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Concert Reviews:
Tool frontman leads homecoming at DTE
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

» See more SOUND CHECK

INDEDPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- “Even if only for one day,” Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan told fans at the DTE Energy Music Theatre on Wednesday night, June 7, “it’s good to be home.”

And that sold-out crowd would tell Keenan, in turn, that it doesn’t happen enough.

Wednesday’s show was the heavy rock troupe’s first stop in metro area since it toured to promote its last album, 2006’s “10,000 Days.” Clearly there’s been a whole lot of waiting going on, and Tool made up for its absence with a ferocious two-hour show that proved the Los Angeles-based quartet hasn’t lost any of its powerhouse potency during the interim.

For a photo gallery from Wednesday’s Tool concert, visit http://bit.ly/2rNKRp2

With the Scottville, Mich.-raised Keenan, who attended art college in Grand Rapids, looking like something from the latest “Robocop” sequel and performing his crouch ‘n’ coil routine from the shades on a rear-stage riser next to Danny Carey’s drums, the Tool set was the usual characteristic display of precision, progressive-flavored metal. Guitarist Adam Jones remained Tool’s spotlight soloist, but bassist Justin Chancellor kept the bottom end dynamic while Carey -- who sported a Detroit Pistons jersey -- filled the night with nimble accents but without ever losing the pocket.

Tool offered a hint of long-awaited new music with the instrumental “Descending,” which led into a charged romp through “Jambi,” but it was clearly a night for established favorites. “The Grudge” got things off to a moody, if spare start, while the pairing of “Parabol” and “Parabola” introduced the rear-stage video screen and a series of science fiction-themed videos, all arty and occasionally disturbing, while the band played. A bit of daring placed three of Tool’s best-known songs -- “Schism,” “Opiate” and “Aenema” -- at the front of the show as the lasers rolled into the show, but the group had plenty more to offer, including epic renditions of “Third Eye” and a”Forty-Six & 2.”

The de facto “encore” -- a second half set off by a 12-minute encore and a short Carey drum solo -- threw a treat into the mix, the first live performance in five years of “The Pot” from “10,000 Days,” in front of “Sweat” and a lengthy, show-closing version of “Stinkfist.”

Keenan kept his chatter to a minimum, though he introduced “Opiate” with a call for unity, invoking the rivalry between the University of Michigan and Michigan State before pointing out that being from the same state means “now you’re all cheering together.” He also told the crowd that “ignorance is the enemy” and urged fans to “be part of the solution.”

At the end of the night he thank fans “for the warm reception” -- but rest-assured it was well-earned by Keenan and his bandmates. And there will likely be another the next time Tool returns to these parts, hopefully before another 11 or so years.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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