The lights went down, and the energy in the stadium instantly peaked. Thousands of fans screamed and applauded as the band took the stage. Me, i had eyes for only him.
He stood at the back of the stage - elevated, with Danny on drums. In front of him was Adam on guitar and on the far side of the stage was Justin on bass. Hanging from the ceiling were screens, and behind the band and directly ON the stage various images, videos, and clips were projected. Their videographer was excellent and they were so tight with thier visual cues. Maynard would often stomp his foot and the images would change....
Please imagine the red and yellow to be images of flames.
Maynard wore his signature cowboy hat, and sunglasses.
The band is sooo tight, and they have to be. Their music is filled with changing time signatures and poly-rhythms, often we'd look and see Justin rocking frantically back and forth while Danny drummed out GOD KNOWS what kind of rhythms.
There were three spotlights on the band.... leaving Maynard in the shadows the entire show. I think it's kinda neat that he wants the fans to focus on the other members, and you do. You totally focus on how hard they are working and how FUCKING hard they are rocking out!
There was no shortage of drugs being had... there was enough pot smoke in the air to get the whole stadium high. (In fact, my house smelled like SkunkTown before we left for the concert... not from smoking it, but from the various people cutting it and rolling it...all told between the 13 people staying at our place that night there were enough joints rolled to please your average touring Funk Band)
I don't remember the set list, B-rad remembers more than i do, i just know that with every song it was as if the energy and intensity of the concert and the fans rose a notch. You could definately tell the Die Hard Tool Fans from the Radio Fans. at varying intervals, the band would leave the stage (for a well deserved break) and there would be projections and ambient noises... the die hards - you could tell - were soaking it all in, every last drop of anything the band gave them... the radio fans were screaming: "MORE!! Do Something!"....they are!!
Finally the moment arrived. They began the first few riffs of "TenThousand Days - Wings for Marie" and i thought my heart would explode.
Here's a bit of background quickly:
Maynard grew up in a southern baptist home, where his step-father was a minister. His mother, Judith Marie, was a devout baptist - and even when she was crippled by a stroke she never once lost her faith or questioned God. Not so for Maynard. There are a few songs written for his mother, one of them is "Judith" that he recorded with the band A Perfect Circle wherein he questions his mother's undying faith: "It's not like you killed someone, it's not like you drove a spiteful spear into his side, Praise the one who left you broken down and paralyzed, he did it all for you" During the writing period for the album 10,000 Days Maynard's mother died - approx 27 years after having the stroke that left her crippled. (10,000 Days equals roughly 27 years). The song is for his mother, and the part that gets me everytime is: "You're the only one who can hold your head of high, shake your fists at the gate cyring: I've Come Home Now! Fetch me the Spirit, The Son, and the Father! Tell them their pillar of Faith has ascended! It's Time Now! MY Time NOW! Give me my, give me my WINGS!" woo. I get goosebumps just remembering it. (for the
full lyrics to this song go here)
Before playing this song at the concert, Maynard pleaded to the audience to refrain from flash photography. I can only imagine how hard it must be for him to play this song over and over again at each show - which is why i count myself DOUBLY blessed that i saw it live, cuz i doubt they'll ever play it again for any subsequent tours. In my opinion, this song was the best performance of the night. It's difficult not to get swept up in the passion when he sings.
When the concert was over, the band met together on the stage and had a group hug. I love that about them, that they share their love and energy and congratulate themselves. Then Maynard gave a quick wave and left the stage - allowing the rest of the band time to soak in the applause and thundering screams of the fans.
Many times during the night, i was making mental notes of things to remember for my blog - eventually i stopped and let the music take over me. There was no way i'd remember anyway. But i do remember thinking: "This is the greatest show on Earth. How could anyone go to this concert and NOT KNOW that Tool is greatest band on the planet?" so, it must have been really good. lol.
And now i will put away my lust for the Man and the Band (well, on my blog anyway - i still sometimes call b-rad Maynard in bed...tee heee) until the next album, or release, or concert. Thanks for putting up with my school girl obsession. and i'll leave you with this clip of Danny Carey playing drums for the last couple of minutes of "Lateralus" (which they played right after 10,000 Days)...
Turn off the TV, Think for yourself, Question Authority
Love to all of you,
PS - Here's is a great review of the Saskatoon Concert.