Posted by: terrapraeta | July 24, 2009


I met a boy wearing Vans, 501s, and a
Dope Beastie t, nipple rings, and
New tattoos that claimed that he
Was OGT,
From ’92,
The first EP.

Tool, Hooker with a Penis

So last weekend, we went to the Mile High Music Festival in Denver. Saturday night, Tool headlining.

It was a great time.

The boys I took with me to the show had never seen Tool before and they were wildly blown away. They dug the show, the lighting effects. The crazy videos that inevitable accompany the music. One of the kids kept saying, as we drove home, “Maynard moves like a chicken.” He said he had never watched any live clips cos he wanted to see it for himself, live, and yet, it was exactly what he expected. Me? I’m not sure exactly what that means – to move like a chicken – but it was funny nonetheless.

For myself… well, I’ve seen Tool before. A few times after Lateralus came out. I saw A Perfect Circle several times, as well. So I came out of the show feeling a bit disappointed. I mean – they did not do a bad show – I’m not saying that at all. But there were a couple of things that bummed me out. For one, they opened with the one and only songs that I can say I’m not real fond of: Jambi. Not sure why, but with the release of 10,000 Days I could, for the first time, say that I have a “least favorite” song by Tool. So yeah, its still better than most music released, just not at the top of my list.

So there was that. The next thing that caught my attention: as I remember it, seeing a Tool show was very… predictable in some ways. I don’t recall them varying the songs from the album version. Now, I may recall that wrongly – and the reason for that will become clear in a moment – but at the time, my first thought was, “wow, Maynard’s off tonight”. Then it became clear that he wasn’t off, they were simply playing with their presentation in various ways. Ok, that’s kinda cool. Maybe playing the festivals more has opened them up to a little bit of the jam mentality, although it was quite obvious that all the variations they played with were absolutely pre-rehearsed. Even for those that could not “hear” that, the videos followed the same choreography, so…….

Next thing that got me, and this only occurred to me later – over the last couple years before coming to Colorado, I spent a lot of evenings hanging with an awesome Tool cover band. Hanging with, meaning going to shows, singing dancing and just generally digging being in a crowd of equally enthralled tool-heads. It was always a good time and I have written about those shows and the vibe, the interesting moments, and so forth. However, those boys absolutely performed true to the album versions, and “worse”, they often played for three hours or more. That left me feeling a bit let down when Tool closed out after only ninety minutes of performance.

So the big question… will I see them again, the next time the opportunity arises? Absolutely. But I will have to remind myself to keep my expectations under control. Because, in my opinion, they are a fabulous, talented, exceptional band. But it will never be as awesome an experience as it was the first time. Just because it was the first time.



  1. That’s a little surprising that Tool played for only 90 minutes. Was the lineup for the festival fairly dense?

    I was at 10KLF this weekend, and the headliners (WSP, Wilco, and DMB) played, on average, 2-1/2 hours.

    I would likely see Tool again, but it would be better on the pocketbook, imho, if I could catch them at a festival.

  2. Hey Joe —

    it was a little dense.. they were scheduled at 8:45 with Widespread Panic set to go at 11:45 (I think…). But they started late, waiting until it was pretty much full dark, and they finished early. But really, I don’t know that I have ever seen them play for more than two hours, and I have see them play as little as 90 minutes and possibly less… though to be fair, that was THE last show of the last leg of their Lateralus tour. So they were probably pretty exhausted that night 🙂

    I don’t know if the fest is the best way to go, unless it happens to be a fest you want to check out regardless…. this one cost me $105×2 (for my kid) after fees, and the only bands I saw that I wanted to see, were Tool and Incubus. Would have loved to stay for WSP, but had a three hour drive home facing me, so…………. but all told, it was still worth it:-)


    • Have you seen WSP before? The two shows at 10K were my first two WSP shows, and I was really, really impressed!

      Hope all is well otherwise!

      • Sort of…. they played bonnaroo at least one sunday night when I was there… but end of the weekend exhaustion had set in so i just heard them from my tent:-)

        Otherwise… yeah… there are some new stories to write, but I had my kid visiting until yesterday and I’m going out of town next week, so it may be a while til I get to it.

        be well, Joe….


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