It’s been a pretty crappy February…. There is no doubt about that. The extreme highs of an awesome conference and seeing friends from overseas was quickly replaced by the tragic events I detailed in my last blog.
But this Friday just gone, I allowed myself a moment away from all of this to catch up with two very special friends and attend the Tool concert in Auckland.
This was a gig planed months ago (the tickets for this show sold out within minutes of the pre-sale opening) and I was thinking that given what’s happened recently, I shouldn’t attend this concert. But i believe that this is part of my healing process (also my friend Neil said he would have tracked me down and dragged me there).
Reflecting on the night, catching up with these two awesome friends, and attending an incredible concert… I’m so glad I did this.
Ben and Neil were still dealing with work things as I arrived at the venue, so I though it was a good time to go get my gig shirt and chill with a beer or three… after all, its still summer in NZ and Auckland had turned on a nice summers day.
But then I saw it – the merch line, it must have been 300-400 meters long, stretching past the arena and almost back to the old Auckland train station. This was going to be a long wait in the heat.
A little over an hour and 15 minutes later, I’d finally reached the front of the queue. During the wait, I messaged Neil and Ben about the merch line and after a few pics of the merch, I had their t-shirt orders and was able to get everything that was needed.
With t-shirts in had, Neil and Ben still a wee while away, and being parched, I made my way to the Tuning Fork bar for a well deserved beer.
It wasn’t long until Neil and Ben arrived and we got stuck into some good chat and also some good drinking too.
Around 6:30ish, we decided to head into the arena to catch the opener Author & Punisher…
How do I describe Author & Punisher? Well, it was WAY more punisher than anything else – Ben said it best when he said it was like Trent Reznor slowed down to a third. So it was a relief once he had finished his set.
By the time 20:45 came around, Tool hit the stage. They kicked off with the title track to Fear Inoculum and had this string curtain arced around the stage where they projected images on it as well as a massive video wall.
Ænima was up next and the crowd down on the floor went absolutely mental – that was awesome to be right in the middle of that. The song I was most hoping to hear was next in 7empest and it delivered!! The rest of the concert was a sonic and visual masterpiece and I loved every second of it.
Tool have incredibly high standards and never fail to disappoint live.
Another key reason to this being an incredible experience – No mobile phones! And this wasn’t any generic type of warning usually to be ignored. Tool was serious and security was weaving through the crowd all nigh to enforce this.
The rule was relaxed for the last song (Stinkfist) where Maynard said it was OK and for security to stand down.
There is a certain symmetry having two Tool concerts bookend this period of my life. In 2002, Tool was the last band I saw live before I married Inge and before we began a family. It was my 2002 gig shirt I wore to the concert on Friday night, and like 2002, it was a night I won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Thank you Tool!!