Tool in San Diego, January 2020

Viejas Arena, San Diego, CA 1/10/2020

The Viejas Arena, on the campus of San Diego State University, a great venue for anyone in the San Diego area. This was a great way to start the new year, seeing two amazing bands come together and put on an epic performance. 

Author & Punisher

First up we had Author and Punisher. A one-man band from San Diego, formed in 2004. Tristan Shone, a mechanical engineer and artist, has shown that with hard work and pure talent you can always rock out alone. This man has designed and fabricated his controls and instruments from raw materials and open source electronic circuitry. He calls his creation “Dub Machines” and “Drone Machines”. His industrial/doom metal sound is unique, yet captivating to the ear and you can’t help but want to rock out to it. Unfortunately, due to some difficulties receiving my photo pass I was unable to get any photographs of his performance. However, once everything was resolved, I was able to experience the last few songs to his set.


Tool, as soon as you hear that name, you already know who everyone is talking about. This is an American Rock band from Los Angeles, formed in 1990 consisting of members; Maynard James  (vocals), Adam Jones (guitar), Justin Chancellor  (bass), and Danny Carey (drums). Personally, I believe the best way to describe Tool’s sound is as “Psychedelic Thinking Metal”. They have a very contradictive style, such as; melodic yet abrasive, soft yet heavy, and familiar yet strange. You can’t really pinpoint them to one sound, because they aren’t just one sound. How they introduce and navigate through their songs is a style all its own. Not to mention, the visuals they have with their songs. The visuals bring the song to life and make you really think. Whether you understand it or not, it’s overall an enjoyable experience. Going into their performance, you don’t know what to expect but it’s where it leaves you that makes it memorable. This tour for Tool was in support of their 2019 album release. They also dedicated their 14-song set list for Neil Peart of Rush who sadly passed away in that week.

Before Tool went on, a tassel curtain covered the entire stage and the crowd got excited. They opened the show with “Fear Inoculum”, which then went into “Ænema” and so on for many more great hits. After the second song the curtain opened we were able to see the band more clear.

One of the things I appreciated most about this concert was their no phone policy. The reason why this is a great thing, is because it made everyone enjoy the show without any worry of being blocked by someone recording the entire time. Another thing that I appreciated was the fact that singer Maynard would go back and forth from stages on each side of the drummer. This gave him the opportunity to interact with both sides of the venue, as well as interact with band mates. During their performance, they had clips playing on the background behind them as well as amazing lighting and a laser show. The show went on without any issue, and even at one point Maynard grabbed a speaker and ran across the stage hiding behind it, making it a funny memorable moment.

After playing eleven songs, they finally took a needed intermission. The tassel curtain covered the stage once more until they came out for their encore. In their encore, they played three more songs; Chocolate Chip Trip, Invincible, and Stinkfist. Even with it being the end of the show, they came out just as hard and ready to entertain. Once the last so finished, they took their bows and even guitarist Adam brought his little one out to wave at the crowd and bow.

Walking out of the venue, people were talking about how amazing the show was and how great Tool did. These fans have shown time and time again that Tool is a band to go see if they are ever in your area. Tool has been around for three decades, and I’m sure they are going for another. When they come around again, you can bet I’ll do my best to see them.

“Everything revolves around music when it comes to Tool.” – Maynard James Keenan

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