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Old 08-09-2009, 05:12 PM   #62
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: VA
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Re: 07.29.09 - Charlotte, NC @ Bojangle's Coliseum

This was my first Tool show. Section 121, Row II, Seat 5. It was very much worth the $60, as seeing the boys perform live was certainly on my "to do" list after REALLY getting into them over the past few months. Since I hadn't previously read anything about the set list or how it is recycled, I didn't know what to expect (and as such, kept hoping to hear The Grudge and The Pot, as well as some of their older material) but I can't say I walked away disappointed.

I did, however, know to expect Maynard to be in the shadows beside of Danny and have done enough reading to know that that's just his thing now, and why he chose to perform that way. I don't have a problem with that at all; and although I enjoy watching tapings of their older shows where Maynard stood out front with that creepy stare, I also enjoy the way he chooses to perform now and respect his decision behind that. The older and newer shows are just different, with each having their unique qualities. The older shows seem more raw, and in some ways passionate, while the newer shows are more refined and are obviously geared to provide more of an overall "experience" which I was definitely glad to be a part of. The sound clips between songs, along with the video and lighting effects make for a package that's not soon forgotten (unless you've seen this same set list performed over and over ad nauseum).

I agree with an earlier poster about there being something very special about being in the upper sections. What we gave up by not being able to clearly see everyone's faces, we made up for by not having to put up with as many drunken idiots pushing us around and not having to worry about getting back to our place if we had to leave to piss or re-beer (I didn't do either). At one point there were a couple of spinning pink lights that absolutely bathed the floor with ovals of spinning pink was just breathtaking as they looked like a pair of alien eyes that were scanning the audience. Amazing. Not to mention the jaw-dropping laser show. It was definitely a sight to behold from up there.

At most other concerts I've been to, I have had no problem drinking a few brews to feed my excitement and get a little loosened up before/during the show. I did not want to drink at this particular show, as alcohol tends to have somewhat dulling effects on the senses and I wanted to experience the show with as much clarity as possible. I was surprised that my friend, who had recently introduced me to the world of portobello mushrooms, decided not to eat ANY before the show...of course he had to drive back to the hotel afterwards and that might have played a role in it but he was just floored by this show (it was his first also). I definitely don't think that you need to indulge in ANY substances to enjoy Tool, although some good bud doesn't exactly detract from the experience, either. But although I knew that people would be smoking at this concert, I refrained from doing so as I had no idea how lax the security would be and I was not about to risk getting booted from my first, and possibly only (who knows?) Tool show.

During the weeks preceeding the show, my buddy and I kept talking about how we were going to go crazy with a big dose of portobellos before the show and just get lost. In the few days prior though, we both realized that would be a bad idea as we wanted to be aware of everything that was going on. We took both of our cars to Charlotte due to the number of people going along, and both drove to the stadium. Yes, traffic was awful (took over an hour to traverse the final 1.5 miles or so) and the ticket lines were very long, which really worried me because we arrived well after 8:00 and of course I didn't want to miss a note of Tool. It kinda pissed me off that one of the ladies at the venue directed us to the other line, saying it was "shorter," when in fact it appeared to be longer, at least by the time we scrambled over there and found a place at the back of that clusterfuck. But it all worked out beautifully as we got inside, waited for our only female member of the group to hit the bathroom, and found our seats with only a short time left until Tool took the stage. We completely missed Tweak Bird, and although some of the comments here lead me to believe they might have been worth seeing, none of us were too upset about it.

I did end up eating a small amount of portobellos beforehand, and another in our group ate a-plenty and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the show (he was absolutely quiet the entire time, lol). I was sweating my balls off and when one member of our group departed and came back with some Sprite I just about hugged him. But I was still on Earth the whole time (thankfully) and, now that I know they recycle the set list I might have been inclined to go with a heartier portion if I had been able to catch them in Fairfax the following night. At the time though, I thought that if I ever get to see them again I won't do anything at all for as pure an experience as possible. We'll see.

Luckily I didn't see a lot of the drunk, belligerent a-holes that some of you saw there that evening. That never makes shows more enjoyable for me. I am a peace-lovin' guy and there I was, standing up there taking it all in (literally, as at several points I would find myself inhaling the aroma of some bomb-ass bud that was being fired up nearby). The only weird thing was some long-haired guy next to us kept turning around and staring at our group (especially the guy that ate the most mushies). I don't understand why, as we were absolutely keeping to ourselves and not yelling or causing any problems. I guess I'm only even mentioning this for the rare possibility that he reads this...if so, dude: WTF was your deal?

I found it interesting that, at most concerts I feel the need to rock out but at this particular show I was almost overwhelmed by the whole experience in that for most of the show all I could do was stand there with my arms crossed, letting the music and visuals take hold. I did manage to get in a headbang or foot stomp during key parts of some songs (it's hard to be still during Stinkfist or "the part" in Lateralus). Lost Keys was all over me...those notes were making my spine tingle in anticipation of what I knew would be coming next.

All in all, it was a fantastic experience despite their being more epic performances in the past. Although this might not have been the "best" venue and other people noted some imperfections, I am grateful to have seen them and it goes without saying that I am looking forward to another album and another tour. After doing much reading about Tool upon my return, I do have some concerns about the band in its current state, most having to do with MJK and his attitude toward the fans and Tool in general but this thread isn't the place to voice those. I will just say that I hope every one of them realizes, and appreciates, what impact they've had on their fans and continues to trudge on with innovative, fresh material that makes us think and carries us to those emotional places that only Tool songs have the unique ability to do. I am most concerned about Maynard after reading some of his comments, but still don't know how seriously to take him sometimes...