Primus kicked off the night with their trademark breed of insanity. Les Claypool's talent is ageless, crafting face-melting sonic visuals with his signature bass slaps and screeches while Larry "Ler" LaLonde shredded non-stop alchemy from start to finish. While the classics had the crowd going nuts ("Wynona's Big Brown Beaver" was brought down to a slow, slugging brain-fuck), what we got was a twisted jamband opus. Musical opium. May they live forever.
But this was Tool's night, and they made sure everybody in that damn arena knew it. And if you didn't know it, the giant cloud of pot smoke smashing everybody in the face was a pretty solid indicator (hey, I'm not complaining). The performance certainly was a spectacle: a small army of surprise screens, a giant multi-pointed star and some clever lighting spots gave Tool the...er...tools to slay house and turn this corner of Orlando into a living dreamscape. Frontman Maynard James Keenan is notorious for sticking to the shadows and letting his band take the spotlight, for better or worse, spending most of the set armor-clad and snuggled up next to drummer Danny Carey. This melt and seclusion gave the concert a feeling that a (miraculously on-pitch) phantom and his ensemble had no problem straight-up wrecking a coliseum full of believers with the hardest version of "Parabola" I've ever heard. The best surprise moment of the night (aside from the raging special effects) had to be the turning of the slow bridge from "Schism" into screaming war stomp best suited for a Slayer concert — though it was right at home here, as was the band themselves.
Without a doubt, tonight was one hell of a show. It's nice to see that Maynard and the boys have no plans of stopping, slowing down, or selling out arenas. The world has been waiting on baited breath for a new Tool record, and with the energy I saw on stage last night, I have no doubt it would be yet another astounding evolution for these prog-rock legends.
Nobody puts on a show quite like Tool and Primus. The CFE arena was ablaze last night with the psychedelic musings of two giants, and the spectacle was nothing less than extraordinary.