-A PERFECT CIRCLE-
25 February 2001
Skip past the intro to the concert
A lot of interesting things happened before the doors were opened, or before Snake River Conspiracy went on. Since my reviews tend to focus on the entire experience of the night rather than just what was happening on stage, all this will be included. If you just want to read about the concert, click the link above.
I went to this concert with Ken. Through the Toolshed and the wonderful world of Napster, both of us have been fans of APC since 3 or 4 months before Mer de Noms was released. So, we were intent on getting stage seats. The show started at 8:00, so we figured that if we got there at 5, we would be guaranteed those seats.
Both of us wore concealed Tool shirts - Ken wore a button up shirt over his and I wore a vest over mine - to show respect while at the same time, a kind of disrespect. As Ken put it, "I don't want to be like, 'I like your work with the other band better'...even though I do." Since the Norva's web site said disposable cameras were acceptable, we each brought one of them as well.
There were actually about 15 or 20 people in line when we got there. We ran into a couple of people we knew, and found a place in line. The band was inside playing Sleeping Beauty as their soundcheck when we got there. We met some interesting individuals in line. Two of these people were wearing suit vests and dress pants...but one of them had duct tape all over his vest. They had brought a Bible to the concert, and defaced it with letters ripped off the Sepultura stickers some guy was passing out. They wanted us to take a picture of their Bible...so here it is. They said that they were going to throw it on stage for Maynard when the band played Judith. They did...but Maynard left it there. Maynard is cool.
Eventually, some security guards started walking around the line, telling people that cameras were not allowed. Ken caught a guy that was walking by and asked him about it, explaining what we had read on the site. The guard apologized and said that it was the band that was making them do it. He said Maynard had an "eye problem" so flash photography was prohibited. We laughed about that a little, figuring Maynard just doesn't like his picture taken, but the security guard didn't think it was funny. He said, "That dude from Tool is 'touched.'" We offered to tape over the flash. He said it didn't matter, and we'd either have to go back to my car, or throw them away. One look at all the people behind us decided that we weren't going back to the car, but we didn't really want to throw the cameras away. Instead, we took more stupid pictures. Eventually a different guard came by, and we gave him our cameras. "I took some pictures," Ken told him. "You should go get them developed, cos they're funny." The guy agreed. The guards put latex gloves on before they searched people, which I found funny...but all the men that were around me in line got kind of nervous and started talking about what would happen if the security people wanted to look in their pants. It was just a joke, though, I guess...cos I didn't see any full cavity searches.
We got our stage seats, but thanks to the inconsiderate people that cut in front of us, we didn't get center stage. We were on the extreme right, but still not disappointed. We were directly in front of the lead guitar amp, so we figured we'd still get a good view.
There were 5 security guys between the floor and the stage. The guy that was assigned to our section just happened to be the same guy who had our cameras. He told us that they were in his coat pocket, in the guard room. He went on to say that he had taken some pictures with them, and we could get them back from him after the show.
Snake River Conspiracy didn't suck as bad as their studio CD...but they weren't that great. Their guitarist was nothing special. Most of the mens' attention, I imagine, was fixated on the singer. She did sort of a legal stripping act, removing her coat, jacket, and other articles of over-clothing. Our guard friend told us he "totally dug the tummy thing." What stood out to me was the bassist on the other end of the stage. Every couple of songs, he'd switch to something really stupid: a 5-string bass with only two strings on it. Their other guitarist had a double neck, which I thought was sort of cool. Their music...eh. Whatever. I couldn't get into it. Ken yawned at one point (by accident, he maintains) and our security guard friend smacked him. Someone did a really bad job doing balance; the vocals were almost completely overshadowed by the bass and guitar. The latter was decently loud, but the bass was ridiculously loud.
A Perfect Circle
APC opened with Renholder. I sort of looked at it as a way of saying that Maynard wasn't all there was to the band, cos he didn't come out until the very end. I saw him walking around backstage while they were playing, and I thought it was cool. Paz was playing her electric "sensual violin" (as per Ken) and it was really nice. Then the others came out, Billy on vocals. It gave the room an eerie air...a perfect starting point.
Okay, I can't remember the exact order in which the songs were played...but I do remember what was. So I'll just make a list that's sort of in order, and proceed with my review: Renholder, Thinking of You, Magdalena, Breņa, Orestes, 3 Libras, Rose, Over, Vacant (Tapeworm cover), Judith, Ashes to Ashes (Bowie cover), and The Hollow. Okay.
Of course the crowd went wild when Maynard went out. He was wearing sandals and a pair of white pants - no shirt, his tattooes were obvious, and they added to the entire effect for me - and a long, blond wig. I was being quiet and calm about the entire concert, though. I guess I could have been screaming and surging like the rest of the crowd, but I wanted to sit and watch my first experience with a band and a frontman I so respect.
Anyway, this time Maynard didn't feel himself up during Thinking of You. When they were about to play Over, Maynard said, "This song is called 'Pants.'" Paz and Billy started looking at him really funny. Then Maynard was like, 'What? Oh...why do I always do that? It's called 'Over.'" I sorta laughed to myself when he said Over, since it's sort of concert-unfriendly. They played a different version, though, it was really cool. It was a lot harder with both guitars and a nice bassline. I wouldn't have recognized it if I hadn't heard "been over this" repeatedly.
Afterwards, Maynard started playing with his wig. "We were having an argument, me and the band," he said. "We're split right about down the middle. We can't decide if I look more like...Britney Spears...or Christina Aguilera. So you need to help us decide." Applause and screaming indicated that he looked more like Christina Aguilera...which I agreed with. He laughed a little. "You win Josh...and Billy...and Troy," then he looked at Paz, who looked a little embarrassed but smiled anyway.
Between a couple of songs (I can't remember which ones), Maynard asked, "Are there any vegetarians here?" Some weak cheers...myself included. "Any meat eaters?" Much louder. "See? We can all get along."
He introduced the next song with his back to the audience. "This next song is something I've been working on with something called Tapeworm." Me and Ken were laughing cos he appeared to be fumbling with his pants while he had his back turned. "As I understand it...Tapeworm is Spanish for 'take off your pants.'" And so he did. A virtually naked Maynard - now wearing only underwear and a wig - came back up to the front of the stage and performed his song.
Later, the guitarists started playing the intro to Orestes. Maynard sang new words at the beginning, though. I still recognized it immediately, but the guy next to us started telling us, "This is their new song! They've been playing it at their concerts!" I nodded, hoping he'd stop talking, and shared a look with Ken. A look that said, "this guy is dumb." When he sang the original chorus, the guy got a dumb look on his face and said, "never mind."
At one point during the night, some guys in the center of the crowd started chanting, "Tool, Tool, Tool!" Maynard gave them a dirty look. "That's rude, that's so rude. These people are working hard, and so am I." I liked it. We felt good about hiding our Tool shirts.
Maynard put a black cap on over his wig while he was introducing the next song. "This one is called...'Billy.'" Billy looked at him funny. "No? It's called 'Josh.'" Josh said something to him. "'Gunji.' This song is called 'Gunji'." And they started playing Judith. At that point, our attention-starved friends with the stupid Bible threw it on stage. It stayed there until cleanup.
They played a David Bowie cover next, Ashes to Ashes. Maynard introduced it by saying, "This song is by a band with a lot of hair." He looked over at Billy. "That's not us...this is a Bowie cover." During the song, he took the cap off first, then later the wig. I was really surprised. Bald usually signifies Tool mode. Anyway, afterwards he resumed his usual between-song conversation with the audience. "You guys are nice people. Usually people like you...I mean, I don't want to put a label on you...but people in your group...you know, people with hair...aren't so nice to people without hair. And this song is called...'I'm a Baldy.'" They played The Hollow. It was their closing song.
Needing to get back our cameras, we hung around. We talked to our new friend, who told us he had to help them take down the equipment, but he'd get them back if we waited for him. About then, one of APC's roadies tossed the black cap down to the guy. Ken was like, "Oh my god, Maynard's hat, I want it." So the guy gave it to him. So we have yet another cool momento of a concert...and Maynard memorabilia.
We got back our cameras, and in all they were missing about 15 pictures. Both of us are exceedingly curious individuals, so it was driving us crazy what those 15 pictures might be of. We started the walk back to the parking garage, Ken taking lots and lots of stupid pictures. He was determined to use up both rolls of film, so we could get them developed the next day.
There's me in "Maynard Mode" wearing the hat over there. Ken wouldn't let me take his picture with it on. I guess his Maynard Mode is better than mine.
We got our film developed, but only one of the security guard's pictures turned out. It was just a picture of the line. It was sort of disappointing, but I wasn't really expecting to see the band. APC wouldn't even let the security guards watch their soundcheck, so I doubted they'd let them take a picture.
Hey, we got the hat.