The Sound of a Sonic Cherry-Popping

December 6, 2007 at 1:55 pm (Sweet sticky things)

I think the torch has been passed.

I took my thirteen-year-old nephew to the Tool concert last night. He’s been listening to the Aenima album a LOT, which is my favorite, and when an opportunity to score tickets came up, I invited him and my sister. Of course it was a popular idea.

Would it be too much for him? What if the crowd was too rowdy? I’ve seen Tool before, and some of the imagery was cringe-inducing. (Eyeball surgery and two elephants doing the nasty, among other things.) Since the last couple of albums have been issued without parental advisories, and since his parents okayed it, we proceeded with caution.

There was a lot of scuttlebutt floating around about the show. Would they make it? They were traveling south from Everett Washington, and I-5 had been closed due to flooding. Singer Maynard James Keenan had been sick, and two shows had been canceled. I stayed glued to KUFO, and to the best of their knowledge, the show would go on.

Since I was chaperoning a thirteen-year-old, my party approach would have to be a little different. I invited him into my room for a couple of Pink Floyd songs on DVD, so he would get a feel for the volume. (Plus, he had a hard time grasping my definition of laser light show. He’s been watching a lot of Star Wars…) We chilled for a few minutes, then I sent him off to shower. We were going to be in a hot, confined sweaty environment, and, honestly, the kid makes a great wingman.

While he did that, I busted out my stash. I had a tiny little ball of hashish that had been set aside for a special occasion. Since it was pre-9/11, I wondered if it would still be good. (It was!) I got my swerve on while he cleaned up, and now I am no longer in jeopardy of being busted for felony drug possession. (Not to mention the fact that it came from Afghanistan, on a slow boat, back in the year 2000. There hasn’t been good hash since. Fuckin’ terrorists.)

And that was the end of my partying for the night. Seeing Tool sober seems sacreligious, but it was one of the most psychedelic concerts I’ve seen. They took a big page from Pink Floyd. In fact, a good description of the show would be a slightly drunk, pissed-off Pink Floyd. The Nephew got his laser dose, and I had a near-romantic encounter with security.

This was the most thorough frisking I’ve encountered, aside from police-administered. The gal was about my age. She had me empty my pockets, then ran her hands down both legs. I opened my jacket, and the look of shock on my face must have been notable when she ran both hands, palms forward, up my chest, then grabbed a fistful of tee shirt and chest hair. “Hi there!” she said.

“I’ll bet you say that to all the boys.” It was the best I could stammer out.

“Enjoy the show!” she said.

“I already did!” I winked at her, and she laughed. Then she frisked my nephew. I’ll bet he dreams about it…

He swore he wouldn’t need earplugs, but the opening band was playing, and it sounded like an airliner taking off. He took the earplugs.

Once inside, it was time to find the seats. I looked to where I *thought* they were, but not so. The usher took us down the stairs to where our seats were, four rows back from the main floor in front of the sound board.

The opening band were two members of King Crimson, and they played what amounted to heavy metal jazz, finishing with a bottom-heavy version of 21st Century Schizoid Man. (The band, called Tu, had a great sound, and I will be looking for their album.)

Tool took the stage, with Maynard waving a cowboy hat and assuring the audience, “You’re gonna poop your pants tonight!” While I saw no evidence of that, I imagine many came close.

The song selection was heavy on new material, but when the second song, Stinkfist, began, little nephew about jumped out of his skin! Fists pumping, a look of wide-eyed wonder cast back my way every few minutes, accompanied with the cheesiest of grins. A few puffs of green might have helped my head, but I didn’t really need it. For one thing, I wanted to show him that music can be appreciated and enjoyed without the use of drugs and alcohol. People were getting stoned nearby, but he ignored it, and when he asks, I will set him straight. I wasn’t worried that he’d see it. I was worried he would see me doing it, and I don’t want to encourage that. He’s seen the downside of alcohol because of me, but I don’t want him knowing the upside of pot, at least until he’s developed a few more brain cells to mess with.

This show was tailor-made for LSD consumption. The patterns flowing on the screens behind the band? I know those patterns, from staring at bathroom floors and candle-lit ceilings, back in the day. Whoever designed the graphics has eaten a buttload of acid over time, and somehow managed to get it on film. It was like a flashback, and I would have had a hard time deciphering reality, had I dosed. Sorry kids, it wasn’t good acid last night, it was a good band.

After the recent Ozzy/Zombie show, I was feeling too old for rock concerts. Tool reminded me once again why I do it. And my nephew? He came home exhausted, and went straight to bed. He’s gonna be the coolest kid in class today, and I’m glad I could be a part of his first concert experience.

His biggest dilemma now? Who to see next? Tool set the bar pretty high. Maybe if Metallica ever comes back, and tickets aren’t $100…

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