“I drove eight hours to get here!” Tool is a progressive metal band that, years after their contemporaries faded from popularity, easily sell out amphitheatres or 27,500 tickets in minutes. Their aggressive intelligence, both musically with complex time signatures rarely seen within rock music and philosophically with lyrics that encourage self-awareness, might be why so many were willing to embark on the odyssey. Was it worth the 7-hour drive compared to watching a live video?
Rating: ★★★★☆ [4/5]
Tool wasn’t a life changing experience, yet, I’m glad I went.
Driving to George
It’s a three-hour drive from Seattle to George, Washington. Doors were at 8PM. With no interest in seeing opening act Crystal Method, I figured leaving just before 5PM would work. A meditative jaunt across the scenic mountains? Sure! If there’s one thing I could impart to both past me and my readers: always arrive early. I arrived in town around 8PM. The amphitheater’s roads are not designed for this heavy traffic. Ticket scanned after 9:30PM.
Venue and Policies
Considering my stance on photography, I took the shot below for a filler review photo, turned off my phone, and after about the fourth person photographing or “filiming,” started doing my thing. I wasn’t once accosted, approached, or asked to stop. Why post a sign like this at the most beautiful venue in the state? To incite a state of rebellion that would make Tool proud? Was this leftover from another performer? Or a prank?
Tool’s Hidden Jazz
My biggest reason for attending concerts compared to watching video recordings in comfort is that visceral physicality of being there with the music. You can’t pause the performance. It’s like long-form meditation around a single subject, enhancing or detracting depending on the subjective effort given by the performers. What sunk for me in most during the performance was the jazz influence Tool might have, especially compared to most radio-friendly rock bands, with mainly instrumental songs.
Dynamic Light Show
This was probably the most visually dynamic show I’ve seen. Nine Inch Nails had eight light panels that emitted a vibrant amount of light. Powerman 5000 and Testament also come to mind, otherwise most shows including Black Sabbath at this same venue, usually have flat lighting. I don’t think this level of production quality could happen at any local Seattle venue, though an acquaintance of mine would be a better person to confirm or deny.
The Worthwhileness Nitty-Gritty
If you’re a huge fan of Tool, you should make every effort to buy tickets in the first five minutes before they sell out, and take a scenic trip out to the nearest venue they hit. If you’re a casual fan, your interest waned over the years, or you’re curious, they’re worth checking out. If you’ve never heard of them, maybe pass? I’d go again eventually, plan ahead, and get tickets closer to the stage.
Some people were complaining Tool’s performance was too short, unknowingly walking out during the intermission. It was a nice meal rather than greasy buffet.