Tool – Fall 07 San Francisco Review

Tool – West Coast Winter Tour 2007
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco
December 11, 2007

Stinkfist (ext.)
Forty Six & 2
Schism (double time breakdown)
Rosetta Stoned
Wings for Marie
10,000 days
lateralus (w/guest drummers Tim Alexander from Primus and Sebastian from Trans Am)
**HOLIDAY IN CAMBODIA w/Jello Biafra on vocals**

 So as is tradition, my friends and I arrived to the show fairly late (a habit I must break them of this weekend so we don’t miss Strata opening for Team Sleep).  We got to the city, ate it for parking and just parked in an overpriced lot, and then found our way into the line at Bill Graham (my reports say that the line was there since 4:30 too, wtf? It’s not like you are going to get in any earlier being their early).  While we are in line I’m chatting with this chick in front of us who was very excited about it being her first Tool show.  She was worried about getting in when they had already started.  I told her not to worry though, that instead she should prepare herself for the longest wait ever between an opening band and the headlining band (as has been true for every concert I’ve been to where Maynard was singing for the headlining band).  We get in without much wait, scope at the merch for a second which I refuse to buy without first being an explanation for why it’s so goddamn expensive  (this is odd for me too, because politically, I buy a ton of shit at shows because it supports the  band in the most direct way, but Tool’s merch is overpriced at shows and online, and they have never explained why which leaves me to assume it’s some sick joke about consumerism, except Tool is only fucking over their fans, not stupid people buying the merch cause they link the current single – they shop at hot topic where the merch is reasonably priced but this is another issue entirely).  Anywho, after that, Eddy grabs a beer and we head out to the floor.  Shit is mad crowded so we decided to head up to the seats to try and find a place to sit.  Unfortunately, at this point there really is nowhere to sit for more than one person here and there.

Then suddenly, and unexpectedly I eat my earlier spoken words about the wait before Tool and they hit the stage.  Me and Lopez decide to say fuck it and leave our other friends on their seat search and head back to the floor.  We find our way down as Tool busts into Jambi which worked out perfectly since the song really doesn’t do it for me.  It is cooler live, and it’s neat to see Adam do the talk box solo, but I really don’t care too much for the song.  Tool continues into Stinkfist which was amazing as it always is.  Though I’d seen it with the extended breakdown a few times before, it wasn’t until after the last time I saw them that I got a bootleg live version with that in which I listened to earlier in the day.  This reminded me to be prepared for the majority of the crowd being fooled and singing the breakdown long before it was due.  Along with this it was just dope to be able to check out the breakdown with a frame of reference for what it was.

Tool continued through their set.   Just like last time, the breakdown for Schism was fucking amazing and made me feel as if I was going to my heart and body we’re going to explode which was quite something since I was in nowhere near the altered state of consciousness that I was last time I saw them.  The set kept going.  Flood was goddamn amazing, and I doubt they’ll ever play that song much, if at all, after this tour ends in a few days.  Extremely glad I got to see it since I love that song.  Really cool to hear it with Justin playing as well, just to see what he would do with it you know.  The intermission came and Lopez and I went back up to meet with our friends where they had found seats.  Kind of shitty seats, but at the same time, we could see every move Danny was making.  I could even see his feet.  I just wish I could have seen what Justin was doing as well, but oh well.

The band came back out and got ready for Wings.  Justin sat down as he always does for that song because it’s too fucking hard to play otherwise.  Wings was pretty fucking amazing, almost brought me to tears but not quite, at this point I was still kind of at odds with myself so I was in a weird place.  I wish Maynard’s vocals would have been higher on this song just because they are so amazing, but oh well, I’d rather they be down the whole set including that song, rather than up the entire set.  He’s a great vocalist, but he’s such an ass so it kind of annoys me to be in the same room with him.  These days I have difficultly separating him from the singer of Tool, but that’s my issue.  Plus, the other guys are stellar musicians and I enjoy being able to hear their playing. 

