Tool in Washington DC: A mind-blowing visual and aural feast

Live Review

Tool. Photo by Shuvam DasGupta.

By Shuvam DasGupta, Rock At Night Philly

Live Review: Tool Live at Capital One Arena, DC (02/22/22)

Waiting for Tool at the Capital One Arena. Photo by Shuvam DasGupta.

This is not a review. This is an experience of a fanboy, witnessing one of the greatest bands performing live on stage. Rock at Night was present at the Capital One Arena in Washington, DC to watch Tool live–and what an experience!

Tool is known for their cultish followers/fans and one can tell that from the massive crowd. The arena was packed end to end. Surprisingly it was an ‘all seating’ event, even on the floor level – a bit unusual for a rock concert. At 8:45 p.m. Danny Carey came on the center stage and the crowd bursts into cheers and screams. He began playing the intro of “Fear Inoculum”. Adam Jones and Justin Chancellor walked to the front of the stage followed by Maynard James Keenan, who came to the back platform of the stage. The lighting was dim and it seemed like he became invisible, almost from the darkness. For the next approximately 2 hours what happened was just musical excellence and extraordinary visuals with lighting (which sometimes make it really hard to shoot photos of them).

Tool. Photo by Shuvam DasGupta.

Tool is definitely unusual from any other band in terms of stage performance. For the first 4 songs, the stage was covered with a see-through curtain. During the song ‘Pushit’ the curtains rolled to the side dramatically with the music. During the whole show, Maynard was in the back platform and sometimes almost invisible, sometimes crawling and creeping while the instruments are playing. I feel like, Tool is a band where the vocalist Maynard is actually not the ‘frontman’. Instead, it is the drummer Danny – who defines all the songs with the rhythm and percussion to create the unique and signature sound.

Overall it was a visual and aural treat for the spectators. The setlist consisted of almost all the songs from the album Fear Inoculum and other hits like “The Pot”, “The Grudge”, and “Hooker With a Penis”.  I must give special mention to the song “Pneuma” – it was mind-blowing how they manage to perform the song live on stage with such intricacies.

Finally, hats off to the management for managing the massive crowd, abiding by the COVID protocol. It was a fantastic team effort that they managed to pull off.


Shuvam DasGupta