Tool have completed their short run of shows (two festivals in fact) as well as a run of Music Clinics.  Many of you would have seen posts about these here in the forum, as well as places like Reddit.  For those that haven’t, or just want a handy summary, here are some of the key points I’ve gathered from the internet.

The two live shows had the same setlist.  The went more or less how you’d expect – same as last year but with the welcome addition of Sober:

  • The Grudge
  • Parabol
  • Parabola
  • Schism
  • Opiate
  • Ænema
  • Jambi
  • Sober
  • Forty-Six & 2
  • Sweat
  • Descending
  • Stinkfist

The shows were pretty well received – there didn’t appear to be any obvious visual additions to the sets from what I could see on Youtube videos.  The band sounded to be in decent touch for one that has presumably focused more on new material recently than their old.  Maynard in particular sounded pretty good to my ears.

A few bits of banter during the shows, including Maynard discussing his riot gear, bananas, and the need for the other three to hurry up.  Some media outlets were pretty quick to jump on this so called “rant” as some kind of division between the band, though I imagine it’s nothing more than Maynard joking around.

The Music Clinics were where most of the interesting insights have come from, with many attendees posting their thoughts online.  The clinics took a common format, a Q&A session, followed by a couple of songs – The Grudge and Eulogy.  Some more questions followed, as did renditions of Descending, Jambi and Aenema.  Also played was a new synth heavy drum solo type song, which Danny described as a segue on the new album.  They also appeared to play some sections of Rosetta Stoned.  There was also a screening of 2/3rds of the new Opiate video.

Following the Q&A and mini-concert, there was time for fans to mingle with the band members in attendance, as well as view a range of props and other Tool memorabilia.  There was of course t-shirts, posters and drum skins for sale as well, for those that had some change left over after the $500 entry fee.

Q&A details found online seem to suggest that fans asked similar things most night – typically things like “how is the new album going” and “what are you listening to at the moment”.  Here’s a collection of tidbits I’ve collected from around the place:

  • The band are obviously very excited about the new album, and feel like it’s some of their best work.
  • When asked what song that we’ve heard took the longest to write, at first Justin answered “Third Eye”, but then after a quick exchange with Adam he replaced that with Wings(1&2). Adam commented further that sometimes one of them might have a riff that they really love but it’s just not working the context of any arrangement. It might be several years later when someone else comes in with another and they have some eureka moment when suddenly that old riff the other guy had stashed away suddenly works. He then said (if i recall correctly) “This time there’s like seven of those.” Which I assumed meant tracks on the new album; roughly insinuating that that type of occurrence happened a lot during this writing phase.
  • In regards to live recordings, they appear to have recorded pretty much every show for quite a while, but don’t really want to share it with the record companies.
  • There was some discussion towards their record label in general, including confirmation this album would be the last of their contract.  Reading between the lines it almost appears like they are saving things like the Live DVD to be released independently after the contract is completed.
  • All members of the band met about 12 months ago to discuss the progress on the album and plan how to finish it.
  • Danny has finished his recording parts on the new album, and Justin is mostly finished.  Adadm and Maynard still to do their parts.
  • Maynard composes his parts by vocalising over the top of the music, humming melodies and such, and then fills in the details with lyrics afterward.  The songs don’t change during this process, Maynard works with what the rest of the band give him.
  • Money earned by the band is split equally between the four members. This includes income from the VIP tours, which typically don’t involve Maynard.
  • The band confirmed that every song on the album is over 10 minutes long, and there appear to be 7 of them.  Not sure if that 10 minutes includes some form of segue, but it certainly appears it might be a struggle to fit all those tracks + segues onto one CD.

Most reviews of these Music Clinic shows have been pretty positive.  The only comment I would make is that they sound pretty similar to the VIP experience given on previous tours.  It was nice to see the band (sans Maynard) do their thing in an intimate setting, I gotta say I was expecting there might be a little bit more to these sessions.

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