TOOL – Red Rocks Amphitheater – Morrison, CO – June 28, 2010
By Ross Dougherty
I should preface this by saying that I’ve been a fan of Tool since I started listening to music, and this was my first time seeing them live and my first concert at Red Rocks, so take this as you will.
Visually, the show was amazing, as one would expect from a band like Tool. A large wide screen lit the band from behind while several smaller screens framed the entire stage. They flashed animations reminiscent of the artwork from their last four albums while green and red lasers panned over the crowd, seemingly caging us in from the Denver skyline on the horizon and the large orange harvest moon peeking from behind the clouds. Danny, Adam, and Justin were well lit with spotlights the entire show while Maynard remained silhouetted against the back screen.
Maynard’s vocals were very difficult to hear, however. I was expecting them to be back mixed as on their albums, but they took it a bit far. In addition, everyone knew the lyrics and was screaming along, making Maynard flat out impossible to hear in some of their bigger choruses. There were also one or two times that the band seemed to lose themselves – missing cues or playing an incorrect riff – but they quickly recovered. Yet overall, the band sounded incredible: loud, crisp and tight. Adam’s crunching guitar contrasted well with Justin’s melodic bass work, and Danny was consistent throughout the show.
The biggest surprise of the show came right at the beginning when they opened with Third Eye. This is one of my favorites, but one of the band’s trippier songs and I didn’t expect it to be played, and it was unexpected to hear lesser known songs The Patient and Intolerance. They brought out a second drummer in addition to Danny during Lateralus. I don’t know who he was, nor did he really add anything to the song. I’d have loved to hear more songs, but I suppose there are only so many 8-10 minute long progressive metal songs you can fit into an hour and a half. Still, no H, Opiate, or Rosetta Stoned was a big disappointment.
Despite the flaws, this was easily the best concert I’ve ever been to. Sure, I’m bias. I finally got a chance to see one of my favorite bands of the last fifteen years in one of the best venues in America. Yet the whole thing came together extraordinarily well. The setting, the people, the music, the visuals – everything just worked together, and the experience was amazing.
46 & 2