The devil was out with me and Bob as this was my sixth time seeing A Perfect Circle, I had not seen them since the last time me and Bob saw them at the same venue 6 years ago and 4 + 1 + 1 = 6…Spooky! In all seriousness a lot had changed in 6 years such as the SDSU campus being upgraded, but one thing that had not changed was A Perfect Circle’s discography. There was no new album they were touring behind. Apparently they hope to have a new album out by the end of the year and this tour was to be the catalyst to motivate the band to get it done. Then again that is hearsay and may be wishful thinking on my end.
As per usual me and Bob could care less about the opening band so once we arrived we went in search of beer, which much to our dismay has apparently all but disappeared from the SDSU campus. The only place to get beer was from a single window inside the gates of the actual outdoor venue. As we found out rather quickly there were two lines going to the same window stretched out to either side and wrapped back around. Long story short we waited in line for about 45 minutes and had still not reached the front when the familiar opening of “The Hollow” started up. As much as we like beer we decided that we quite possibly would not be getting any for another 15 to 20 minutes so we abandoned ship and found our seats to make sure not to miss the band we came to see. The band also implemented a very strict no cell phone/camera policy that was being heavily enforced but we did manage to sneak a couple decent pictures from our seats.
Even though the rhythm section of the band (or at least the touring band) had changed, the sheer power and beauty of the songs performed live had not. The songs seemed to have a new relevance to today’s America combined with a timeless quality that all great songs have. Maynard appeared to be in good spirits, cracking jokes about the recent United Airlines debacle. Billy’s guitar prowess was a sight to behold and he sang more than I remember him singing in the past. James Iha got his turn on the microphone between songs and was awkwardly funny. “Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums” which is essentially a reworked version of “Pet” literally shook the earth. I was pleasantly surprised with the number of their softer songs they performed and even more surprised that “Judith” was not played. The only glimpse of new material we got was “Feathers,” a slower piano driven number that they closed the show with.
SETLIST: The Package, The Hollow, The Noose, Weak and Powerless, Rose, Imagine (John Lennon), Thinking of You, By and Down, Thomas, Peace, Love and Understanding, Magdalena, Vanishing, Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums, Orestes, A Stranger, Blue, The Outsider, Gravity, Feathers
As evidenced by the fact that A Perfect Circle played 10 of the 12 songs off of their 2004 album eMOTIVe, this was essentially a tour that never happened back when the album was new. I had not seen them since 2004 right before I moved from Portland to San Diego about seven months before eMOTIVe came out. The only new music we got to hear was the song “By and Down” that they closed the night with.
Although I respect their reworkings of an eclectic collection of politically charged songs I do not think I am alone in saying that an album of covers is not my favorite A Perfect Circle material. Despite my feelings about eMOTIVe the price of admission was worth its weight in gold when they played “The Noose” and “The Package.”
SETLIST: “Annihilation,” “Imagine,” “Weak and Powerless,” “The Hollow,” “What’s Going On,” “People Are People,” “The Outsider,” “Rose,” “Peace, Love and Understanding,” “When the Levee Breaks,” “The Noose,” “3 Libras,” “The Package,” “Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie,” “Magdalena,” “Passive,” “Counting Bodies Like Sheep To The Rhythm of the War Drums,” “Fiddle And The Drum,” “By and Down”
This show happened 5 days before I packed up everything I owned and moved down to San Diego with Lucinda and Marvin. Los Angeles was always the plan but Marvin called me up one day and said something along the lines of “I know you want to move to L.A. but I’m going to San Diego and my parents are paying for the U-Haul. Why don’t you come with me, sign a 6 month lease and if you still want to move to L.A. then it’s much closer.” Made sense to me. I am not sure why Joe would not have come to this since he lived in Portland but apparently it was just me and Lucinda.
The Mars Volta opened the show and they went off. Their whole set seemed like one big jam session but I did recognize “Roulette Dares” from De-Loused in the Comatorium. They also picked up the stage lights at the end and played around with them.
Thirteenth Step had officially been released since the last time I saw A Perfect Circle at Lollapalooza and it was exactly what my ears craved. As I write this I am listening to the original version of “The Nurse Who Loved Me” by Failure and did not realize until now that the song was a cover. Idiot! This was a VERY different show that the last time I saw Maynard here with Tool but then again Tool is a very different band than A Perfect Circle. I understand why Maynard wants to be at the back of the stage but he is much more entertaining doing his thing in the front.
