Tool & Killing Joke at Gila River Arena – Show Review

Review By Diana Peterson
Photos By Adam Messler

October 23, 2019 Westgate was flooded with Tool fans, Tool Army, and Tool t-shirts for the Fear Inoculum tour at Gila River arena. Hey, I was one of those wearing a Tool t-shirt! No surprise however, this was a completely sold out show. If you were not one of the 18,300 ticket holders, no worries. Here is a rundown on how the show was!

Tool VIP – Gila River Arena

VIP ticket holders arrived six hours early only to wait and wait some more. Expect to give up your phone to security for about three hours if you want to be a part of the VIP experience. Guests had the opportunity to watch the sound check, minus the attendance of frontman Maynard. You will only get to hear the sound check when Maynard is included, with a strict rule of no peeking through the curtains. VIP guests did experience a 10 minute group chat with Adam Jones, Danny Carey and Justin Chancellor and were able to enjoy some food and receive some cool Tool swag like a backpack, hoodie, and a set of pins with photos of all Tool members. The long wait time was the only real complaint, compared to the actual time you wind up having with the participating band members. Oh, and the photo op is a group photo of all VIP guests with participating band members. Some will say it is not worth the ticket price for VIP, and others will logically justify the price. With the food, merchandise, and great seats I will say it’s a hell of a deal if you don’t mind parting with your phone for a few hours. Only you can decide if you ever want to experience VIP the Tool way.

Opening the show promptly at 7:30 pm was English rock band Killing Joke with song “Butcher” and I am immediately taken back to 1980’s goth rock.  Jaz Coleman (lead vocals) is standing in the middle of the stage, quite stiff with his arms in the air, with a vampire gothic look as he sort of speaks his lyrics. I could describe Killing Joke like watching slam poetry with some hard guitar riffs and catchy drum beats. Coleman greets the crowd with his english accent “Good Evening everyone…..welcome” with some pausing in between songs. Half way through the set Coleman makes a statement of “I didn’t realize eighty percent of Americans are two paychecks away from being homeless” before going into songs “Complications” and “S.O.36”. The crowd is a mix of some enjoying Killing Joke, some..not so much. “Pandemonium”, the last of the 10 song set, received a standing ovation along with a screaming chant of “we want Tool”.

The venue is filling up with an ebb and flow of fans getting to their seats or leaving to grab last minute drinks or merchandise. An announcement is made to remind everyone of the no photo policy which we can talk about shortly. Lights go dark and this majestic curtain of fringe covers the stage while the crowd goes wild when Danny Carey takes his seat at the drums. Adam Jones (guitar) and Justin Chancellor (bass) take their places followed by Maynard and open with “Fear Inoculum”. This song is more than excellent live! Something great has to be said about the sounds of live music, not to mention when it is Tool performing. As the song ends, Maynard says “Alpha…Omega…A.Z…good to be home”. Yes, Arizona is home to Maynard James Keenan, and he has a shop in Jerome called Puscifer. You could probably find his exact jacket and shirt he was wearing at that shop, even get a haircut. Maynard continues with “Just got in from L.A.” as the band plays directly into “Aenima” (how fitting). With the release of the new album, this tour included plenty of music from all four previous albums including “The Pot” (10,000 Days), “Parabol” and “Parabola” (Lateralus). The visuals throughout the show were fantastic and the fringe curtain almost gave a 3D effect of the lights. At the end of “Parabola” the curtain of fringe opens and Adam Jones gracefully bows to the crowd. The set is an absolutely gorgeous display with the Tool Army symbol looking like it is floating above. Maynard gets playful with the crowd, saying it “smells like marijuana” as Carey is playing a bit on the drums before going into “Pneuma”. This song included an appealing light show with visual effects and Maynard continues a playful act by sneaking around the stage moving speakers and amps. Towards the end of the song, Maynard catches someone with a phone out and gestures him to stop. This was obviously distracting to the frontman as he missed his first line to “Schism”. The no photo policy is no killing joke! Many people were immediately excused from the show if caught. I will say, it is nice to watch the show without the distraction of a phone. As Maynard said at the end of the night before performing “Stinkfist”, “Hey AZ, thank you, always a pleasure. I know you all just wanna pull it out and touch it. F@#$ it. Film the last song f@#$ing weirdos. Security stand down”. And, about everyone did just that, pulled their phones out and took whatever recordings and photos they could. The thing about attending a Tool show is you are playing by their rules. And it is strict, yet refreshing.  Patience is a must with Tool. They’re music is so much better when you can experience it in the moment and I agree, a recording just isn’t the same. 

Fear Inoculum
The Pot
Forty Six & 2

Chocolate Chip Trip


Killing Joke

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