Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tool and the Golden Compass

I've been really slacking on this blog the last week or so. I think I've been averaging about 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night as well, so you should probably just be grateful that I have spared you the paranoid ramblings of a bitter and fatiqued old man....

So let me begin with a report of the Tool concert held in Salt Lake last week. I went with a very good friend of mine. His wife found out about the concert but opted not to go. She then called my wife who shares the feeling that Tool are evil and Satanic and she was more than happy to let me go with him, rather than her.

I went with pretty low expectations. A review of one of the first shows of their current tour categorized it as the worst concert the reviewer had ever seen. Based on their comments, I could see some of their critisizms, but it was definitely not a bad show.

We sat in the cheap seats, but they ended up right on the side of the stage, and we could look backstage and see everything getting setup and ready to go, including the artists.

Opening Act was Trans Am. They don't have many lyrics, actually, only one song had a few lyrics which I couldn't hear because they were mixed through some voice altering equipment. They weren't bad at all, although as I looked at the bass player, I thought... Here is a guy that probably got beat up every day in high school, and now has an arena full of people cheering for him - funny how life turns out.

Tool was incredible. It was loud. So loud my ears where still ringing 3 days later, but the mixing was excellent and so even though loud, it sounded really good. They only played about 7 or 8 songs but when songs last well over 10 minutes, you can do that. Maynard was to the left of the drum set, which was I think why the reviewer that didn't like the show was upset. I had the perfect seat to watch him. I suspect they may have been seated on the other side.

Tool is an amazing band. The drum kit itself was like nothing else I have ever seen, and the drummer made it look effortless. Both the lead and bass guitar not only played guitar, but there was a foot organ and a small keyboard that one of them used as well, and I could see the other guy well, but I suspect he may have had similar extra equipment. Maynard James Keenan was amazing. He has a phenomenal voice and flexibility like no-one else. He did stay pretty hidden, but I think he did it so that he didn't dominate the stage, rather that was done by the guitarists and the drummer - Wonder if he is a humble man? That's my take on it anyway. The lights, video and other effects where really good. They may have been better than Def Leppards, except Def Leppard mixed live shots of the show in. Most of the video for Tool included video clips from their songs. Mase me interested in the inspiration for their music. I think there is a lot of eastern influence as well as talk about spiritual connections we share.

If they come back to Salt Lake any time soon, I'll be there again - maybe with earplugs though. Kudo's to the E-Center parking people and West Valley City. The concert was over at 11 and I was home well before midnight - Can't complain about that!!

Finally, I've started sending replies to everyone who feels compelled to warn me about the Golden Compass. It comes out on Friday. I'll be seeing it Saturday, hopefully having finished the book as well. From what I can tell, a major theme in the book is that Lyra using the compass as a way to find truth is going up against a very corrupt theocracy. When you look at it in that light, I guess it's easy to understand why all the religious zealots are out to boycott the film - Imagine the nerve of Pullman, trying to inspire people to seek the truth - BASTARD!!


  1. I'm not a particular fan of Tool myself but my brother would be so jealous of your concert adventure - he loves Tool. He goes as many concerts as he can whenever they come to Australia, yep, he follows them around the country - and you know how big it is out here.
    I hear they have watered down the Golden Compass but I also hear it has polar bear fights - I look forward to your review.

  2. I'd never actually heard a Tool song until 6 months ago - I guess I've led a sheltered life!

    Haven't seen the golden compass yet, but hopefully this weekend. The fierce religeous debate still rages on, except it appears to be dividing some groups, as it isn't as bad as they all thought it would be!

  3. I am not in to Tool anymore, but I used to like them. I saw them at Saltair when I was in high school and I loved it at the time.