Spencer Fleming: Editor
Well, cross one off the bucket list.
Tool made a stop In Lincoln Thursday night (5/16) and I was there to take in the band in all their creepy art-rock glory.
A few weeks ago I got a message from my old friend John asking if I was going to cover Tool when they were in town. I said “Honestly, probably not. I would love to, but the list for photo access is pretty exclusive and the tickets were pretty steep for my budget which is virtually $0.”
Well John said “You’re in luck, I have an extra ticket and I’d love to support your blog by taking you.” I couldn’t believe it! I was going to one of the biggest shows of the year in the same week that I get to meet my hero Jamey Jasta? This is too much!
The drive to Lincoln was a blast. We got to catch up on all the shows we had seen over the last few years and I got to tell John about all my crazy blog adventures like driving to Minneapolis for AFI, getting to interview Fever 333, and shooting photos for River Riot.
The time flew by and before I knew it we were at the Pinnacle Bank Arena. I have to say, the parking and gate entry at Pinnacle was probably one of the least painful concert experiences I’ve had in a long time. We had a short walk to the doors, and when we got around the corner there was a horde of people trying to get in. I was worried for a second as we got in line behind what seemed like thousands of fans, but a staff member directed us to a ramp and said we could get in much quicker that way. We made our way up the ramp and stood in line for literally 45 seconds before getting inside.
John and I strolled by the merch booth and laughed at the ridiculous cost of shirts and hoodies. I remember when a concert shirt was $20 straight up. It’s like a pre-requisite for being an arena band that you must have really expensive merch. Maybe since no one buys music anymore this is how bands can make up some of the cost? I digress.
We made our way to our seats (which were incredible by the way) and settled in for Tool! Side note: had there not been a ban on using phones you would be seeing some sick photos right now. Security was nuts. They were supposed to eject anyone who took a photo, but from what I saw they just made people delete them. I didn’t want to risk it.
While I was waiting I ran into my buddy Jake, guitarist of The Impulsive just a few rows back! If you haven’t done so already, check out our photos from River Riot. They killed it last week.
Before Tool was the band All Souls. I’m actually becoming a pretty big fan of desert rock. I can’t really tell you what qualifies a band as desert rock, but I saw All Them Witches (another desert rock band) in San Francisco last year and they were awesome! They sounded like Black Sabbath Jr. mixed with Pink Floyd.
When I saw that Tool was bringing “desert rock band” All Souls, I was intrigued to hear what they sounded like. The band’s songs were reminiscent of the Joy Formidable mixed with Queens of the Stone Age. The crushing drums, intricate guitar solos and rich pops of bass combined to form a giant wall of sound.
All Souls might not be a band I would listen to every day, but they sure held my attention and made for great support. All Souls played for about half an hour before thanking Tool for taking them on tour and saying goodnight.
After some setup, the lights went out and a giant pentagram rose above the stage. Tool emerged from the shadows and proceeded to rock!
Kicking off the set with “Anema” from the album “Aenima” the band was firing on all cylinders.
Danny Carey’s unmistakable tribal drum patterns shook the walls as fans howled with excitement!
Guitarist Adam Jones stalked around while wailing screeching riffs. Justin Chancellor slapped the base with his trademark popping style, and all the while, lead singer Maynard James Keenan just lurked in the background and didn’t step forward the entire show! After about the third song Maynard addressed the crowd with a sheepish “Lincoln.”
Maynard is known for his eccentric nature, always wearing peculiar outfits, and being very secretive. This night was no exception as he wore red plaid pants with black boots, a leather jacket, and a ridiculous fake red mowhawk.
Say what you will about his style, but man, the guy sure can sing! Now into his 50s, Maynard still has an amazing vocal range. My only complaint was during the song “Vicarious” he sang into a bullhorn the whole time. Other than that, he was impeccable.
Tool played almost all singles and two new songs from the forthcoming yet-to-be titled album set to release on August 30.
Being a more casual Tool fan the new material didn’t do much for me. During the second new song “Invincible”, I did the old “New song? Time to hit the bathroom.” But unlike most bands, I still had time to grab a water from concessions, look at merch, and casually stroll back to my seat before the song was over!
My family and I actually play a fun game called “Guess how close to our destination we’ll be when the Tool song is over” when driving in the car. Good times.
After a 12 minute intermission complete with countdown clock, drummer Danny Carey came back out. He proceeded to fiddle with a drum loop system for a good three minutes before delivering one of the most underwhelming drum solos I’ve ever seen.
Soon after, the rest of the band joined for “Vicarious” and the crowd favorite “Stinkfist.” Before “Stinkfist” Maynard said “Since you’ve been good little boys and girls, you may now use your cell phones.” “Security, stand down.” The room lit up like Christmas as fans rushed to try and capture part of the show.
I really enjoyed the fact that phones weren’t allowed during the show (other than not being able to snag a few more photos for the article) as it can become quite a distraction. I’ll typically try and grab a small clip from each show I attend, maybe a piece of a song or a drum solo, but how many times have you watched someone look through their phone the entire show? It’s so sad! Wake up and enjoy the moment, get in the pit, go wild, just HAVE FUN!
So did Tool crack my top ten shows? Not even close. Did I have an amazing time catching up with an old friend and seeing something really unique? You bet.
Special thanks to Gerald Glaza with Spotlight Omaha for the killer photos! Give Gerald a follow on Facebook and Instagram @spotlight_omaha
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