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Tool rocks PNC Arena

Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan sings during the band's performance Sunday at the PNC Arena in Raleigh. See more photos on the RO's Facebook page.
Wally Reeves - For the Richmond Observer

RALEIGH — Some call them alternative, others prog and it’s arguable that they’re just a rock band. However, no one can deny the impact that Tool has made over its 29-year career.

From their distinctive sound to their creative music videos, this band has bent the shape of modern rock music. 

Fans entered the PNC Arena in Raleigh expecting to experience an auditory and visual stimulation of the senses and that’s exactly what they got.

An automated threaded curtain moved into place, encasing the stage. The crowd showed their enthusiasm with roaring cheers while the members of Tool took their places. Lights, smoke, lasers and psychedelic projections decorated the background while the haunting melodies of the song “Fear Inoculum” filled the room with hypnotic rhythm. 

The song is the title track from the band’s fifth album and first release in 13 years. This album is musically intricate and showcases Tool’s ability to seamlessly transition from ambient to aggressive tones. Half of the album’s 10 tracks run longer than 10 minutes. 

Vocalist Maynard James Keenan riled up the crowd by comparing Raleigh to Charlotte before shredding into classics such as “Anemia”, “Intolerance” and the bottom-heavy “Jambi,” broken up by trance-inducing interludes between songs. 


The band was scheduled to headline the second night of the inaugural Epicenter Festival at Rockingham Dragway in May, but a severe storm moving through the area caused the evening performances to be cancelled.

The lights from the stage weren’t the only ones shining. Tool’s production crew was hard at work enforcing the “no camera policy” by shining a flashlight on multiple fans caught on their cellphones before escorting them out of the stands. 

We live in an era of American history where rock music has become an endangered species and bands like Tool continue to provide a quality live music experience. Just like a movie theater or theatrical play, cellphones are usually stowed away as a sign of respect for all in attendance.

Will this become a new concert etiquette in the future? Only time will tell.

But one thing is for sure — a Tool concert is worth not having a phone for a couple hours. 


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