The tool set Festhalle Frankfurt into a hypnotic ecstasy

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Tool (lives in Frankfurt, 2022) © Torsten Reitz

Good things come to those who wait: after a decade and a half, Tool returns to Frankfurt on his “Fear Inokulum” tour. The four Californians around the singer Maynard James Keenan present themselves at Festhalle as a precisely coordinated band that, in addition to numerous new songs, also offers its fans a trance audiovisual journey that is now over.

So now they’re back, concerts after what felt like an eternal “crown break”. Such a break is not a new experience for Tol fans, because the style-defining four from Los Angeles enjoy spending a lot of time releasing new material and even concerts in local arenas.

After a one-off show in Berlin and performances at Rock am Ring and Rock im Park in 2019, the band is now back in Germany – and not only makes the capital dangerous again, but also the financial metropolis on the Main.

tradition and modernity

Not only the interior, but also the stands of the venerable Festhalle in Frankfurt are filled to the brim. Fans can’t wait to finally see their heroes live and in person. This does not detract from the enthusiasm that Tool behaves as distant as usual and hides behind a veil covering the entire stage during the first songs, while the audience in the arena is absolutely forbidden to use cell phones. Security forces go through the corridors time and time again to make sure everyone is really complying.

Compared to the previous concert in Berlin, Tool has completely reworked its set list. At the concert in Frankfurt, the focus was clearly on the current album “Fear Inoculum”, which was not yet released at the time. The men around singer Maynard Keenan James will perform a total of six songs from the album this evening. There is also “Litanie contre la Peur” from the tape. The band plays only two songs from their early stage, the classics “Opiate” and “Pushit” at Festhalle. But there is a big surprise with the first live performance of “Ticks & Leeches” in ten years.

A well-oiled machine

As always, frontman Maynard Keenan James stays in the background with his striking Mohawk hairstyle. He rarely comes into the spotlight and in part for an encore he only passes a few sentences to the audience: Before the last song “Invincible” he finally lets the audience, which he claims has been polite so far, snatch their “stupid”. phones ”from your pocket to take photos and record videos. Dozens of cell phones were immediately picked up in the festival hall as many wanted to take a media reminder of the memorable evening home with them.

In addition, Tool has been throwing himself and his fans into a real trance for a good two hours, in which drummer Danny Carey in particular stands out as the (wrong) secret star of the show. In his basketball jersey for Kansas Jayhawks, completely relaxed, he builds a sophisticated rhythmic foundation on which is enthroned by the deep tones of bassist Justin Chancellor, guitar riffs from Adam Jones and the distinctive voice of Maynard Keenan James. Besides, he also knows how to use the very complex modular synthesizer in “Chocolate Chip Trip”.

Moving (sound) images

Despite the long break, the team presents itself as a perfectly coordinated team in the Frankfurt Festhalle. This also includes the entire staging that Tool keeps away from the audience throughout the performance: in addition to the aforementioned stage curtain and the lack of communication with the audience, the atmospheric light background, video animations behind the musicians and the sometimes lavish laser show makes it more like a total. a work of art than a concert in the appropriate sense.

Fans in Frankfurt honor this hypnotic performance that they literally had to wait forever for, incessantly cheering. Every short break and silent passage is drowned out by applause. This is what Tools had in mind when they issued a strict ban on telephoning: nothing and no one should distract them and their audience from what was happening on stage and in the hall. Although the concert is a large-scale audiovisual spectacle, it creates a kind of intimate experience between the band and the audience.

“Please honor us again soon!”

When your dream trip finally ends after a good two hours (plus a twelve-minute break before the encore), probably none of those present leave the concert with a bad feeling.

A band that has matured musically and is now almost tame by their standards can feel too routine at times. But that shouldn’t hide the fact that the psychedelic high on the senses and the fuzzy sound structures of the new songs were worth the long wait for many Tool fans.


Litanie contre la Peur (na taśmie) / Fear Inokulum / Opiate / The Pot / Pushit / Pneuma / The Grudge / Eon Blue Apocalypse / The Patient / Decending / Ticks & Leeches // Chocolate Chip Trip / Culling Voices / Invincible

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