Tool – Hard Rock Live, Hollywood, FL 1/19/24
Photos: Larry Marano Photography
Metal icons Tool hit South Florida for two sold-out shows at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, F, the venue set near the luminescent guitar hotel. This show on Jan 19th marked the electrifying culmination of a two-night musical spectacle that left fans in awe. The venue has become the go-to place for music’s biggest acts. While it can be daunting to get a ticket there to most shows because it only seats around 7000, and the tickets are more expensive, there is no denying it is perhaps the best place to see a show in South Florida. The views, the visuals, and the audio are as good as it gets.
Opening the show were the band Elder, an American psychedelic prog band now based in Germany. The 4 piece had great energy with plenty of riffs and dual guitar solos. But if you didn’t know their music, it could be hard to tell where one song ended and the next began. However, they got the crowd going which is what any good opener is supposed to do.
The crowd was noticeably filled with people of all ages- men, women, and even children. The fact that a band with no big radio hits, and long intricate songs has been able to capture such a wide audience is an amazing thing to behold. Meanwhile, there were signs everywhere warning fans not to film, take photos, or even text during the show or they would be kicked out with no warning. More on that later.
At exactly 9 the band took to the stage and started with the tour’s nightly opener, the title track from their last album “Fear Inoculum.” The huge screens and strange footage were mesmerizing, and without all the cellphones lighting things up, helped make the show even more immersive. From there it was all about the music. Maynard James Keenan stood elevated in the back as he does, but he remains one of rock’s most captivating frontmen. His vocals were outstanding, if not a bit low in the overall mix.
Bassist Justin Chancellor was the most animated of the 4, moving along with the music and staring into crowd. Guitarist Adam Jones was less so, but stood on the other side of the stage expertly delivering his intricate guitar lines. Center stage was drummer Danny Carey, who practically seemed to be playing every piece of his massive drum kit all the time. The drum patterns and rhythms of the songs are so intricate and unique it is almost impossible not to pay attention to his every move.
Following the first track, Maynard instructed the crowd not to take out their phones and he might reward them with an opportunity to film the last song. So the crowd obliged and the band went into the track “The Pot” which sent the crowd into a frenzy. From there the band weaved in a few more songs from Fear Inoculum with tracks from the classic albums like “Intolerance” from Undertow, before ending the first set with “The Grudge” from Lateralus. It was only 7 songs, but it nevertheless a lengthy 1st half of the show.
The second set opened with Danny Carey standing in front of a huge gong where he preceded to begin his drum solo. He eventually transitioned to the drums and started playing along with electronics which led into the track “Chocolate Chip Trip.” The show then continued with the band performing “Flood” and “Invincible.” At this point Maynard allowed everyone to take out their phones to film the last song of the night. The final song being “Schism,” perhaps their most famous song, was a great was to close the show. The iconic bass line and lyric “I know the pieces fit” got the crowd on their feet.
The Hard Rock Live provided the perfect intimate setting for Tool to deliver a mesmerizing performance, showcasing their unparalleled musical prowess and captivating stage presence. From the powerful vocals of Maynard James Keenan to the intricate instrumentation, the concert was a testament to Tool’s enduring influence and ability to create an unforgettable live experience. This is truly a show not to be missed.