Concert Review: Tool at BJCC 5-7-19

By Adam Johnson

The great Tom Petty once said, “The waiting is the hardest part.”

I was a sophomore in high school when I fell in love with Tool. I remember the day the album Aenima was released. We got to school early that day and began devising a plan for how we would get our hands on the CD the minute Magic Platter opened. The obvious problem with this plan – we were stuck in school. Magic Platter wouldn’t open until 10. So we waited… scheming elaborate plans for how we could cover for each other, who would drive, how we could make it back onto campus. Then one of my buddies had the best idea. We would convince the driver’s ed teacher to let the class drive to Magic Platter that morning. We would give our money to one guy and he would buy every copy of the in the store. So, we bribed the driver’s ed teacher with free fast food of his choice and everything was set into motion. Then, we waited… and waited… and waited.

“The waiting is the hardest part.”  I think that accurately sums up what every Tool fan has been feeling since 2006 when the band released their most recent album, 10,000 Days. It sounds a little strange to say 2006 and most recent in the same sentence. But, that gives you a sense of why Tool’s concert at the BJCC captured the attention of the entire world. Tool has a way of creating an experience with their music. You can’t listen to Tool and expect to understand. You have to experience Tool and hope to understand. I have been waiting since 1996 to see these guys live. That is a long time to wait. But just like you have to be patient when listening to their albums (you really shouldn’t listen to only one song at a time), fans have been patiently waiting for the highly anticipated- borderline mythical- new album to be released.

This is finally happening. Fans received emails prior to the show warning us that there is a zero tolerance policy against any video/photography during the show. This was echoed inside the venue and coupled with the announcement, “You will be asked to leave.” You may be thinking to yourself, “Who is going to listen that? And besides, there’s no way they can police that.” I can’t blame you for thinking that. However, you try waiting 8,276 days to see a concert. Then tell me you are willing to risk not seeing it because you wanted to take a selfie. I am sure everyone there was tempted to sneak a picture at one point or another. Nonetheless, the fans who filled the arena complied. Then, near the end of the show, and true to form, Tool’s frontman Maynard James Keenan presented us with a surprise twist. He gave us the greenlight and announced we could take out our phones and begin recording. He told us to take to social media and share with the world what we were about to witness. This was not the real surprise as Maynard had another trick up his sleeve. Just then, the elaborate video display began showing a graphic that read “August 30th.” It was at this moment that Birmingham’s Tool concert became more than just another tour date. It was then that the world finally got an answer to the question we’ve been asking for an eternity. “When are we going to get the new album?!” August 30th.

Tool opened the show with my personal favorite “Aenema” (title track from the album that started it all for me). The music was tight, exploratory and very loud. We were treated with two new songs – “Descending” and “Invincible.” We were lucky enough to get extended versions of “Schism” and “Stinkfist.” In addition to an incredible setlist matched with high quality audio, the lighting and video elements helped to complete the sensory experience to make for an epic show.

Complete Setlist 5-8-2019

  1. Aenima
  2. The Pot
  3. Parabol >
  4. Parabol
  5. Descending (new song)
  6. Schism (extended)
  7. Invincible (new song)
  8. Jambi
  9. Intolerance
  10. Forty Six & 2


  1. CCTrip Drum Solo
  2. Vicarious
  3. Stinkfist (extended)

Tool will be back on stage tonight in Louisville, Kentucky and on May 10 in Hampton, Virginia.