A lot has happened since Tool last performed in Dallas two years ago. The band had just embarked on a worldwide tour in support of their album, Fear Inoculum (after a 14-year gap between albums), then Covid sucker punched us all. For other bands that might have killed all the momentum of touring in support of a newly released album, but Tool fans are a different breed. We are used to waiting long periods of time for new music and we celebrate every time we get a chance to see them perform it live because we never know if or when it will happen again.
The atmosphere at the American Airlines Center spoke to that truth from the moment you entered the building. The merch lines were extremely long and crews were constantly bringing new boxes of items to replenish stock throughout the night. Tool shows are an existential carnival of devoted fans that devour all things Tool, so it was no surprise most items were sold out well before the band ever reached the stage.
The show started promptly at 8:45pm with the typical pageantry that one would expect from a Tool show. A curtain draped around the stage showed projections from the band’s iconic album artwork as the band members arrived. Half of the set was comprised of material from their latest release, but they managed to pull out some deep cuts (“Hooker With a Penis,” “Right in Two”) to the crowds delight, as well as some classic tracks across their discography (“Sober,” “The Pot,” “Pushit”). The cohesiveness of the instrumentals and vocals was as tight as I have ever heard from the band. You certainly could not tell there was ever an interruption to the four of them playing together nightly as they hit every note, chord, and drumbeat with precision.
For a band that is one year shy of their 30th birthday, they continue to put on masterful musical performances that excite the old and invite the new fans into the Tool Army. As always, the day after a Tool show I find myself looking towards their next live show and perhaps naively hoping for new music as soon as possible.
– Robb Miller