TOOL Brings Fear Inoculum to Life in Los Angeles with an Epic Staples Center Performance

Without a doubt, the 13 year wait was well worth it.

Category: Article

Photo credit: Travis Shinn

There are many bands that I love and then there is Tool. I’ve long separated the band from other bands as Tool is undoubtedly in a league of their own, especially after releasing another mind-blowing record in Fear Inoculum. Be it that you may not agree or may not care about where Tool is in the spectrum of great musicians and bands but I do care and will tell you that they are at the top. Simply put, there is no other band on this planet that can come close to creating musical pieces like Tool that gives listeners a musical experience that reverberates years and years after. It may take them years to create records but with one listen, you’ll understand why.

I managed to get in and see a little of Killing Joke. Having never heard anything from this band, except for their actual name, I knew nothing of their catalog. So a few songs in, I exited stage left to get beer, jaded LA concert-goer style. Their sound was mucked to the point that I couldn’t tell any instrument and it just sounded like one big roar, mostly discernible. I wanted it to be good but no quarter.

Basically, half of the crowd left for the concessions stands through Killing Joke’s set.

After Killing Joke’s set ended, another 30 mins rolled by and then the stage was finally set for Tool.

Armed with a huge sound, amazing visuals and a fair warning not to record video or shoot a photo during the show, Tool hit the stage. The band jumped right into title track “Fear Inoculum” off their latest masterpiece and followed it up with crowd favorite “Aenema,” which drew major crowd responses. The band then went into “The Pot,” which undoubtedly got the cannabis flowing through the air. Hell, I even got screamed at to “please blow the smoke down, thank you,” to which I acknowledged with a horns up gesture. Those three songs gave the crowd a subdued jolts from their seats and man, you can tell that people were spiritually getting into it.

And of course they would, this is THE band that can get you in that type of musical trance. I know I was and boy did if feel great!

The next few songs the band rolled out included new song “Pneuma,” “Schism,” “Jambi,” “Parabol” and “Parabola” and were all met by roaring screams, rabid headbanging and thunderous claps of approval. “Schism” in particular really put the crowd inside the heart of Tools sound and it was completely magical. “Parabola” put the oomph back into the sound and was definitely my favorite song of the night. I can still hear the lyrics in my head as I write this.

By the time Tool played “Forty Six & 2,” It was apparent that this set list was going to be as diverse as can be.

I’d love to be in the room when the band picks the set list cause obviously, everyone I spoke with before and after the show had their favorites and wondered whether the band was going to play them. I hope everyone got a piece of what they wanted because the band did manage to run through a couple of songs from each record. I was hoping to hear “7empest.”

I’d like to take a moment and adress the visuals. They were astounding. The band was shrouded behind a curtain at the beginning of the show but the curtain eventually lifted halfway through. The visuals were on the curtain and in the background, which created a surreal visual experience.

“Vicarious” was the last song before an intermission.

Yes, an intermission. I’ve seen Tool a total of three times and have never experienced an intermission in their set so this was quite different. Problem was, a lot of people started to exit. I myself began to wonder whether I should exit but was quickly informed by a friend that this was all part of the show.

After the intermission, Danny Carey went into “Chocolate Chip Trip.”

How many hands does this guy have again? It sure sounded like a million hands playing drums throughout the song, which essentially is a drum solo, and he did not let up one bit. He played and punished those drums like you wouldn’t believe. This is my first time being in an angle where I can see Danny do his thing and I think my brain is still trying to process all that I heard and saw. He is a complete madman behind that kit, even more so in a live setting!

And before you think I discounted everyone else, Adam Jones was in top ultimate guitar form, Justin Chancellor was a complete beast and Maynard didn’t hold nothing back. Los Angeles got Tool in all it’s glory.

Second to the last song was new song “Invincible” and it sounded better than expected. It’s one of the songs on the new record that caught my ears first and not because its one of the more digestable tracks but because it is simply put together well, classic Tool style with clean guitars and vocals, pumped up bass, exceptional drumming, shift changes and heaviness all rolled into one.

Before the last song, the house lights came on.

Maynard then announced that if people wanted to pull out their cell phones and take photos or videos and whatnot, now would be the time. Maynard took shots at people of course for being that person but at this point, people were pretty good about it and heeded the first warning. Good on you Los Angeles, give yourselves a major pat on the back for not ruining the show with your cell phones.

The swan song was none other than the song that pretty much put Tool on the map, “Sober.” There was an extended play in the middle of the song that the crowd really enjoyed before finishing it all up to rabid applause and screams of actual joy…there might have been some tears too. Speaking to people outside, I can clearly say that the majority was in full satisfaction.

The thirteen year wait was completely rewarding.