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Tool @ Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam

CONCERT REVIEW: TOOL Deliver A Night Of Musical Mastery In Amsterdam

It is almost tradition at this point that TOOL deliver an incredible show in Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome somewhere surrounding the festival summer, and this year was no exception. On the 27th of May, TOOL delivered yet another exquisite performance in the Ziggo Dome, in front of a sold-out audience even with the expensive ticket prices that the band asked for their seated show. These seats would not be used much though, as the majority of the arena rose out of their seats within the first seconds of the opening song Jambi.

We have not received new music from TOOL since their comeback album Fear Inoculum, which was released back in 2019. Our main question before entering the arena was whether we were going to be seeing the same show as two years ago. With a focus on the musical sublimity of TOOL, the exact same show would not have been unpleasant, but we were ecstatic to find out that the decor, and setlist had changed. The rules surrounding phone use were even stricter than last year.

Let’s start with that last point because a full arena with no phone in sight is quite a unique phenomenon. Just as years past, TOOL did not tolerate camera use for the making of images and videos, but this year, after the first song, vocalist Maynard James Keenan urged attendees to keep their phones in their pockets for the duration of the show and to fully immerse in the show. To “take a trip” with the band, in Keenan’s exact words. For those who would still love to have some video footage from the show, TOOL gave the go-ahead for the last song on the setlist to be filmed by the legion of fans. This request was incredibly well abided by the vast majority of the fans, with only a handful of fans rudely still filming throughout the show.

The band’s signature trippy visuals played a central role throughout the night, displayed on massive screens that enveloped the audience in a psychedelic embrace. Each song was accompanied by a distinct visual theme, enhancing the auditory experience with stunning, often surreal imagery that would captivate alongside the lengthy songs.

A little more than halfway through the show, TOOL allowed for an intermission to take place. A break in a concert is not something we see often, but many fans took this time to refresh their drinks in the bar outside of the actual venue, smoke a cigarette in the designated outside area or sneak a peek on their phones, which for some were burning a hole through their pockets in the 90 minutes prior. After the 12 minutes, fans were treated to a stellar moment during Chocolate Chip Trip.

This track served as a showcase for Danny Carey’s drumming prowess. The big screens switched to a camera POV focused solely on Carey, allowing the audience to witness his intricate and powerful technique up close. The camera angles provided a detailed view of his rapid, precise movements, highlighting his role as the rhythmic backbone of TOOL. This visual focus on Carey turned Chocolate Chip Trip into a masterclass of drumming.

Throughout the concert, TOOL maintained a connection with their audience that felt both personal and profound. Maynard James Keenan‘s enigmatic stage presence and sparse, yet impactful, interactions with the crowd only added to the band’s mystique. The audience, a sea of enthusiastic and devoted fans, responded with fervour to every song,

The setlist is always interesting for a band like TOOL, with many songs being incredibly lengthy. As a result, the setlist consisted of 11 songs and multiple musical interludes and extended in and outros. Yet, even with ‘only’ 11 songs on the setlist, TOOL’s show lasted for 2 and a half hours. The setlist was filled with a few of the usual suspects of the last few years, with Fear Inoculum, Pneuma and Invincible being a few of the favourites. Surprisingly, some of the band’s biggest songs were notably absent tonight. Schism, The Pot and Sober, who currently occupy the band’s top 3 favourite songs on Spotify were all left out of this tour’s setlist. In their stead, lesser-known songs like Intolerance and Flood were played, with the former of those being a personal favourite.

TOOL’s concert at the Ziggo Dome was a triumphant demonstration of their artistic vision and musical mastery. The combination of intricate visuals, stellar performances, and unforgettable moments. TOOL continues to set the bar for live music experiences, proving that they are not just performers but curators of a unique and transcendent journey through sight and sound, one that was only enhanced by a phoneless arena.

Eva van den Bosch was there to capture the band’s exquisite performance through the lens. You can find her photos of the evening in the gallery right below. TOOL are currently playing shows all across Europe and the UK. For tickets, check the band’s official website.

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Glenn van den Bosch