Tool // Live @ Toyota Center // 2.4.22 CONCERT REVIEWS FEATURED MUSIC by Ommar Ortuvia - February 12, 2022April 3, 2022 Article and Photos by: Ommar Ortuvia Houston, TX — Friday night at the Toyota Center was a special night, because inside its walls Danny Carey, Maynard Keenan, Justin Chancellor, and Adam Jones were all doing what they normally do. So if these people were doing what they normally do, then what is so special about that? Well these four guys, who collectively are known as Tool, “normally” create and execute a very special brand of hard rock/progressive music that has garnered a fan base that will never refer to themselves as being merely ‘casual’ fans. With Tool, one normally dives all in and joins this fervent fan base, or is left on the sideline confused trying to understand their unique style of music, art, and philosophy. And on this cold night in Houston, Texas, Tool gave their die-hard dedicated fans exactly everything that they asked for at this sold-out show. Tool is a band that formed in 1990 and originates from Los Angeles, California, and in the 30-plus years that they have been active only 5 studio albums have been released. While this may leave some people hungry for more, this just shows the dedication that Tool places on their albums, carefully crafting each song to become an emotion, an experience, disregarding the standard song pattern to let each track become a reflection of the innate metaphysical and mathematical rules that govern nature and existence. This was clearly evident from the start with “Litanie Contre la Peur”, an instrumental track that gives off an exotic air with a duduk-sounding melody that was played while the musicians slowly started taking the stage. The stage was backlit with a screen that generated multiple images that reflect their distinctive art, and a curtain in the foreground that made these images leap from the back of the stage to the front. This gave the attendees a visual display that synced with the music. Once all the members of Tool were present on stage, they began their live set with “Fear Inoculum” off their 2019 release of the same name, to then play “Sober”, the first single from their 1993 debut album Undertow and the song that made Tool known due to its expanded radio airplay and video rotations. Afterwards was a mix of songs from all their albums, each one having a distinct “flavor” of visuals to go along with it. After ten songs, Tool concluded the first part of their set with the interestingly-named “Hooker with a Penis”, a heavy song that structurally follows a more standard hard rock/metal pattern that riled the crowd up with double bass drumming and hard guitar riffs. Then…. complete darkness, silence, and a timer projected to the front letting the concert goers know when the encore would star. For the encore Tool focused on songs from their latest album, kicking this off (pun intended) with a solo from drummer Danny Carey that exemplifies why he is considered one of the best drummers alive (or even all-time). But then he stood up from his throne to a modular synth next to his drum rack, which he set up to play a hypnotic arpeggio, giving him a chance to play along with this futuristic melody on a variation of “Chocolate Chip Trip”. At that point Danny let everyone know that he could essentially become a one-man band parallel to Tool. Afterwards the other members returned to the stage, playing “Culling Voices” amid confetti flying in the air, to then conclude the 2 ½ -hour show with “Invincible”. To say that one went to “see” Tool live is an understatement; given the music and the visual art that accompanies it, one goes to a concert of this caliber to experience Tool. And when the concert, ahem, experience is over, one walks away feeling almost like they have been re-birthed and anointed with a mysticism and enlightenment beyond the terrestrial plane.