TOOL at Birmingham Resorts World Arena, 30/5/24

Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena – let’s face it – for some of us it will always be the NEC – is a 15000 capacity arena has had a serious facelift since I was last there in 1988 and is far nicer than the MEN Arena or AO Arena in Manchester.  The reason I was there  was to see Tool – one of my most favourite bands – and I wanted to see them somewhere different for a change.

Getting there proved arduous, two 45 minute delays on the M6 meant my journey was over 3 hours getting down to the venue.  I missed the support, sitting in my seat about 1 minute before the house lights dimmed

Was it worth it – oh yes – the show was nothing short of mesmerizing. 

The band kicked off the show with the powerful and intricate track Jambi, setting the tone for a night filled with progressive metal mastery showcasing the band’s evolution over the years.

Fear Inoculum and Pneuma from their latest album demonstrated Tool’s ability to create intricate soundscapes that captivate the audience, the later showcasing drummer Danny Carey’s ridiculous interweaving polyrhythms.

The intense energy of songs like and Descending and The Grudge also had the crowd gripped, everyone was fully immersed in the music as was bassist Justin Chancellor acting like a demented toff in his braces and bow tie, abusing his trademark Was basses.

One of the standout moments of the night was the performance of Rosetta Stoned, providing a complex and intense journey that highlighted the band’s musical prowess, with singer Maynard James Keenan prowling the raised platforms at the back, in the half light, often squatting and waiting to pounce the microphone.

The psychedelic sounds of Chocolate Chip Trip, preceded by Mr Carey playing rhythms on a gong, provided a mesmerizing interlude before diving back into the intense rhythms of Flood and Invincible.

Tool closed out the night with the epic Stinkfist, leaving the audience wanting more.  Whilst five of the eleven songs played were from the latest album (which was released almost five years ago) they covered every album.

Tool’s performance in Birmingham was a testament to their status as one of the leaders of progressive metal, delivering a show that was nothing short of extraordinary.

And then I remembered why I hadn’t been to the NEC in such a long time, it took over an hour to get out of the car park, but I had Tool blasting out of the speakers whilst I contemplated getting a ticket for Tool on Saturday in Manchester, whilst also revelling in the Donald Trump guilty verdict – life is good and it is Tool shaped!!

About Ant Firmin

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