Fans of Maynard James Keenan got a bit of a 1-2-3 punch this year, with new Tool tour dates, new material from A Perfect Circle on the way, and a North American APC tour that arrived in style last night at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, CA.
The band retains their 2011 lineup of Keenan, Billy Howerdel, James Iha, Matt McJunkins, and Jeff Friedl, all of which brought their A-game to the Bay Area for a 2-hour setlist. They’ve not been on the road since 2013, but you’d never know it.
Leading off with “The Package” at precisely 9pm, A Perfect Circle slinkily performed behind a thin curtain. White spot lights illuminated band members from behind, giving the audience a surreal view of morphing shadows and silhouettes. Until the heavy stuff came and the curtain dropped, revealing tiered platforms adorned in subtle LED screens. Keenan, as usual, manned his center/rear stage post shrouded in fog and dim light for the duration of the set.
The setlist was fairly evenly paced/distributed, largely pulling from the first two albums (Mer de Noms and Thirteenth Step). However the band did throw in a couple of their cover tunes (and even one of the remixes), as well as their recent test subject: a new song by the name of “Feathers”.
Maynard’s voice was strong and stable. I do miss Josh Freese on the drum kit… Friedl did an outstanding job, but there’s something about Freese’s playing that I miss when it comes to this group. However the real treats during last night’s show were the guitar tones of Iha and Howerdel, coupled with McJunkins’ on-stage demeanor. All made for captivating viewing and listening.
Setlist and photos are below. If you can find a ticket, try to catch A Perfect Circle on their next few stops. “Magdalena” and “Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums” are worth the price of admission alone.
All photos by Clay Lancaster (claylancaster.com)
Weak and Powerless
Imagine (John Lennon cover)
Thinking of You
By and Down
(What’s So Funny ’bout) Peace, Love and Understanding (Brinsley Schwarz cover)
Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums