Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tool at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live

I was surprised that Tool added another leg of their 10,000 days tour. I figured I had seen the last of Tool for many years after catching two nights of Tool in San Diego. I am eagerly looking forward to the two shows in Las Vegas at the Pearl because their show in April was outstanding.

After paying the outrageous $25 to park, I was curious to see check out the Nokia theatre. The lobby was extremely cramped with the beer lines overflowing. The bathrooms had two levels which I thought was intriguing. The lobby is very small but inside the theatre it was cavernous. I had a fifth row row seat right in line with Adam Jones (Guitars).

Trans Am opened the show with their Battles meets Rush vibe. I was directly in line with the house speakers and overall the sound was very clean for Trans Am. I had heard conflicting reports about the sound quality at the Nokia but I am sure the sound was different for those in the upper deck. Trans Am had lots of instrument switching as they ran through a quick set. I did like one of the songs that they used a vocoder on a Nord Lead keyboard. Another song had a twin bass attack that reminded me of the band Ned's Atomic Dustbin.

The roar of the crowd when the lights went out reminded me of why Tool shows are one of a kind. I was surprised that there was so much light on the stage as the band members could be seen very clearly. I could also see Adam's triple half stack of two Diezel amps with Mesa Boogie cabinets and a vintage Marshall half stack. Danny Carey (Drums) was representing with a Los Angeles Clippers Elton Brand jersey while Maynard Keenan (Vocals) had his Puscifer jacket on. The rumbling drums and fire visuals in the background signaled the song "Jambi". Adam Jones (Guitars) laid down his blistering talk box solo as a brilliant white spot light shone down upon him. Maynard then baited the crowd into jeers when he said the crowd wasn't nearly as loud as San Francisco and they have not even played there yet. "Stinkfist" had the video running on in the background as Adam engaged his Wah pedal to use as a tone filter for his pick scrapes across the strings and for some ringing chords. "46&2" had Adam behind his Virus keyboard triggering some sawtooth like pads before diving into the riff on his Gibson Les Paul Silverburst. The visuals for "46&2" had a skull with a vein attached to an infant inside the skull. How do they come up with this stuff? Adam used some volume knob swells for the intro to "Schism" while the Tool Army red logo swirled in the background. Justin Chancellor(Bass) did a phenomenal job carving out that stuttering bass line. "Rosetta Stoned" had visuals of microprocessor schematics as Maynard yelled into a hand held mini megaphone. Maynard got into the synth action on his Korg Triton Extreme keyboard for the powerful "Flood". The keyboard intro reminded me of some of the sounds on the Space Mountain ride at Disneyland. I had flashbacks of Tool concerts in the early 1990's after hearing the tune. The lasers came out in full force for the double shot of "Wings for Marie" and "10,000 days". I didn't know that Tool provided free Lasek surgery at all their shows. Justin earned some more praise with his fingerpicked intro for "10,000 days". "Lateralus" sounds so good live that it is ridiculous. I wonder if they will ever put out a live DVD that has been rumored for years. Coady from Big Business came out for an extra drum jam with Danny. It was a drum off of sorts that was clearly won by Danny. I am biased though. Maynard jokingly held up a 98 sign to signal that he approved. They closed the evening with "Vicarious" that had Maynard actually sing the whole song instead of pointing the microphone out to the crowd like he has at a few of the earlier shows I attended this year. Overall, I was impressed with the Nokia Theatre and my friend even texted me to say that the sound guy deserves a Grammy for best live mix.

Tool Setlist at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live (12/10/07)
"Rosetta Stoned"
"Wings For Marie"
"10,000 Days"

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