Tool at The AAC – 2.2.24

Tool with Elder at AAC, in Dallas TX. by Matt Stubbs of the Jerry Jonestown Massacre.

Photos by Dustin Schneider

On Friday night, Tool and Elder played at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. It was a humid, rainy night – perfect conditions for some good old-fashioned prog-hard rock. Amidst the scents of hair and patchouli, Elder and Tool delivered an entertaining performance on Friday night.

Witnessing Elder on the big stage of a major rock tour with Tool was a real treat. The four-piece band from Massachusetts was impressive. If they had any nerves about opening such a significant night of rock, they certainly didn’t show it. Very tight, loud, guitar-driven, and professional – Elder fit right into the club of great opening acts for Tool.

Tool’s set was typical of a Tool performance. This felt like the 57th time I’ve seen them since Fear Inoculum was released, so perhaps I need to take a break. This set didn’t inspire me as much as their other shows. It could be due to mixing issues, the venue, or maybe it’s just me. However, Tool doesn’t play music for other people; they play music for themselves. So, this write-up isn’t a negative critique, it’s just an observation. And Tool operating at level 6 is still better than most bands at level 11. It was cool to see Justin exploring Dallas’s tourist spots on Instagram though.

Kicking things off promptly at 8:30, Danny Carey mounted his drum kit and began the first hits of “Fear Inoculum”. From there Justin Chancellor and Adam Jones took their places on the right and left sides of the stage as Maynard took to his perch flanking Carey’s drum kit. This is pretty much the same stage arrangement they have been touring with for well over a decade, and it seems to work well for them. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. On this tour, they brought one of the largest and most high-definition screens I have ever seen on an arena stage, which brought the visuals that Adam Jones and collaborator Alex Grey created to life.

After getting the crowd warmed up with “Fear Inoculum” Maynard asked the crowd “Hey, you awake? We’re about to find out. Ready to take a trip? Stick with us, stay here, stay present and we’re going to go on a little journey.” And that’s what the night’s setlist consisted of, cuts from Undertow, Lateralus, 10,000 Days, and Fear Inoculum. Interestingly enough, no tracks from their most commercially successful album, Ænima, were played. But that’s Tool being Tool, right?

It was an interesting night, with a very interesting setlist that diehard Tool fans would love, but In my opinion, this show doesn’t even hold a candle to their 2022 stop at the AAC.

The Setlist:

  1. (with “Lost Keys” intro)
  2. Intermission