this is the second time in nottingham that cameras are a no-no. however, this ruling was apparently from the band / ?management since cameras weren’t allowed in the may gig in london as well!

like muse, i have seen tool before as a support act (RATM in newcastle back in ’93). that time, i did see their entire set, which was a blur to me since all i can remember was the RATM set. the other opening act then was called wool. which i thought was a joke since surely no two bands with rhyming names would play the same night (wool was a real band – its guitarist, franz stahl, played for the foos after pat smear’s departure from the group).

the opening act was mastodon, a metal band that’s on the rise at the moment along the likes of in flames and trivium. soloing is back, baby. i only have their leviathan album and i’m sure they, err.. played blood and thunder. one thing for sure they were loud. much louder than any bands i’ve seen for a long while. my denim jacket actually fluttered from the PA, honest to god.

tool got on at ten to nine. at least we didn’t have to wait till late after nine unlike some bands. the crowd was kinda reserved and well-behaved much to my amusement. i suppose this is the real matured rock crowd as opposed to the bratty types i saw at MCR. a screaming guitar feedback saw a sauntering maynard james keenan in a garish orange ?fleece going, “wake up” (see video here), kicking off the set with stinkfist. i wanted to pee in my pants there and then.

the stage had the tool guys well spread out with four rectangular video screens playing adam jones’ claymation monstrosities in the background throughout most of the set. adam had his silverburst les paul customs which he played through three diezel full stacks (with 6 mesa engineering 4×12 cabs). i was glad that i chose to watch the spectacle slap bang in the middle behind the FOH engineer – the best mix (the volume they had on for mastodon remained unchanged) in the house!

jambi was an awesome interplay between adam’s meshuggah-like riffing and the precision of both justin chancellor and danny carey. like most tool songs, jambi was more than 5 minutes long. not as long as the non-eBow-assisted guitar sustain that was the somewhat hauntingly grandiose intro for lost keys. midway through the set they played wings for marie and 10,000 days back to back. again, being where i was, the view of the lasers accompanying the tunes was breathtaking. for the most part that evening, the set was mostly from 10,000 days. they did two from lateralusschism and lateralus.

maynard said goodnight after their main set, but the whole band actually remained on stage and launched into my favourite tune from 10,000 days, vicarious. this is one tune i could play repetitively on the iPod in the car, full blast. no offense to josh freese, but danny carey’s drumming was beautifully precise, enough to reaffirm the fact that APC is merely tool-lite. as a parting shot, they played the magnificent ænima. maynard, adam, danny and justin then got to the middle of the stage for a group hug (this is their last UK date) before waving the crowd goodbye.

it was really nice to actually see a band in two separate phases of its career. tool in 1993 was a band playing really hard-hitting metal-ish tunes, supporting friends like RATM (tom morello was a high school mate of adam). and now, they are selling out arenas and still sounding mysterious and awesome as ever. no cameras allowed or otherwise, it felt really good being there on friday night, reducing the acuity of my eardrums, seeing / listening to some of the best rock tunes of the past two decades.

[since i don’t have any pics, some of the lucky punters who managed to slip their cameras through security have got some shots from the notts gig on you-know-where. click on the songs in green in the setlist below.]

ice arena, nottingham 01.12.06 set: stinkfist / forty six & 2 / jambi / schism / lost keys / rosetta stoned / the pot / wings for marie / 10, 000 days / lateralus / vicarious / ænima