Second only to Marilyn Manson, TOOL is one of my favorite bands. And I’ve never seen them in concert…
There are a couple of reasons why I’ve never been to a TOOL concert. The first is a lack of information, which hasn’t always been available like it is today. When I was growing up, we didn’t have Internet on our cellphones. Actually, most teenagers didn’t even have cellphones. You found out which bands were touring by listening to the radio or from your friends.
Even though I spent a lot of my teenage years in the underground metal and hardcore scene I never heard about any TOOL concerts until 2001 when they played in Madison. My friend and I were desperate to go, but had no way of getting there. Neither of us could drive because we didn’t have a car or licenses, and we couldn’t find anyone to give us a ride. I promised my friend I’d find a way of getting there, but wasn’t able to make it happen. I let him down, and we haven’t spoken since.
Another reason I haven’t seen TOOL is because I lost interest in the music scene for a long time. I began dating a girl and she quickly became the center of my life. We spent all our time together and I began to identify myself through our relationship. I forgot about everything I loved, especially music and concerts. TOOL performed nine times while we were dating. I never knew.
After we broke up, it took a while to find myself again but I slowly returned to the concert scene. In 2006 I had tickets to a TOOL concert (and a car to get there.) The day of the concert, Maynard cancelled the show because he was sick and couldn’t perform. So close…
I spent the next few years of my life focused on my job and building a relationship with my new girlfriend, Erin. The concert scene once again lost its importance as I began figuring out my life (work, school, love, etc.) Once in a while Erin and I would go to a show together, but I was no longer part of the scene like I used to be…until this summer. We’ve seen Marilyn Manson, Roger Waters and this weekend, TOOL.
At 8:45 pm, the band took the stage. I was standing near the back with Erin but after ten seconds of Hooker with a Penis, I had to move to the front. As I made my way through the crowd, I thought I was going to end up fighting a couple of drunk guys who were trying to act tough. They accused me of “shoving” their girlfriends. You’re at a rock concert, not a hugging festival. Dave Matthews is tomorrow night.
I kept working my way forward.
I made it to the mosh pit and began to dance. I’m not a fan of pits where people just push each other so I began running around the edge to get a circle pit going. By the end of the song I was exhausted and kept moving to the front. Eventually I found my place, about three people from the front. Being smashed against random sweaty strangers is where I love to be. It’s where I belong. The energy from the band and the crowd is so intense, it’s what a concert is all about. There’s no way I could stand in back…I’m not sure how people do it.
The rest of the show I stood there singing along to one of my favorite bands, absorbed in the music, the moment, and the feeling of satisfaction to finally be watching TOOL perform live. It was a great night and the next time they’re in town, I’ll be there.
(…and I did it all in flip-flops.)