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Tool Takes Over Tampa

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The World’s Biggest Touring Progressive Metal Band Brings Their Incredible Fear Innoculum Tour to the Sunny Shores of Tampa – Photos and Review of the Tool Concert at Amelie Arena in Tampa, FL

After Corona brought a screeching halt to their 2020 touring plans and forcing them to cancel the tour mid-way through, the one and only TOOL is finally back in full effect. Supporting Fear Inoculum, their first new album in over 14 years, the group are at the top of their game and ready to deliver a once-in-a-lifetime experience to their clamoring fans all across the country. Their fans’ dedication takes an almost religious-like aspect, with many Alex Grey-clad acolytes traveling across long distances and multiple states to catch more than one show. The latest sermon to take place was in Tampa, the middle stop on their 3 show trip to Florida, and I was lucky enough to be able to attend and take in the experience for myself and snap a few photos of the elusive band who rarely make the long trip down to our state.

Even two hours before the doors opened, die hard fans were already in line to be the first through the doors in order to get the super elusive limited edition posters. Each date on the show got a incredibly unique, psychedelic poster from a different artist and the band’s devoted followers scooped them up within minutes of the doors opening. As everyone began to settle into their seats after the mad dash for merch, the lights dimmed and the opening band Blonde Redhead began to play their opening song, Falling Man. Sporting a stripped down production bathing the group in blue and purple light, the band delivered spacey tunes featuring a unique dual singer setup. After playing a few more interesting songs, the group finished up their time on stage and the anxious wait for the main event began.

After a short break to give the crew time to set up, the lights dimmed and the crowd went wild as the opening of Fear Inoculum started to bellow out. The rounded veil that shrouded the stage lit up and began to display an introduction featuring some of Alex Grey’s signature artwork as the band appeared onto the stage and broke into the song. Flanked by gigantic LED walls that began to display psychedelic imagery timed perfectly to the song (amplified by the same imagery appearing on the LED curtain surrounding the stage, creating a three-dimensional “doubling” effect), Maynard finally appeared behind the band and began to sing to the gathered masses. Sticking mostly to the shadowy risers on each side of the stage, the singer let the instrumentalists take center stage as he worked his way through the nearly 11 minute opening song. After warming up the crowd with some newer material, the band played fan favorites Sober, The Pot and Pushit, with the LED curtain finally parting during the last part of Pushit finally giving the fans an unobstructed view of the band.

What struck me the most was how absolutely fantastic the band sounded in a live environment. Not only is the group at the top of their game musically, but the live production is incredibly live and polished, to the point where if you close your eyes you can almost forget that you’re at a concert and not at home listening to a record. Justin’s infectious bass grooves cut clearly through the mix, fitting in perfectly with Adam’s aggressive guitar licks and Danny’s inhumanly fast drumming. After introducing another new, more spacey song to the crowd, the band broke into one of their heaviest songs, The Grudge. With the LED veil finally out of the way, the lasers finally began to fire and introduced a whole new visual element to the show. The band followed up with The Patient, another song from what many believe is their greatest album, Lateralus. After blasting through Descending and Hooker with a Penis which featured even impressive lighting, visual and laser displays, the band took a break and a 12 minute timer appeared on the screen, giving the crowd enough time to grab a quick beer.

As the timer finally reached zero, the lights dimmed once again and Danny appeared on stage, masterfully delivering an incredible 6 minute improvisational drum solo (featuring an incredible keleidoscoping top down live video behind him) on a drumkit so large that is almost dwarfed the hulking 6’5″ drummer. After delivering an incredible audio workout to the crowd, the rest of the band finally appeared again in the center of the stage and began to play another more “chilled out” song, Culling Voices, which was debuted on this tour. As they got ready to play their final song Invincible, Maynard finally addressed the crowd and encouraged them to finally use their cell phones to record a piece of their closing act (the rest of the show had a very strict “no photo, no video” policy in order to maintain the mystery of the tour). Even though the group played an incredible two and a half hour set, it still felt like the fastest two and a half hours of my life due to the incredible musicianship and visual performance that the group puts on. Going to see Tool live is something that everyone should have on their bucket list at least once, if not a dozen times.

Gleb Barabanov is South Florida Insider's Vice President, Graphic Designer and Webmaster, as well as a Photographer and Writer covering events all over the world. Originally born in Odessa, Ukraine, Gleb now calls the sunny Florida area home, where he attended Full Sail University and received a Bachelors of Arts in Film Production. Gleb is obsessed with music, cameras, guitars, and his Shiba Inu, Yoshi

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