LIVE REVIEW + PHOTOS: Tool in Boston, MA (11.15.23.)
The TD Garden in Boston became a vehicle for sonic revelation as the enigmatic force of Tool descended upon the city, delivering an electrifying performance that transcends any ordinary rock concert. Back in town for the second consecutive year after playing this venue in February 2022 on their Fear Inoculum tour, fans had high expectations and their level of performance certainly did not disappoint. Tool disciples, adorned in their tribal garb of black band tees and kaleidoscopic tattoos, congregated with zeal.
The stage was set, cloaked in an eerie shroud of anticipation. Suddenly, the faint murmurings gave way to a seismic eruption as the band emerged, shrouded in an almost otherworldly aura. Maynard James Keenan, could be seen making his way, assuming a commanding presence,at the helm atop stage right. The opening chords of “Fear Inoculum” reverberated through the very marrow of the arena, weaving a hypnotic tapestry that ensnared all in attendance. Their 7-sided star could be seen illuminated as their sky themed imagery opened and encapsulated the screens behind them. “The Pot” followed suit, a pulsating anthem that sent fists pumping and heads banging across the sea of onlookers.But it was when the ethereal notes of “Lost Keys (Blame Hofmann)” which pierced the air, being resurrected for the first time since 2009, which made this show unique.
A tectonic shift in the landscape ensued with “Rosetta Stoned,” an auditory odyssey that shattered conventional boundaries, melding the surreal with the tangible. The transcendental voyage persisted with “Pneuma,” a standout track from that album and a hauntingly beautiful communion that enveloped the arena in a warm transonic embrace. Just as the collective psyche teetered on the brink of euphoria, “Swamp Song” unleashed a raw, primal energy. The pounding aural assault continued with “Descending” and “The Grudge,” each note a thunderous testament to Tool’s mastery over the symbiotic relationship between sound and soul.
A momentary respite came in the form of an intermission, allowing the frenzied congregation a chance to recalibrate their reality, albeit briefly. Just as swiftly as the respite arrived, it vanished, giving way to the mechanized fervor of “Chocolate Chip Trip.” The percussive frenzy unfolded like a mechanical ballet, a testament to Danny Carey’s virtuosity. The sheer number of moments I found myself in awe of his technical ability during this show was astounding. Truly a master at work.
As the fervor reached its zenith, “Culling Voices” and “Invincible” surged forth, casting a spell that resonated with an almost spiritual intensity. Each chord struck like lightning, coursing through veins electrified with primal energy.As the encore was about to commence, Maynard James Keenan let the audience of “snowflakes” know that they could take their phones out to film this one. Tool has notoriously been strict with cell phones at their shows, hoping fans can enjoy the music screenless and at face value.
Then,the familiar strains of “Ænema” cascaded through the Garden, unleashing a laser light show akin to Pink Floyd at their zenith. They put forth such an auditory and visual overload, it’s impossible to stay transfixed to one area of the stage or any one specific aspect of the music. Whether it’s the bone thumping bass lines from Justin Chancellor, the tapestry of rock ballads put forth by guitarist Adam Jones, the wizard like percussive polyrhythms of the great Danny Carrey, or the hauntingly dark bellows and ballads of Keenan…There’s no one in the game quite like Tool, especially live. As the echoes of their hard rocking sensory communion dissipated into the night, the audience was left in a state of exalted revelation, forever marked by the transformative journey that was Tool at TD Garden—a testament to the unbridled power of music to transcend boundaries and illuminate the depths of human consciousness.
Photos – Tool at TD Garden in Boston, MA on November 15th: