TOOL at the Sprint Center in Kansas City
20 January 2016
A chilly January evening in Kansas City is the setting for an extraordinary and captivating performance from the genre-defying quartet known as Tool, as the group performed in front of a sold-out audience at the Sprint Center along with guests Primus and 3Teeth. It’s astonishing to consider that nearly six years have passed since the band last played in Kansas City, and yet the ravenous crowd that has gathered this evening gives proof that interest in what Tool has to offer has not waned.
It’s been close to a decade since the release of 10,000 Days in 2006, and the boys in Tool have been teasing fans with snippets and hints of a new album in the works, but as of yet they’ve not committed to releasing any firm dates. In a recent interview with Metal Hammer, Tool’s enigmatic frontman, Maynard James Keenan, stated that he writes melodies and lyrics to music, and at this point he is waiting for music to be ready for him to add his piece to the puzzle. And so, the wait continues.
Opening with a heavy, 10-minute-plus rendition of Led Zeppelin’s classic ethereal masterpiece, “No Quarter,” Keenan’s haunting vocals ring out over the ebb and flow of the dynamic musical performance from the rest of the band. Bassist Justin Chancellor’s undulating melodic bass line propelled the group into “The Grudge,” which was the first of several songs from the band’s 2001 full-length Lateralus, and included the two-part “Parabol” and “Parabola,” followed by “Schism.”
The group reached back to their early roots with the title track from the 1992 EP Opiate, followed by crowd favorite “Ænema.” A hint of possible new material came in the form of the instrumental jam “Descending” – we’ll have to remain patient and see if this piece makes its way onto the upcoming album. The quartet continued with “Jambi,” which was the only track on the setlist from 10,000 Days, followed by an incredible rendition of the heavy-hitting favorite, “Forty-Six & 2.”
After a 10-minute intermission, the band returned for an encore that started with drummer and Kansas native, Danny Carey, delivering an amazing drum & synth solo performance. Carey’s musicianship has always been a highlight of Tool’s compositions throughout their discography, and tonight’s performance is no exception. The rest of the band joins Carey on stage as they launch into the opening track from the Opiate EP, “Sweat.” The final song is “Stinkfist,” from 1996’s Ænema – a rally against modern society’s increasing desensitization.
While the forthcoming album continues to be shrouded in mystery, Tool remain a force to be reckoned with, and the band continues to sell out dates on their current tour. The evening’s tour-de-force performance, along with the visual spectacle of the stage production, left the Kansas City crowd energized and eager for whatever the future may bring.