On Tuesday, March 4th, I was fortunate enough to find myself at a Tool show, the first one to kick off their tour. They were playing in Spokane, Wa – which, for us that have been spoiled by the ways of Seattle, found ourselves dismayed. Especially this time of year, the mountains that separate eastern and western Washington can be rough traveling, and up until the day before, all the passes were closed.
I was in fact panicked the night before the show. Originally, I bought 4 tickets, back in January, before being laid off – one for my boyfriend and I each, and the other two with the intent of sharing the joy at cost with people I care about. We found a friend of our’s and also got my brother on board. Our biggest problem was figuring out who’s vehicle to take between our friend and my brother.
At the last minute, my brother’s car gave out, and he was unable to go at all, simply because he lives so far away and couldn’t afford to spare the money for the ticket. Decision made – our friend’s car it is. Except that the same day, our friend’s car gave out as well. We were not officially out of a lift.
After a lot of scrambling and finagling, one of our great friends wanted to go, and offered up his infamous Party Van. This thing is a beast. It comes equipped with party lights on the inside, a lock box filled with goodies, a GameCube and DVD player. Just to name a couple things. This was our optimal way of travel.
We made it over the pass, and found our hotel room at the Day’s Inn. I’ve never stayed at the Day’s Inn before, but I’ve never had so easy of a check-in my whole life! $70 for a room, having already told them it was for 4 people. They didn’t ask for my ID, my credit card, to sign anything – nothing. They just handed me two keys and away I went.
The thing about Tool is that they are not just a metal band, and I hesitate to call them that even. Their music is an experience, I would even go so far as to compare them to a modern Pink Floyd. Their music is spiritual, and they are known for their very visual shows. A lot of their music is about raising consciousness, sacred geometry, interdimensional beings, and so on.
So of course – ya gotta trip when you go to a show. No two ways about it!
My boyfriend and I had some acid, mushrooms and some mystery banana chips laced with one of the 2C’s (2CI? 2CE? 2CB? 2CT7? the donator of the product didn’t know, it was just something he had acquired and didn’t want any more and passed along to us months ago). Other things we had in our kit that we had acquired a long the way was some Sass, some Molly, and of course weed (we do live in Washington, don’t we?)
I bought some Cheeze-Its to make the mushrooms go down easier. It’s the texture more than anything that gets me when it comes to mushrooms. I need something crunchy to mask the texture and flavorful too. Though in my experience, another great consumption method is to get some very acidic juice – such as tomato or pineapple. Chopping the mushrooms up in very little bits, let them sit in the juice for about 10 minutes. The acidity begins to break it down. You chug the juice, and you can’t taste the particles, they are just like having bits in orange juice. Because the acidity does most of the work in breaking down the mushrooms, they take a very little amount of time to take effect – so be prepared. For me, it’s too quick, especially when I need to be a little sober to get into my destination.
We walked the mile and a half to the venue, through a beautiful park that still had the remains of snow. I was actually really enjoying Spokane, and it wasn’t even the drugs that was encouraging it. I had no idea it was so big, and that there was so much to it. I put it on a similar scale to Yakima, just being dirty, dusty and conservative (no offense to anyone from Yakima).
When we arrived, the line was two blocks long – and we had arrived late! The ticket said 8pm, which is when we arrived, though, as we found out later, the doors had been open long before that, and an opening band had even played! Oops.
We eventually got in, and found our way into the steep nose-bleed seats. I was nervous. I was worried that when our nom-noms kicked in that I wouldn’t be able to balance well enough if I had to go anywhere. The walkway in front of the seats of the row was narrow, and there was no buffer whatsoever.
I began to feel a little…heady – we’ll go for heady, for a lack of better term. I was relieved, since it meant the mushrooms were finally kicking in. My boyfriend had taken a couple hits of acid, and was already well on his way. I was a little perplexed that it had been over an hour since I had taken my mushrooms, and they still weren’t kicking in. Usually the exercise will help speed up the effects, though to counter the effects, we had just eaten a fair bit of food before we set out to the arena.
I had the banana chips in my bra, and my boyfriend and I decided to split them. They were stale, and very much not tasty. Really, it was to be expected. We had been sitting on them for at least six months by this point. They tasted like stale banana chips, and I wondered if they were in fact laced with anything at all.
The lights went down, and the band made their way onto the stage. From the get-go, they had me captured. The screens on either side of the stage and behind the band of course started with the artwork from Alex Grey – the phenomenal artist they are closely tied to. Most of their album covers feature his art, and it always pops up during their shows. Much of his artwork goes hand-in-hand with the concepts that Tool’s messages portray – connection with the Universe, higher consciousness and so on.
I won’t lie, I was more captivated by the visuals that I was the music. I couldn’t hear singer Maynard very well, though what song was playing was always very clear. Along with many of the other people I spoke to, I found myself completely zoning out through the show, sucked into the intense visuals from the screens and lasers – yes, did I mention there were lasers? – And my drugs hadn’t even kicked in!
There was an intermission, and I took this time to complain to my boyfriend that the mushrooms and mystery banana chips were bunk, that neither were taking much effect. I had the slight mental haze of a come-up, but nothing more. I sufficiently navigated my way through the absolute chaos of the arena to the bathroom and back with little problem – that’s how sober I was!
Upon returning, the drummer, Danny Carey, was highlighted with a drum solo, portraying various aspects of Sacred Geometry – something he is well known for. As he drummed, images of different Sac Geo were portrayed directly behind him.
Not one song was played off their album, Opiate, which is debated to be their best album. (I personally disagree, simply because the aspect of Tool I love is not their metal aspect, but their spiritual aspect. Opiate is their angry album.) On the drive over, my friend was telling me about how Tool said they didn’t like Spokane due to their Lateralus release tour. Many of the fans were upset with Tool because they were initially known as an angry metal band, and then they came out with a whole new direction – embracing experiences while you can, enhancing yourself and your consciousness.
With this tid-bit in mind, I thought it was interesting that not one song was played from their “angry” albums – with the exception of a couple songs from AEnima, though they were more about the next stage of evolution (46 and 2) and new beginnings (AEnima – “Time to bring it down again. Don’t just call me pessimist. Try and read between the lines.”)
The show wrapped up with a flashing copious distraction of laser beams and – glitter bombs, of all things! While there was no encour, I personally was satisfied. As the lights on stage came up enough for each of them to take a bow, and the band to throw their pics and drum sticks into the crowd, I just smiled, in complete gratification of the stress leading up to the show, of being present for this display.
Working with video production, I have seen a great many shows. The last couple years I have seen Thrill Kill Kult, Slipknot, KMFDM, Korn, Rob Zombie, Kimya Dawson, Arlo Guthrie, Beats Antique, The Presidents, EOTO, Bassnectar, Pendulum – and none have compared to the show I saw on Tuesday night.
As we began walking out of the Spokane Arena and back through the snowy park, I began to feel it.
“Hey,” I said to my boyfriend. “I think those banana chips are kicking in.” And thus began my fully annoying rest of the night of being high enough to feel agitated, but not actually tripping, thus not being able to sleep until 5 in the morning. Word to the wise – don’t share your banana chips.
Tool has been such a huge part of my adult life, has been the encouragement through my metaphysical studies, the singing mantras in the back of my mind as I struggle through meditation exercises. As I have already said before, they are such a hugely spiritual experience, and where as many people that are not into “metal” might not appreciate their music style, it is worth it to everyone to hear the messages they have in their music.
This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality
Embrace this moment. Remember. we are eternal.
all this pain is an illusion