Monday we got a call from my brother: he had a pair of tickets to the Tool concert the following night--did we want them? The answer, of course, was "yes." I've been a fan of Tool since the mid-nineties, and Michele is a recent convert, having come to them through singer Maynard James Keenan's other band, A Perfect Circle. Given the opportunity we had to go.
Tool (for those of you unfamiliar) is a progressive rock/metal band led more by the bass player than by the more traditional lead guitar. The instrumental quality of the band is amazing and the band is a quirky animal. The lyrics are strange, the videos are really strange, and the band shuns publicity like everyone might hope Paris Hilton would.
The concert was amazing. The band blasted for two hours, had a great light show, and never let up. Maynard stayed true to his weirdness--in order to emphasize the music over the musicians, he sings from the back, next to the drums, and sometimes faces away from the audience. It was hypnotizing and energizing and even inspiring.
The problem was that there were other people there.
I expected a certain amount of 93X-type idiocy at this concert. After all, the band's only marketable angle is their relation to heavy music. We saw the mouth-breathers early and often, including one troglodyte in the men's room who walked in talking on his cell phone, talked while he relieved himself, and kept on talking as he neglected to wash his hands on the way out. His contribution to his conversation, at least as much of it as I could bear to hear, consisted of phrases like, "Like, fuck, dude," and, "Dude--like, fuck." I couldn't count the crooked hats and ill-considered facial piercings. Thankfully, there were no flip-flops.
The big pain was the smoke. As soon as the lights went out, the fires started burning. I think Michele and I were the only two in the building not smoking. I learned last night what pot smoke smells like. That's some horrible shit. About a third of the smoke was conventional cigarettes--the rest was chiba.
The opening band was interesting. They're called Big Business [link: http://www.myspace.com/bigbigbusiness (sorry, blogger won't let me edit my HTML)], and live their songs only sound a bit like the MySpace versions. I prefer the MySpace versions. Live, they sound like screaming mud. Oddly, they reminded me of when Sly and I went to the KISS reunion tour in 1996 and the Melvins opened. Imagine my surprise to find out that the two guys in Big Business are also members of the Melvins.
So I guess here's my assessment:
Tool is an amazing band live. If you have any inclination toward this kind of music, see them. Big Business is a little more hit-or-miss, but I liked them.
Tool's fans--for the most part--are worthless. I imagined last night that if someone dropped a bomb on the arena the state's median IQ would have risen about 50 points (and that's with my brilliant wife inside). I couldn't believe the number of mouth-breathing, pot-smoking, beer-spilling, cell-phone-addicted, loud-talking morons I saw.
I might not be able to go to any more concerts--no matter how much I admire the music. I wanted the whole audience dead. Not violently dead. Just dead-in-their-sleep dead. Peaceful, but final.
I'm too old for that shit.