They started into Lateralus and as the song got moving I saw them setting up drums for the drum soloing.  I was confused though, because they were setting up drums in a fashion that would require two more drummers.  At this point I was thinking it would be the drummer from Trans Am and the guy from King Crimson/Tu (since we got they’re late I had no idea if Tu was at this show as well, and actually, I still don’t know).  With that two dudes came out and they drummed off.  Pretty fucking amazing.  My only complaint about it was I wish they would have done more drumming simultaneously rather than just switching off over and over until they end.  After the drum off Maynard said something which sounded to me like in contained “Tim ‘Herb’ Alexander” and “Primus” but I wasn’t sure.  Then he dropped the name again or something and I was like, whoa, holy shit!  Really?  I wish he would have said that before so I had known.  Good shit though.  At some point towards the end of the song as they worked towards the end of Lateralus Danny reached back and hit his gong.  Goddamn that was amazing.  I was watching right as he hit it and it was as if I could feel and somehow see the ripples from it reverberate all the way from it, to me, and then through me.  It was just fucking powerful.

After they finished Maynard started saying something about a special guest, I couldn’t really understand and I figured he was still saying something about Tim or the guy from Trans Am or something.  Then out comes this bouncy, chubby guy.  Then I heard “Jello Biafra” and then…then I fucking died a little bit inside (in the good way).  Instantly my mind starts racing, holy shit, I know they only have one song left.  They are going to end with Vicarious.  I love Jello, but how the fuck do you fit Jello into a Tool song.  Like, really, how the fuck do you do that.  This is gonna be crazy and weird.  And then the real magic starts.  Justin and Adam start into fucking HOLIDAY IN CAMBODIA!!!!  HOLY FUCKIN JESUS FUCKIN CHRIST.  Lopez and I started going berserk, rocking out and screaming along.  It was so goddamn amazing.  Really, words can’t describe in any way that moment that was occurring before our very eyes.  Adam, Justin, and Danny had that song fucking down and Jello was in top fucking form, singing, running around all crazy, even though he’s a lot older now.  It was just amazing, and it’s a goddamn shame Tool are such anal retentive bastards about bootlegging cause that shit (and when Serj came out with them in New Zeland, and Kirk Hammet in Hawaii, and Terry Bozzio in Texas, and Aarron in Idaho, and Layne way back in the day wherever)  needed to be recorded and spread around. 

So after those few minutes of pure amazingness, Jello left the stage and the band launched into Vicarious.  Damn good, wish the vocals had been a bit higher on this one too, but maybe it was just where I was sitting.  Wish I had still been in the pit too so I could have screamed along better, but I tried singing and I could hear my voice way to easily since I was up in the seats and no one there was singing.

And with that, the show was over.  The guys in the band came out bowed, accepting their applause.  Justin and Danny (and maybe Adam) started launching picks, drums sticks, and drum heads into the crowd.  They even did a good job of tossing some up into the balcony seats.  Jello came out and took a bow as well and they all group hugged.


So with all of that, pretty fucking amazing show.  Flood was killer.  Holiday in Cambodia, that will never happen again, period.  The lights were really cool, and it amazes me how well Tool can make every seat worth it.  There’s always projections, on the screens, on the stage itself, on the crowed, and lasers are different from every direction so everyone gets a good piece of the action.

The musicianship was amazing too.  Justin is just a fucking god on that bass, he creates such amazing textures and landscapes for the songs to flow over.  He looks so goddamn happy the whole time as well.  Adam’s guitar playing was great too, and he’s guy that signature sound with all his weird little screeches and shit.  He looks so calm the whole time too – Adam isn’t at a Tool show, he’s just strolling through the park playing his guitar.  And Danny Carey, what is there to say really.  That man was built to play drums.  I’m pretty sure his drum skills could kick the ass of Zeus’s lightning skills.  I don’t really know how to explain it otherwise. 

Other fun things on note.  Maynard played keyboards during some songs, particularly Wings.  Between songs too, there was always some weird shit going on.  Some of it was just Adam and Justin do weird fucking shit with their instruments, some of it was Adam fucking with keyboards, and I think at some point some other dude was fucking with a keyboard.  It really helps to keep the music the main focus though, having music seguewaying each song into each other.  It was really cool too cause the music that comprised the segueways was never very indicative of what song was coming next.  It kept the level of anticipation at a high.

Don’t know if there’s much else to say.  Tool is amazing live.  They are this generations Led Zeppelin and you really shouldn’t miss them.



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