Tool Delivers A Visually Stunning Performance at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center
Tool Fear Inoculum Tour 2019
It’s 2019 and Tool is seemingly as big in the rock music scene as they’ve ever been. The band sent fans into a frenzy back in August when they announced the release of Fear Inoculum, their long-awaited follow up to 2006’s 10,000 Days.
Along with a new record, Tool also released its entire discography on digital platforms leading them to virtually taking control of the music charts, even knocking Taylor Swift’s Lover from the top spot with Fear Inoculum’s release.
This was something that rock bands don’t easily do, however, Tool is no ordinary band and their supporters are no ordinary fans.
Now Tool has returned and is touring, like everything Maynard James Keenan, Adam Jones, Danny Carey, and Justin Chancellor do, it’s bigger and better than before.
The tour simply dubbed The Fear Inoculum Tour sold out almost instantly in every market announced and we were lucky enough to catch the Philadelphia stop at the Wells Fargo Center.
If you’ve seen Tool live before you know it’s a transcendental experience, a religious experience you weren’t sure was possible. This is by no means your average rock concert.
As Tool prepared to take the stage an announcement to put your phones away came over the arena’s PA. Failure to do so would result in being ejected from the concert. They weren’t joking, luckily Philly seemed to be well behaved.
This is one of the first things I like about Tool shows. There’s something special about witnessing a concert and having no phone screens in front of you, nobody texting in the seat next to you, and no drunk guy arguing with his buddy over the phone.
With Tool you get 2 hours of being present and experiencing the music in the deepest depths of your body, I’m a fan of this no cell phone policy. It reminds me of the days when you used to see your favorite band and nobody had a portable computer in their pants pocket.
But I digress, Tool hit the stage around 8:45 pm with a mesh curtain of sorts surrounding the stage. This was something new and boy was I shocked when I saw its purpose.
As the intro for the title track “Fear Inoculum” begins the crowd roars with excitement. Jones, Carey, Chancellor and soon after Maynard take their places and the intense sonic and visual ride begins.
Tool wasted no time stunning the crowd. That mesh curtain produces images in front of the band which ties in with the massive screens behind the stage. It’s difficult to explain just how incredible this production is right from the start of the show.
The musicianship of Danny Carey, Adam Jones, and Justin Chancellor is awe-inspiring. It’s a real-time math equation being solved right before your eyes. Maynard’s vocals fit perfectly into the mix, his voice truly being used as an instrument amongst the other members.
Each song is different with its own set of visuals and stage elements. Maynard walks back and forth between platforms on both sides of the drum kit and even that is done with precision and intention. Every detail is perfectly mapped as if it’s meant to consistently be visually pleasing to the audience.
The guys waste no time playing song after song. The set contains a strong mix of new material and fan favorites.
During songs like “Schism” and “Parabola” their classic music videos play on-screen, while new tracks like “Pneuma” and “Descending” introduce some laser lights that are far more intense than previous tours.
Tool even included “Swamp Song” into the setlist, a song they haven’t played since 2007.
The first half of the set concludes with the Tool classic “Forty Six & 2” and the lights come on with a clock that countdowns from 10 minutes. Impressively enough this is the only break that the band takes throughout the 2 hours and 15 minute performance.
When the timer runs out, the lights go down and Danny Carey makes his way on stage alone to begin his drum clinic of “Chocolate Chip Trip” off of Fear Inoculum. It’s basically an insanely cool drum solo that involves multiple instruments played by Carey himself with overhead cameras showing the audience the raw talent of Danny.
Maynard and company return to the stage to perform the nearly 13 minute long monster track “Invincible” which is pure awesomeness. Tool are possibly one of the only bands who could play a song of this length in a sold-out arena and nobody gets bored watching it. That in itself is talent.
Tool close out the evening with “Stinkfist”, Maynard telling the crowd “Thank you Philadelphia, you’ve been great go ahead and take your phones out you can take photos of this last one.” And out came phone lights being illuminated from thousands of screens in every direction.
To be fair, Philly was well behaved and respectful and holy crap the light show is insanely intense during the final number. What a visual spectacle.
The guys really were top-notch. 13 years has not only delivered an incredible album but also has given time for the band to refresh their stage show.
Tool only has a few shows left on the Fear Inoculum Tour 2019 however don’t fret the band has announced U.S Tour dates in 2020. Check out the full list of tour dates below.
Tool Tour Dates:
2019 tour dates:
November 19 Brooklyn, NY Barclay’s Center
November 21 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Casino Arena
November 22 Atlantic City, NJ Boardwalk Hall
November 24 Raleigh, NC PNC Arena
November 25 Washington, DC Capital One Arena
2020 tour dates:
January 10 San Diego, CA Viejas Arena
January 12 San Diego, CA Viejas Arena
January 15 Fresno, CA Save Mart Center
January 17 Las Vegas, NV T-Mobile Arena
January 18 Glendale, AZ Gila River Arena
January 21 Austin, TX Frank Irwin Center
January 22 Dallas, TX American Airlines Arena
January 28 Atlanta, GA State Farm Arena
January 29 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
January 31 Memphis, TN FedEx Forum
February 1 New Orleans, LA Smoothie King Center