Just over a year ago, Tool took to the stage for a series of shows in Australia and New Zealand as part of the Big Day Out Festival as well as a brief stopover in Hawaii.   At the time I started writing an article covering the events of the tour, but never got around to publishing it.  Since Tool have just completed a Winter tour of North America, I thought now would be a great time to complete and revisit this article.  Enjoy!

About a week ago, Tool played the final date of the 2011 Big Day Out tour, which included shows in Hawaii, Auckland, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.  I was lucky enough to see them play at the Music Bowl in Melbourne, and then at the Big Day Out show in Adelaide, and I know many more of you lucky readers were also able to see them.

The tour itself started off in Hawaii, where a large group of Toolarmy & Fourtheye readers from the US congregated for get together, some of whom haven’t been heard from since.  The Tool show there featured the usual range of hits, unusually however starting with Aenima and ending with Stinkfist.  Stinkfist went on to become the regular closer for most of the tour.  The other highlight for fans was Kirk Hammett once again joining Tool on stage, this time for a jam during Lateralus featuring a couple of verses from Orion.  Lasers seemed to be missing from the gig, however that appeared to be only a Hawaiian thing, and they appeared as expected at the first Big Day Out show.

A week later the first BDO show in Auckland, New Zealand.  Following on from a blistering set from Rammstein, Tool played a very similar set to the Hawaii show, swapping Flood for Intolerance.  Reports suggest that it was quite wet on the day, especially during The Patient.

Flood ravaged Queensland was next on Tool’s hitlist where they played two shows, one at the Big Day Out in the Gold Coast, and then the other 100km north in Brisbane.  To some readers surprise (not mine) they played Aenima at both shows, and Flood at the Gold Coast show.  Though they didn’t get Flood, Brisbane fans were treated to You Lied, which featured Justin providing some backing vocals during the tune.  The Brisbane show was pretty highly received both on Fourtheye and in the Tool camp, with Danny’s girlfriend Rynne suggesting it was in her top 5 Tool shows.

Later that week, Tool played back to back shows in Sydney, headlining the two Big Day Outs that took place at the Homebush Showgrounds.  Due to underwhelming ticket sales Day 2 of the Big Day Out was half price, so Tool fans had the opportunity to check them out for a little cheaper than normal if they wanted.  Both shows were a little on the short side (unsurprising being festival sets) but they were treated to several changes in the setlist.  Night one featured The Patient, Intolerance and The Pot, while night two saw You Lied and Flood get a run, as well as the return of Stinkfist to the set.  Someone was thoughtful enough to record one of the sets:

Like Sydney, Tool played two shows in Melbourne, the first being at the Big Day Out, and then the second being a side show at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.  The relatively short Big Day Out set saw them playing The Patient and Flood, while those lucky enough to go to the side show saw Intension, Right In Two, You Lied, as well as Third Eye which was omitted the night before.

Prior to the Melbourne side show, a bunch of Fourtheye readers, as well as a few passers by and one Toolnavy member had a BBQ on the backs of the Yarra.  A good time was had by all!  The Music Bowl is a nice venue, located right in the middle of the Melbourne Parklands.  Most of us who attended the meetup thankfully had seated tickets near the front.  I was lucky enough to get a special ticket which allowed me to go backstage and mingle with other backstage types.  Sadly my phone/camera was flat by this stage, so photo opportunities were limited, but I did get to meet Justin, Rynne and the guys from Jakob (who were the support act for the side shows).  I also saw Danny and Adam around the place, but never got the chance to say hello.  Maynard was nowhere to be seen, having left the venue not long after the show ended so I was told.  I also got to have a short chat with Junior before the show, who was a little grumpy due to the lighting booth being located in a spot with no line of sight to the stage.  Despite that, the lighting seemed to work almost without hitch!

The next show was to be the Adelaide Big Day Out, the second show I planned to catch on this tour.  Being a festival show, I expected it to be a little short an uninteresting.  How wrong I was, as it turned out to be a highlight of the tour!  Playing with Tool on the Big Day Out were German metal act Rammstein, who are well known for their pyrotechnic stage shows.  A drum kit was on stage for the entire Tool show, so I knew something was going to happen, and sure enough during Lateralus Christoph from Rammstein comes out on stage to do his drum solo thing.  With Christoph came Till and Paul also from the band, Till with a flamethrower in hand!  The end result was a smouldering drumkit, and what appeared to be a terrified Adam & Justin and flames lept their way.  Thankfully, it was recorded by the Tool stage crew for our enjoyment!

Not only that, but Tool seemed to perform well past the advertised finishing time, playing what was essentially a full set (though without the usual segues between songs).  Combined with a great Rammstein show before hand, as well as a few other choice acts it was a great Big Day Out.  I also got to chat with Rynne again, and also met Justin’s wife Shelee.  They’d both been to check out Grinderman play on one of the side stages, and were very inpressed by the show Nick Cave & co. put on!

Perth got a similar treatment to Adelaide, with a set longer than the usual festival length, however they weren’t privy to any flaming escapades like my Adelaide brethren.  They were however treated to on of the few playings of 46&2 that tour.

In total, Tool played 14 different songs on the tour:

  • Aenema, Schism, Jambi, Lateralus and Vicarious were played at each show
  • Third Eye was the opener for most shows except a few of the festival dates
  • Stinkfist, EBA/The Patient and Flood were regularly played
  • You Lied, Intension + Right In Two, The Pot and 46&2 were occasionally played

In summary, the whole tour seemed to be a great success.  The band seemed really into it, Maynard’s vocals were of an excellent quality, some older songs were added to the setlist.  On a personal note I think it’s great to see Tool doing more smaller tours here and there.  I think this is probably a sign of things to come, and we will no longer be seeing Tool on the road for months at a stretch.  The only downside now is the inevitable long wait for the next tour…