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Tool, Mastodon - Introvert&Explosive
On the ninth of November I visited the fine city of Rotterdam to witness one of the best shows I've ever been to before. Of course you'll read that a lot in Tool live views but I dare to say that this actually wás a show without boundaries. Buzzin Hornet, DemonDust and me were excited as hell, also because the opening act was no other band than Mastodon, whom we'll dicuss first.


Opening band Mastodon was actually the reason I was at this show, since they released Blood Mountain, which is my album of the year. They played more gentile tracks than usual, but because their sound was incredibly bombastic it still sounded like all songs were heavy as fuck. Most songs came from the new album, but since the balance of the sound was shifter towards the low tones the melodies got a bit lost in all the noise. Nevertheless they played a monstrous show that got me headbanging where it was necessary. The melodic vocals proved to work excellent live, and after their 45 minutes of groundbreaking music I was very satisfied. Too bad for them that Tool absolutely blew them away afterwards, and that’s a lot coming from me! (DemonDust)
I think that by now everyone knows a bit about the live performance of these guys. For those of you who don’t; do not expect a lot of contact with the crowd but an introvert and technical performance combined with visuals that are shown on big screens behind the musicians. The gig at the Pinkpop festival was amazing and gave me some clues about the set list but I was very much surprised they kicked off with Maynard singing ‘Stinkfist’ (with the mic attached to a gas mask), which I thought was the last song of the set in Amsterdam earlier this year. The real spirit was not entirely present in this song which also counted for the follow-up ‘The Pot’. But afterwards, the sound was optimized and literally every note was a revelation, starting with ‘Wings for Mary’.
The sound, the sound, o my dear the sound; I think this was the most incredible sound I’ve ever witnessed at such a big venue. And because it was so perfect and because the capabilities of the musicians are pretty much beyond boundaries (the sounds coming out of the bass are just confusing: ‘Is that a bass guitar??’) the show just came close to perfection.
What surprised me very much was the fact that the songs of the new album did a better job than last summer. Whereas it was the almighty ‘Rosetta Stoned’ (with the intro) or the very, very impressive ‘Vicarious’ it all sounded just incredible. And if you imagine the visual effects on the screens combined with an awesome laser show, you can probably imagine very much that I was actually starting to fall into a state of trance and could nothing but be amazed.
I’ve heard some comments on Tool the last few months, both on the latest album and on the live gigs. The introvert attitude of the band sometimes leads to misunderstanding, especially in such big venues while the album itself is a bit softer than before. Maybe the band has realized or agreed with that, and is that why the interlude in ‘Schizm’ is played way faster than before. Whether you like it or not, Tool seems to be one of those very few bands that don’t give a damn about other peoples opinions. In fact; they seem to enjoy the confusion of others when they just sit in the centre of the stage and have a drink in the middle of the set.
If you’d ask me; I’d say that visiting a Tool show should be an experience. You are so much certain of the fact that the music from the albums will be played tremendously that the rest should be a surprise. If you do that, songs like ‘Schizm’, ‘Sober’ and ‘Vicarious’ are the most brilliant things you ever witness within music business. Then, Tool probably becomes the best band in the world.