[live review] Tool + Yob @ the Garden

Photo by Tim Bugbee. Click for more photos.

All reported eccentricities regarding TOOL's live show -- and Maynard James Keenan's general distaste with having people look at him -- were largely confirmed for myself about the midway point of Saturday's sold-out TD Garden affair.

Amidst a barrage of lasers and fuck-all end-of-days imagery, I pulled out my trusty Flip Cam, hoping to capture some audio/video accompaniment for the sake of your blog reading enjoyment. Barely a minute into my recording, I was accosted by a gentleman in a pink polo shirt with a flashlight who pulled me out into the hallway and made me delete the clip while he watched. He then told me that if he caught me taping again, he'd give me the boot, as if being in an arena amongst 20,000 rambunctiously charged metalheads wasn't already enough to put me on edge. (Videos included here aren't mine, so don't sue the messenger.)

Having never had the chance to catch them live, I'd only heard about the frontman's aversion to the spotlight through second hand accounts. And while I don't think we received the brunt of his indifferent wrath -- he faced the audience for most of the show -- his bizarreness was palpable, perhaps best exemplified by the nightstick and megaphone with which he reeled around the back of the stage with for much of the show's duration. Those accessories, in addition to the lockdown taping policy and the spotlights highlighting the non-Maynard members of the group, lent an ominous police-state vibe to the evening's proceedings.

Also contributing to the intensity was the tightness of the band. With their followup to 2006's 10,000 Days only reported to be in the early writing stages, their current tour seemingly exists for no other reason than to make a quick buck. Yet they moved through a selection of 10 tracks that drew evenly from their two decade existence with the precision of a band that has been relentlessly grinding -- when in reality they've only played a sparse handful of shows together since that ‘06 release and Keenan is fresh off a fall tour with Puscifier, a/k/a his side project that isn't A Perfect Circle.


While it would probably be appropriate to lavish each member with individual praise for their outing on Saturday, I'll reserve my primary heaps for Justin Chancellor, who has seemingly perfected the balance of letting his bass cut above the rest of the band when noodling during extended intros or lock into a groove alongside Danny Carey and Adam Jones whilst building toward their near-crippling peaks.

And while on the topic of near-crippling peaks, Portland-bred doom trio YOB opened the bill. Playing to a near-empty room, they were proficient in their beat-down, but my mind couldn't help envision them playing in a more suitable venue, like say the Middle East, where engaging the crowd wouldn't have been as arduous of a task. Yet, their pummeling undertones served as an ideal table-setter for the eventual fatality delivered by way of Tool. The same show makes its way to Mohegan Sun tomorrow evening, and while it's similarly sold-out-as-fuck, I'd suggest ponying up the loot and making the hike down if you're interested in the least.

Just leave your cameras at home.

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