TOOL in Connecticut – November 10, 2023
Progressive rock band, TOOL, came to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT, to perform two back-to-back sold out shows. They have been rock powerhouses since the 1990’s and fans continue to show up for them in droves when they come to town. TOOL brought with them a viral newcomer, Steel Beans, to get the evening started.
Artist Jeremy DeBardi who goes by the moniker, Steel Beans, has an amazing viral video out there where he showcases his ability to be a true one-man band. He sings, plays the guitar, and plays the drums all at the same time. Steel Beans does not take himself too seriously and even lets his belly hang out in the video that captured the attention of TOOL. Clearly, they were impressed since they asked him to be the opener on this tour. That or they knew Steel Beans was the correct amount of talent and strange to be the perfect choice for a TOOL tour.
Steel Beans came out on stage carrying a leaf blower with fake flames attached to it. It was enough to capture the attention of everyone and get the audience to take notice. He had a guitar strapped to him so everyone was waiting for the drummer to appear when people quickly realized he was also the drummer. Steel Beans was strumming the guitar and playing the drums simultaneously. He took a few opportunities for guitar solos and drum solos, but did an impressive job of playing the two instruments together while singing and interacting with the audience for the majority of the set. This was not the opener anyone would have necessarily predicted, but he was highly entertaining and talented.
TOOL is widely known for their immersive live performance experiences, and at the Mohegan Sun Arena they lived up to the hype. Right off the bat the band was very vocal and strict about no phones being out, nor any photos being taken other than the approved photographers for only the very first song of the set. For the most part, fans honored the band’s request. Only on about two occasions did someone take out their phone that night and security was quick to shine a bright green laser in their direction and the phones were quickly put away.
Lead singer, Maynard James Keenan, has been extremely vocal over the years about his distaste for celebrities being worshiped and as a result he has made a point to be in the background at live performances. He rarely, if ever, stands out in front of his band, and is usually in dim lighting. This allows the sights and sounds to take center stage. As far as the visuals for this show, they were absolutely remarkable. There were massive images of aliens and various lifeforms in the background, and tons of lasers. Every single strike of the drum would change the direction of these lasers which was a remarkable feat for the lighting team to accomplish.
The majority of the songs played were from the Fear Inoculum album, but TOOL gave concert goers a sampling from their other beloved albums such as “Jambi” and “Rosetta Stoned” off of the 2006 album, 10,000 Days. After playing seven songs, TOOL gave fans an intermission. This was the perfect chance to check those phones that have been tucked away and buy out the limited edition TOOL posters and medallions. As the intermission concluded and fans returned to their seats, drummer Danny Carey was standing in front of a massive gong. Carey went on to play a gong solo followed by a drum solo. As the set continued, sparkly confetti fell from the sky. The silver sparkles slowly fell in a constant stream for an entire song as the band played, enhancing the beautiful ambiance.
Maynard addressed the audience before their final song, “Ænema,” and allowed the audience to take their phones out to take a few pictures and video clips since they had done a good job of tucking the phones away during the rest of the show. It is an ultimate experience attending a TOOL concert, one that smartphone videos and photos does not do any justice. TOOL continues to be a riveting example of musical excellence that stimulates more than just our ears, it excites each one of our senses.