@ SCOTIABANK ARENA, TORONTO
NOVEMBER 12, 2019
2019 will forever be remembered as the year of Tool. Few bands, if any, could have pulled off such a successful return as the progressive rock juggernauts managed on Fear Inoculum – their first record in 13 years – and the equally stellar tour which is currently taking the band across North America and will continue into 2020. In what is a surprise to seemingly everyone except for Tool fans, the band has established their relevancy as a pop cultural whirlwind thirty years into their career and their performance at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena, their second of two back to back dates with show openers Killing Joke, will serve as an unforgettable testament to just that.
Opening with the slow building “Fear Inoculum”, Tool took the stage to an incredibly excited audience who, despite the odd song choice for a show opener, were captivated from the moment the electronic intro kicked off before the band came in with the melodic and rhythmic riff. The band performed much of their set behind a stingy white curtain that allowed for the audience to see through the individual strands while the band projected an array of lights and images onto the curtain. The use of a white stage, lasers that matched the busyness of drum Danny Carey’s fills, and massively towering screens with unique imagery furthered the visual mirage that made for a truly complete concert experience.
With guitarist Adam Jones and bassist Justin Chancellor at the front of the stage, vocalist Maynard James Keenan sang on square risers which flanked Carey’s huge kit on both sides of the stage. Beyond the title track, the band played a number of tracks from Fear Inoculum, including “Pneuma”, “Invincible”, and a drum solo by Carey that was greatly inspired by the electronic-driven polyrhythms of “Chocolate Chip Trip”. While we were all hoping to hear “7empest”, these tracks came to life in a live setting, and when performed along a career-spanning setlist that included older material like “Part Of Me” and classic tracks of the likes of “Ænima”, “The Pot”, “Parabola”, “Vicarious”, and “Jambi”, the latter which featured Killing Joke’s Roi Robertson on a keyboard solo; one can better understand the musical direction taken by Tool on Fear Inoculum. Further highlights also included “Schism”, which featured an extended bridge, seamlessly performed at twice the speed of the rest of the song, an explosive “Forty Six & 2”, and a jaw dropping and extended “Stinkfist”complete with a heavy, relentless, and rhythmic instrumental bridge that circled through different riffs and motifs from the song before making its way back to the final chorus to close out the night.
To call the recent Tool concert epic feels like a slight understatement. For their first concert in Toronto since 2012, Tool returned true to form, better, stronger, and tighter than perhaps ever. Every track was performed perfectly with a level of musical mastery, sophistication, and taste from all four members of the band. Between that and the use of highly immersive visuals, the band brought a show that was unlike any other and one that stands among the best shows you can see. It is clear that we are witnessing Tool at yet another mind-blowing peak into their career; one that is driven by both their live performance and their studio output, and ultimately establishes them as one of the strongest and most unique bands you will find today.