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Tool in Auckland

review: holy cow. it was gooood. maynard's voice is amazing. the drummer is a powerhouse. the guitarist wore a cool hat. incredible, mind-twisting videos played on an enormous screen the entire time...

20 Jul 2001

country/state/city: auckland, nz

venue: north shore events centre

band/dj/whatever: tool

date: last night

review: holy cow. it was gooood. maynard's voice is amazing. the drummer is a powerhouse. the guitarist wore a cool hat. incredible, mind-twisting videos played on an enormous screen the entire time (lots of naked women and water and weird potatoey torsos squirming around and people flopping their heads around and plasticine people coming out of brains. in the videos, that is).

maynard stood behind the band in front of one of the screens and faced the back of the stage a lot, giving his bandmates the glory but his voice stole the show anyway.

although trying to keep his stage presence low-key, when maynard sings you can't help but take notice. his body twists and turns as if he is
electrified, at times hunched over the mic as he tried to keep his vocals under control, then leaping and twisting as he lets loose the full extent of his vocal power. he's one of the best damn male vocalists on the planet, with the ability to wrench your guts around and touch your soul with anything from a whisper to a scream. (if i could see him and mike paton duet i would die happy, engulfed in testosterone-heavy-yet-somehow-beautiful-and-touching pure rock heaven.)

and the drummer... wow. crazy time signatures, the rythym was all over the place but somehow always perfect. maynard's voice aside, tool are an
extremely intelligent band with a unique sound that can only be created by a group of extremely talented musicians -- one of an almost-extinct breed in rock.

the show was in two parts, with no opening act. in the break they played the video for watchemecallit, new single, parabola, i think. it was sponsored by the rock fm, which is pretty weird and may account for half the audience only knowing two songs. didn't stop them playing heaps of old stuff though. rock'n'roll will never die.

setlist (optional): don't remember the lot but it included operatic renditions of 46&2, aenima, prison sex and opiate. yeehaaa!

male/female ratio: mostly male, mostly new fans, mostly stoned, mostly complete inured to the dripping sarcasm present in maynard's voice when he asked "so i suppose everyone here is on drugs?" and most the crowd yelled back "yeah!". a lot of people looking blank as maybe 50% of the audience went completely mental to opiate. but a lot more space for me to leap around and bang my head like a total bogan chick.

Strangely enough I saw Tool in one of their first few gigs when I was living in LA in 1991 at a really small cafe.

I was there for 6 months and by the time I was leaving they had become a big draw around town, the last gig I went to of theirs was at the Cat Club with another new band on the scene 'Rage Against The Machine'. The guys from RATM were passing out hand printed political information flyers to everyone in the line and giving out demo tapes.

Tool were sublime, truly one of the best gigs I have ever been to, Maynard constantly berating the aggro skinheads who were making things hectic in the mosh pit. I am still to this day amazed at how enormous they have become.

Inspiring.