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ISSUE 116 VOL 2 PUBLISHED 9/20/2002

Tool ignites Xcel Center

By Byron Vierk
Staff Writer

Friday, September 20, 2002

When Tool exploded onto the stage of the Xcel Energy Center on September 4th, it became clear that this was one of those few elite concerts. Whether it was the machine gun precise drumming of Danny Carey, the bottom-feeding bass rumble of Justin Chamberlain, the spiraling, virtuoso guitar of Adam Jones, or the bombastic hair-raising vocals of lead singer Maynard James Keenan, every set of eyes and ears found themselves riveted to the stunning visual and audio presentation that unfolded that evening. Tool cycled through almost every favorite while finding time to play nearly every song from their newest Grammy-winning release "Lateralus." The concert kicked off with "Sober," arguably Tools most recognizable song. Keenan, writhing erratically in a full leather body suit, howled in the shadows near the rear of the stage while the twin video screens on either side of the arena flashed a collage of computer generated images and photographs that can only be described as chilling. The concert shifted into high gear when Tool cracked into material from their multi-platinum breakthrough album, "Aenima." The arena burst into collective song on hits like "Stinkfist" and "H." Keenan, whose outfits are almost as compelling as his vocals at every live show, was by now in black-face and clad only in leather briefs. His command of the stage was truly remarkable, especially considering Keenan had his back to the audience or was standing in shadow for the majority of the show. The commentary by Keenan is also worth noting, as his unique perspective was offered on everything ranging from religion to government to the tragedy of Sept. 11. As Tool transitioned into their hit, "Schism," Keenan reminded the crowd to "think for yourself," eliciting cheers from the devoted crowd. The defining moment of the concert came on the next couplet of songs, "Parabol" and the latest Tool single, "Parabola" as the stage exploded with pyrotechnics and came alive with light and special effects. It was truly a sight to behold. The blistering performance of Tools closing song, "Lateralis," brought the stunned audience to its feet. The only negative effect of the stirring performance was its brevity. Tool played an amazing, though relatively short, set. As one fan put it, "Ive been to dozens of concerts since the 1970s, and this was one of the best."

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