Words and Photos: Adam Colwell
Tool, the iconic Los Angeles quartet renowned for their avant-garde approach to progressive industrial rock, made a momentous impact on Birmingham, Alabama, as they took the stage to a captivated and sold-out audience at the BJCC on the evening of Friday, January 26th, 2024. This marked the return of their highly anticipated tour in Birmingham, a colossal musical journey that promised to leave an indelible mark on the annals of concert history.
Sharing the stage for this monumental tour was the progressive rock brilliance of Elder, hailing from Massachusetts. Elder commenced the evening with a powerful and mesmerizing performance that set the stage for the night’s transcendent musical journey. Lead guitarist Michael Risberg, accompanied by bassist Jack Donovan, orchestrated intricate riffs and complex runs, creating an atmospheric blend of psychosis-inflicting riffs and progressive chord progressions. Drummer George Edert, embodying sheer wholesomeness, played with unbridled passion, never ceasing to smile. Elder’s set, a perfect fusion of powerful vocals by lead singer Nick DiSalvo and extended instrumental pieces, showcased their mastery and solidified them as an impeccable choice for an opening act, especially for a band of Tool’s caliber.
As the atmospheric vibe lingered from Elder’s performance, Tool took the stage with a commanding presence that included a visually stunning display of Alex Grey’s iconic artwork on multiple monitors, coupled with a light show that rivaled the grandeur of Pink Floyd. The sonic journey commenced with the title track of their 2019 album, “Fear Inoculum,” treating fans to over 10 minutes of musical brilliance. Bassist Justin Chancellor laid down groovy riffs, guitarist Adam Jones executed intricate runs, and drummer Danny Carey’s god-like drumming filled the arena. All of this unfolded before the enigmatic frontman Maynard James Keenan even graced the stage. When he finally appeared on the massive platforms behind Danny, the crowd erupted with enthusiasm.
Maynard’s powerful vocals resonated through the arena, delivering each note with perfection. He seamlessly transitioned between the foreground and background, embodying the enigmatic persona that defines Tool. The setlist unfolded with a seamless blend of songs spanning their entire discography, showcasing Tool’s penchant for long, immersive compositions and their signature out-of-the-ordinary stage presence. The night featured a unique intermission, not merely a pause before an encore, but a 20-minute break allowing the audience to recollect themselves before another 30 minutes of pure industrial perfection ensued. The grand finale, featuring the fan-favorite “Schism,” brought the night to a climax, leaving the audience in awe.
The Birmingham concert was a testament to Tool’s ability to deliver an intensely long and spiritually enriching experience. Clocking in at over two hours, the performance was a masterclass in technical prowess, stage presentation, and a display of a band that transcends the boundaries of ordinary live performances. The night left an indelible mark, becoming a topic of conversation for weeks to come. Tool’s live show is not merely an event; it’s a must-see tour that promises a treat of a lifetime, leaving attendees with a hunger for more that few other performances can satisfy.
TOOL 2024 tour dates:
January 10 Baltimore, MD CFG Bank Arena
January 12 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
January 13 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
January 18 Hollywood, FL Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood
January 19 Hollywood, FL Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood
January 21 Charlotte, NC Spectrum Center
January 23 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
January 24 Atlanta, GA State Farm Arena
January 26 Birmingham, AL The Legacy Arena at The BJCC
January 27 Biloxi, MS Mississippi Coast Coliseum
January 31 Austin, TX Moody Center
February 2 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
February 3 Oklahoma City, OK Paycom Center
February 5 Denver, CO Ball Arena
February 9 Phoenix, AZ Footprint Center
February 12 Fresno, CA Save Mart Center
February 14 Los Angeles, CA Crypto.com Arena
February 15 Los Angeles, CA Crypto.com Arena
February 17 Ontario, CA Toyota Arena
February 18 Las Vegas, NV T-Mobile Arena