Tool – Live at Manchester

It’s been a long while since I’ve seen a show of this scale.

Tool have been on my ‘to go see live’ list for years and I’ve never had the opportunity until now. I believe the last time they played live was early 2010s with the exception of download 19.

I had seen the bootlegs and some live footage and saw the audio visual element which is astonishing but as can be expected, nothing compares to being there in person.

They started by using a gauze curtain with thin textured lines coming down. The work that went into the screens and lights was incredible and about 4 songs in they opened it up.

This is a major part of the experience but the essential element is the playing, which is at the highest possible level.

The Tool band members are in their 50s and their experience and dedication was on full display. They were totally in control and played with so much precision, it was unbelievable. Maynard. Adam, Justin and Danny are all so damn good at their instruments. The sound is unbelievable too. Adam’s combination of Diezel Amps and Gibson guitars absolutely screams whilst Danny is a drumming octopus with loads of nice touches including pitched percussion and a modular synthesiser. Maynard sings in the dark like a ghostly figure and Justin hits the bass hard whilst interacting with the crowd the most.

It was overwhelming…and loud!

But what made it even better was that the audience of 20,000 honoured the band’s request not to have phones out during the show until Maynard granted people request to take their ‘stupid effing cell phones’ at the end.

For far too long, being at a show is about the audience saying they are there than just allowing oneself to be experiencing music in the moment.

It was so good to see music of this level of sophistication being enjoyed by so many people but then again, these guys have been at it for decades, and what we witnessed was decades of work.

It gives me hope. So much music today is blamcmanche and quite frankly banal to the point of total irrelevance and swarming in a desperate toxic sea of approval chasing social media crap, but not all. And it’s about time we start nurturing younger acts who want to make music at this level.

Tool inspires me to maintain integrity, stick to my musical instincts and be ambitious.

If you get the chance to see them live, do it!