Legendary Prog Metal Band TOOL Delivers an Astonishing Performance At The Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, FL

January 19, 2024, 3 months ago

Words by Gleb Barabanov | Photos by Joel Barrios

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The past four years have been very busy for Tool, who have made it their aim to perform their latest album Fear Inoculum at every corner of the globe. But nothing could prepare their fanatical masses for what they were about to experience at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida. Even if you’ve seen the band many times before (as most of the people that were here lined up long before the doors opened have), this was an incredibly special opportunity to see the band up close and personal instead of the usual large Arena or Festival shows. This the first night of a two-show run at the Hard Rock Live, and the unique atmosphere of this gorgeous venue certainly made this an experience unlike any other.

Kicking off the festivities was Elder, an incredible stoner/doom metal band that did an amazing job warming up the crowd. The Berlin-based band spent the next half hour delivering riff after tasty riff to the fans that had gathered to check out the opener, which in my opinion has been Tool’s best one since they brought Intronaut on tour with them back in 2012. Even though most of the crowd was unfamiliar with the band, their blend of heavy, fuzzy riffs and Sleep-esque drone-filled sonic landscapes won over the audience, and I saw quite a few of them buying Elder shirts after their set.

Finally, after a short break while their army of techs began final preparations for the show, the lights dimmed and the opening bells of Tool’s latest album’s eponymous song Fear Inoculum began to play over the loudspeakers. The crowd went wild as the band appeared on stage one by one, first Danny, soon joined by Adam and Justin on both ends of the stage as they broke into the opening jam. Finally, Maynard himself appeared from the shadows to another massive roar from the fans, hanging out in the dimly lit back of the stage and sporting his trademark giant white mohawk. The band’s playing was as tight as ever, with Adam and Justin expertly riffing away while Danny worked his magic on the drumkit, and Maynard’s voice sounded incredible as always.

One of my absolute favorite things about Tool concerts is that the visual aspect of the band’s performance is second to none. From the fancy lighting rigs that moved up and down in time to the songs, to the lasers that danced around in the ceiling as fog filled to the air, every part of the experience was expertly tailored to provide the most visually compelling element along to the music. And of course, one of the most important elements in this audio-visual extravaganza is the giant LED screen that flanks the band, displaying (depending on the song) either beautiful psychedelic colorful kaleidoscopes or dark and twisted creatures, all created by mastermind Adam Jones.

The setlist mostly consisted of their newer material, but they also mixed in some rarities for the day-one fans. Tool staples like “Jambi” and “Pneuma” made their usual appearance, but the band also broke out “Rosetta Stoned” and “Sweat”, which haven’t been played live in a long time. Finishing off the first part of their set with “Descending” and “The Grudge”, the band took a very unique approach to their encore by taking a short 12 minute intermission to allow the fans to grab refreshments and use the restroom (and of course, let the guys rest up for a few minutes after that marathon of musical performance). The encore consisted of the astonishing drum solo “Chocolate Chip Trip” and the spooky “Culling Voices”, which fully showcased Danny Carey’s superhuman ability as a drummer and multi-instrumentalist as he stepped down from the kit to play guitar along with the other three members in the front of the stage. Finishing their up their setlist with the one-two knockout combo of Invincible and Stinkfist, the band delivered an ending that was nothing short of mindblowing for everyone lucky enough to see it.

If you have the opportunity to see Tool anywhere near your city during their upcoming tour, I highly encourage you to take it. Every concert they play feels like an once-in-a-lifetime experience, from the incredible live show to the frenzy that comes with being first in line to get one of those beautiful show unique posters. Your heart won’t stop beating out of your chest until long after you get home from the show.

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