Tool Rocks the Wells Fargo Center in a Triumphant Return to Philly

The Wells Fargo Center has gone through a few name changes since the venue first opened and on Monday, November 18, 2019, for one night only, it (unofficially) became the ToolBox. Fans packed into the sold-out arena to spend a few hours with the legendary, Tool.

[ Article by David J Miller & AJ Kinney ]

[ Photos by AJ Kinney ]

Tool opened their set with ‘Fear Inoculum’ as a circular curtain wrapped around the stage that consisted of individuals strings (reflections of this can be seen on the band members in some photos). This was the only song we were permitted to photograph, so we made the most of it.

Tool’s setlist lasted well over two hours, a stark contrast from the typical 90-minute offering. It consisted of a blend of their entire catalog, and while we were expecting more classics from their ‘Aenima’ and ‘Undertow’ albums, their new music worked well in the setlist.  The band had laser, and an extreme led visual wall, an eight-pointed star rotating above them that projected lights, and the aforementioned circular curtain that rotated in and out for various songs throughout the set. Props to their lighting tech as the lights perfectly dimmed with the slower chords and brightened with the heavier ones.

Frontman Maynard James Keenan has a disarming casual demeanor on stage which is something you don’t typically get from vocalists and along with his bandmates they took the capacity crowd on a journey through the last three decades. Classics like ‘Schism’ and ‘Swamp Song’ were interweaved into brand new tunes like ‘Pneuma’ and ‘Descending’. They wrapped their eleven-song set with ‘Forty Six & 2’.

You always know an encore is coming but Tool let the Wells Fargo Center know exactly when they would return to the stage, courtesy of a twelve-minute countdown clock. Right on cue, the encore kicked off with ‘Chocolate Chip Trip’ which included a heavy improv drum jam from drummer Danny Carey (wearing an Allen Iverson jersey). He had an incredible setup he was able to use all aspects of it, almost like a shaman preparing for a mind-opening trip. Carey used a gong lightly tapping it in differents methods to create long drawn out sounds looped over other percussion sounds.

From there they transitioned into ‘Invincible’ and closed out the night with ‘Stinkfist’. Cell phone usage had been discouraged throughout the night but for the final number, Keenan told the crowd that they could get those phones out and get their fill. The phones came out in droves, including our own:

For Tool fans, this was a night not to be missed and something we were very fortunate to experience. Be sure to check out more photos from the epic performance below:

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