Tool at the O2, 10 May 2022
“It’s been a while since we saw you last. A lot of shit has happened, and a lot of shit is still happening. For the next two hours, it’s just us, and it’s just here.”
These were the opening words from Maynard James Keenan — a sombre recognition of the events of the last two years, and much-needed permission to grant ourselves some escapsim.
There aren’t many bands, who have been around as long as Tool, who remain as potent for so long. Starting with their earliest albums in the 1990s, they’ve carved out a niche of their own, blending meditative, thumping riffs, symbolic lyrics and polyrhythms, which I can only summarily describe as hypno-prog. While this tour is ostensibly to promote their latest (2019) release Fear Inoculum, the set they played spanned their entire career, including Undertow (1993), The Grudge (2001) and Right In Two (2007). Each album delivers in its own right, though I must admit, my favourites are Lateralus and 10,000 days.
Their performance was blazing, and much focus was given to the virtuosity of Danny Carey’s drum-playing. He sits centre-stage, flanked by guitarist Adam Jones and bass-player Justin Chancellor. Together, they are a rhythm section to be reckoned with; Justin frequently pounding out the core riffage with a pick and distortion pedal. Maynard stands at the back of the stage, slightly behind Carey, and he avoids the spotlight. This is not a band built on ego, but one truly about the music and the artistic whole, further enhanced by enormous, projected montages of Jones’ stop-motion animations from the band’s iconic videos. This was a night when lighting operators and Veejays truly earned their salt.
All in all, this was one of the best gigs I’ve been to in years. I just wish it hadn’t been so damn loud.
This story was originally published on LinkedIn. Tony is an acoustic consultant and audio technologist specialising in interactive and sound recognition systems. For more information on his work, see www.timbral.co.uk.
Find out more about acoustics design, noise or vibration consultancy, or noise impact assessments.
Heres our instapaper on acoustic design and consultancy.
YouTube channel on Acoustics, Noise and Vibration consultancy.