Check out my photos of A Perfect Circle at Planet Hollywood over at Pure Volume.
A line of Tool, Puscifer and A Perfect Circle shirts congested the walkways of Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas as they eagerly lined up to see the only performance of A Perfect Circle for 2012. After a rousing set of comedy from Neil Hamburger, the lights dimmed to illuminate the trademark logo suspended from the stage. Billy Howerdel sat center stage in front of a tiny piano for the delicate keys of "Annihilation". Maynard James Keenan was lurking in the shadows in the back of the stage on his platform as he sung "Imagine" while James Iha provided the shadowy synthesizers for sonic texture.
The momentum quickly shifted as the storming guitars of Howerdel and Iha combined for "Weak and Powerless". Matt McJunkins dialed up a snarling bass tone for the crush of "Rose" propelled by the drumming prowess of Jeff Friedl. "Blue" had the lights change to the aforementioned color on cue as you could barely make out the lunges of Keenan in the shadows. Their cover of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" took on a dirge like quality. It was impressive how well the band sounded given it was their only show of the year. Keenan's vocals were spot on as he deftly switched between screaming and singing for "The Outsider". Howerdel showed off his own vocal skills for "(What's So Funny 'bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?". Iha switched back to his keyboard for "When The Levee Breaks" as Keenan's vocals reverberated into you skull.
Providing some levity for the evening was joke time with James Iha. Iha told a story about a jumper cable walking into the bar and that he wouldn't be served as long as he didn't start anything. Things quickly switched back to heaviness as the stacked vocal harmonies of "The Noose" left me gasping for air. "The Package" was delivered perfectly as Freidl nailed the quirky drum hits before the band dived head first into the avalanche of sound. "Counting Bodies Like Sheep To The Rhythm of the War Drums" was a monstrous industrial tinged sledgehammer to your head as your whole body felt the reverberations from the stage. Instead of pretending to walk off the stage, A Perfect Circle closed out the evening with the dark synthesizer fueled overtones of "By And Down". One can only hope it won't take another year to see A Perfect Circle again.
"Weak And Powerless"
"What's Going On"
"People Are People"
"(What's So Funny 'bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?
"When The Levee Breaks"
"Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie"
"Counting Bodies Like Sheep To The Rhythm Of The War Drums"
"By And Down"