Los Angeles-based alt/prog metal favorites Tool are currently embarked on their U.S. winter arena tour, having kicked off the journey on January 10th in Baltimore, Maryland. The tour made its stop in New York City at the iconic Madison Square Garden this past weekend for back-to-back sold-out shows on January 12th and 13th. The shows marked the band’s first time back at the world famous venue since 2001!
The psychedelic stoner metal outfit Elder is currently opening for Tool on their ongoing trek, and they delivered a powerful performance in NYC with songs from their latest full-length albums. The band began with “Sanctuary” from ‘Reflections of a Floating World,’ followed by “Merged in Dreams – Ne Plus Ultra” from their most recent LP, ‘Innate Passage,’ and concluded the set with “Halcyon” from ‘Omens.’
Tool delivered exceptional performances during their stay in Manhattan, keeping their setlist dynamic with subtle song swaps. The band commenced their set with what has now become a staple for the beginning of all their shows, delivering the lead single and title track from their fifth studio album ‘Fear Inoculum,’ captivating fans with the song’s 10-plus minute spiral into rapture.
Lurking in the shadows, Maynard James Keenan, the band’s ever elusive leader and vocalist, took a moment to encourage fans to remain present and connected by stowing away their phones. This rule, now a fixture at Tool shows, enhances the overall experience, ensuring fans can fully enjoy the performance without the constant distraction of phones in the air.
With digital handheld distractions set aside, fans could fully immerse themselves in what matters most: the music. The band’s remarkable stage presence, featuring a towering LED video wall, dynamic lighting fixtures, some integrated with moving stage pieces, and an abundance of lasers, added to the mesmerizing visual spectacle.
Both nights saw Tool dish out outstanding performances of “Rosetta Stoned,” “Pneuma,” “Descending,” “The Grudge,” “Chocolate Chip Trip,” and “Invincible.”
On the first night, the setlist included special renditions of “The Pot,” “Intolerance,” “Flood” (the first time performed since 2011), and “Schism” (used as a closing song for the first time). The band also provided an intermission midway through their set, allowing fans to take restroom and concession stand breaks.
During the second show, the band made some changes to the setlist, introducing “Jambi,” “Sweat,” “Culling Voices” (a more intimate performance with the band sitting downstage as confetti rained from the rafters), and closing with “Forty Six & 2.”
Guitarist Adam Jones and drummer Danny Carey’s tech, Joe Paul Slaby, were both celebrating their birthdays on Saturday, and Keenan, along with the crowd, made sure to wish them a happy birthday.
Tool will continue their winter tour with shows in Hollywood, Florida on January 18th and 19th. The trek will run through next month with a final stop scheduled in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 18th. See all remaining tour dates here and get tickets here.
Check out photos of Tool and Elder live at MSG on January 13th via the gallery below (click to enlarge). All photos by Rodrigo Fredes.
Tool set list (1/12):
Chocolate Chip Trip
Tool set list (1/13):
Chocolate Chip Trip
Forty Six & 2