TOOL - Fear Inoculum Tour - Raleigh, NC 11/24/19
Tool brought 13 years of anticipation to a screeching halt this past August, when they dropped Fear Inoculum. The ten track record, full of intense twists and turns in true Tool fashion, brought highly mixed reviews from critics and fans alike, but from where I sit, it was a success in their progression as a whole.
Not only did Tool drop a hot one on the diehard fans, they kept us on ice for years by not bringing their catalogue to streaming services until three weeks before their newest release. This was something that absolutely destroyed the current charts. Tool's six albums from 1993 and beyond, all made the Top 10 in charting, even though none were new releases. This was all something that blew everyone's minds. The amount of hype brought by this even dethroned today's mainstream artists for a bit due to being witheld during this new fangled "streaming age."
Following the release of Fear Inoculum, Tool announced a run of twenty or so dates for their first run in support of the record. It just so happened that I'd be in North Carolina at the time of one of those.
PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC is an amazing venue, holding roughly 20,000 attendees for various events. In anticipation for Tool, the crowd gathered early, fire-pits in the parking lots, tailgating, and I would assume heavy consumption of alcohol and possibly some illicit drug usage, which we do not condone (of course).
Promptly at 7:30pm, Killing Joke took the stage to start the show in support for Tool. The large stage setup gave these elder rockers the space needed to give us a blast from the past with their classics from the 80's until now. They've still got gas in the tank! During the quick intermission between sets, Tool was to take the stage at 8:45pm and provided nothing but goosebumps the whole night.
Opening their set, the title track, "Fear Inoculum" rang through the arena with drummer Danny Carey's flawless and effortless motions. Feeling extremely blessed, for the first ten minutes of the show, I was able to shoot photographs for Inside the Setlist and share them with everyone. Tool absolutely tore the roof off of PNC Arena for their opening song. Vocalist Maynard James Keenan then said "Hello Raleigh, sounds more like Charlotte." The crowd was electric throughout.
Playing 14 songs and sampling a few others, the entire night was incredible to see with their stunning light show and perfection with the videos from their whole production staff. During "Pneuma", you could feel the energy of the sound engineer actually turning the volume to 11 at certain times. Feeding off of eachother during every song, Guitarist Adam Jones and Bassist Justin Chancellor worked magic with the fingers with every riff and breakdown. Raleigh was also given a bit of a treat with "Intolerance" from Undertow which only select dates have gotten that extra illusive "14th song." Another tiny extra that hasn't been done on this tour was seeing Killing Joke Keyboardist Roi Robertson playing with Tool for "Descending." Immediately following, Tool played "Forty Six and 2" before twelve minutes of silence where a countdown was displayed on the video board on the stage.
When the timer hit zero, Tool blasted back on stage with an amazing "gong solo" and then drum solo by Danny Carey, then straight into "Chocolate Chip Trip." To close the night, a short clip of "(-) Ions" and an extended version of "Stinkfist." The overall experience and feeling from this concert was exhilarating without seeing thousands of cell phones above everyone's heads. (Cell Phone usage of any kind was prohibited other than during "Stinkfist.") In my well traveled career of concert-going, this is one for the books and will be very difficult to top.
Tool has another set of 17 dates for the Fear Inoculum Tour starting in January, and I suggest you get tickets early, because missing this show is a no-no.
PNC Arena Setlist
(with Roi Robertson) (keyboard solo by Killing Joke keyboardist Roi Robertson)