SETLIST: Vanishing, Pet, The Hollow, Magdalena, Weak and Powerless, Rose, Blue, Fred’s Got Slacks (Will Ferrell cover), Thinking of You, Breña, The Package, 3 Libras, The Nurse Who Loved Me (Failure cover), Thomas, The Outsider, The Noose, Judith
What a month! Marilyn Manson and Maynard. This was my first trip to the Keller Auditorium. Not that many bands that I like are ever allowed to play there because it is a relatively nice establishment. I went with Lucinda, Ross, Jack, and Jack’s girlfriend at the time. Jack and his girlfriend were getting drunk in the parking structure before we went in and the rest of us decided upon just getting stoned. I really don’t like to smoke until right before the band comes out because I want to have the full effect but Lucinda was concerned that we would have a hard time smoking inside. Based on my past experiences I assured her that we would be alright and persuaded her to just wait until we were inside… What ended up happening was us having really good seats and a security guard about 10 feet to either side of us. My bad. This was the first and last time I ever smuggled a pipe into a concert. Ross had the brilliant idea to go to the bathroom to smoke. I didn’t think it that bad of an idea myself so we waited in a decent line to get to the target. Ross was ahead of me in line and got the middle of 3 stalls. I got the stall closest to the wall about 30 seconds later but the problem was that he had started smoking before me. People started hooting and hollering “hey, who has it” and “share!” Of course by this point I am paranoid as shit and then I hear two people outside the stall bantering. “Who do you think it is?” “They’re either behind door number 1 or door number 2.” After I quickly finished up, I decided to exit the stall looking as angry as possible and not make eye contact with anyone. It worked until I was almost out of the bathroom when Jack re-emerged and in his drunken state of mind said “Oh they’re after you man. Everyone knows you were in there smoking weed.” The truth of the matter is that they probably did know but he was drawing attention to me. Now I really was angry. What a friend. I hightailed it back to my seat as swiftly as possible when two security guards who looked like they were on a mission breezed past me. Then I had to give Lucinda the bad news. It probably wasn’t a good idea for her to reprise what I just did in the ladies bathroom. I don’t know if she ever forgave me for that one. So out comes A Perfect Circle and I’m high as a kite while Lucinda is sober as a bird. I remember they had a pretty elaborate light show that kept projecting Mayan symbols onto the floor and backdrop. One weird moment was them performing the song ”Vacant.” Tapeworm was a supergroup type project with a handful of very high profile musicians, but ended up mainly featuring Maynard, Trent Reznor, Danny Lohner, and Atticus Ross. Apparently this show was the first time the song had ever been performed live and Trent Reznor was a little upset that the track had been debuted in this fashion before it had “been properly realized.” The track ended up in a revised form on A Perfect Circle’s eMotive album under the title “Passive.” This was the last time I would see A Perfect Circle in this original incarnation.
SETLIST: Paz Violin Solo/Reinholder, Thinking Of You, Magelena, 3 Libras, Brena, Orestes, Vacant (Tapeworm Cover), Rose, Over, Thomas, Judith, Ashes To Ashes, The Hollow
This concert ranks as my #2 favorite concert of all time right behind Tool at the Gorge. It was a similar set of circumstances in many ways. The three words that come to mind are intense, spiritual, and surreal. Lucinda and I made the approximately 4 hour drive to meet up with Jason, Ross, and Joe. We were armed to the teeth with LSD and ready for the time of our life. This was to be the first time any of us had seen Nine Inch Nails, the first time Lucinda had been to the Gorge and the first time she had taken LSD. To top it off A Perfect Circle was the opener. They had just released Mer de Noms a few weeks prior to this show and by the time of the show we were already in love with the album. I remember laughing hysterically on the hill with Lucinda before either band came because the acid was starting to take hold. It was creeping up on us progressively the whole time A Pefect Circle was on stage. They played almost every song on the first album. Maynard was clad in a long dark wig and commented that it was “a nice day for a picnic” as the sun set behind them with the beautiful backdrop of the gorge. During the breakdown in “Magdalena” he began to spin around in a circle faster and faster as the musical landscape intensified. Then came time for Nine Inch Nails. They were touring for their double album The Fragile which had come out the previous September. Their show was just absolutely amazing and not just because I was on acid. They had these 3 giant screens that moved about, accentuating every little thing. The band reminded me of army ants onstage because there were times when the band was moving around the stage as frantically as the music was fierce. The guitarist Robin Finck was aptly nicknamed “Lizard Man” by my friends from this point on because of his costume and general stage presence. I swear he was shaking guitar notes out of his leg. Incredible. There is a wonderful DVD out called “And All That Could Have Been” that documents the entire tour, with snippets from this actual concert. It is a great reminder for me of one of the best nights of my life and will give all those not in attendance a little glimpse of what they missed out on.