems more cerebral. And that really is the word I'm looking for - cerebral. 
  • It's interesting these guys are touring as they haven't had a new release since 10,000 Days in spring of 2006. Whatever the reason, I'm glad they did.
  • Keenan spent the entire night in the shadows, and had scant interaction with the crowd. There was one quick "hello" and the message "everything will turn out alright," after the opening song, then a "see, I told you everything would work out," right before the closing number. That's it.  Definitely not your typical rock-star stage presence.

Great band, great show. Highly recommended.


  1. Even though they don't change up their setlist much nowadays, they still put on an amazing show. The visualizations always kill me, especially how they add more screens to the mix as the show progresses.

  2. @ndy, I agree about the visualizations. It really makes the concert a multi-sensory event.

    Thanks for posting up.

  3. My dad and I attended this concert. It was my first time (I'm 14) seeing Tool live and I think it was the best it could have possibly been, aside from the marijuana smoking all around me. The sound was great, and I agree that dalek was not very good. One of my only complaints was the lack of an encore, as most live bands have an encore, and also the lack of interaction with the crowd, which I would really liked to see more of. Overall I truly enjoyed the show, and would definitely see it again.

  4. Mitch, that's pretty cool that you and your dad could do this show together. My dad loved music as well, and while his tastes were quite young for his age, I think Tool would have been a little too much for him. I hope you guys continue to get to see a lot of shows together.

    Thanks for posting.

  5. Thanks for this review, am headed to see them tonight in San Francisco.

  6. Anon,
    I'm jealous. Stop back and let us know how it was. Have fun.

  7. I have seen TOOL over 20 times and that last tour reminded me of the first time I saw them in 1996. They opened with 3rd eye and closed with Aenima the first time I saw them too. TOOL is the best live band out there no if ands or buts. By the way, I just saw Slayer for the first time and they killed it!

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